All across the land, college seniors are getting ready to throw their caps into the air and hurl themselves into the workforce. It’s hard out there for everyone, and since grads lack experience, they face a unique set of challenges, but as Hannah Morgan writes in a U.S. News & World Report post titled “9 Tips for College Seniors Looking for That First Job,” there are strategies grads can use to boost their chances of getting hired.
The first couple tips are no-brainers. First up: Make use of your school’s career center. These can be excellent resources, as many have job boards that can be accessed remotely. On a similar note, Morgan’s second tip is to use multiple job boards. Companies can’t post their openings everywhere, and savvy jobseekers search strategically, targeting boards that tend to focus on the industries they’re looking to break into.
Third on Morgan’s list: Consider temp work. It’s a great way to gain experience and possibly make initial contact with companies you’re looking to work for. Also, many agencies offer temp-to-hire positions.
In addition to temp work, Morgan says, volunteering can be a great idea. You’ll gain experience and make all kinds of new contacts, and you might even be able to find opportunities at organizations somehow related to your field.
Morgan’s next two tips have to do with networking. First: “Get out of the house.” While applying for jobs is important, most people get hired because of personal connections, so it pays to join professional organizations, attend meet-ups, and engage in other activities likely to put you in touch with folks in your prospective line of work. Another option is asking your parents’ friends for help. Who knows — some might know about internship or job opportunities. Morgan advises grads to do the asking themselves rather than have mom or dad reach out. It makes you seem more mature.
While you’re waiting around to hear back from companies you’ve queried and family friends you’ve hit up for help, assess your online presence. Or, as Morgan puts it, “clean up your online dirt.” Make sure your social-media privacy settings are properly set, and make an effort to present yourself in a professional manner. After all, nothing on the Internet is really private.
As you tackle tips one through seven, you might start hearing about college buddies finding jobs. Rather than get jealous, follow tip No. 8 and ask them about potential opportunities at their companies. Many firms have hiring incentives, and even if your efforts to keep connected with schoolmates doesn’t lead to specific job offers, they’ll help you build your LinkedIn network, which should include everyone from old bosses to your college professors. Also: those family friends you’ve reached out to for assistance.
Lastly, Morgan cautions against holding out for just the right opportunity. As she says, “any job is better than no job at all,” as work provides stability in your day, helps you meet people and build new skills, and puts a little money in your wallet. Plus, you’ll look more attractive to potential employers if you’re being productive and not simply sending out resumes all day.