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Getting a job right after college is not as easy as it seems. Obtaining employment the moment you get your college diploma is very difficult, and there are so many reasons why.
Although some fresh graduates fail to diligently do what they’re supposed to do—submitting the requirements or going to interviews, in most cases, getting hired is one situation that requires your best effort!
Across the globe, some students graduate from college every year. Class sizes are constantly increasing. Tuition rates similarly increase. However, this does not deter fresh high school students from enrolling in college.
Because of this notable increase, college graduates are finding it hard to obtain employment right after graduation. The competition is just beyond imaginable.
Your first job after you graduate from college can have a substantial influence on the rest of your career. For example, if you settle for a job that has nothing to do with your area of study, you are likely to remain in that position or a related role over the coming years. It has long been proven that those who prematurely settle for their jobs after completing college will find it extra challenging to deviate from that chosen field. Meaning, it will ominously decrease their chance of securing employment related to their field.
Finding Employment Right Out of College
Like any new college graduate, it’s normal to feel like there’s a pit in your stomach every time you think about how you can find a job after you got your college diploma. Getting into your first job search can be overwhelming and nerve-wracking.
After all, you have worked so hard for years during college, and now is the perfect time to face the many challenges of the real world. Now is the time to scout for jobs and work out your resumé. This, indeed, is a scary thought.
Just imagine all the other graduates completing college the same year as you—and everyone is gunning for that perfect job opportunity.
It may sound scary and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With some due diligence, coupled with some time and effort, you can find a fulfilling career that allows you to utilize your major to the fullest.
Here are some tips:
Why put off your job hunting until you finish college when you can start early? The last remaining months of college are very exciting. The last thing you want to happen is to spend those months looking for new jobs.
Finding a job can take months, and even years, until you can finally land one, thus it is ideal to start early. And of course, there is the after-college life. At this point, allow yourself to gain new skills and valuable experiences to further boost your chances of securing a job.
Do Your Research
Find out the type of job that will best fit your college major. Factor in your passions, your skills, and experiences too, and then narrow down your job scouting to the roles in your suitable field.
Doing this will guarantee you that you won’t waste your effort and time applying for any employment that is far from being relevant to your college major. Plus, when you apply to practically every entry-level position advertised, this will make you look unfocused and confused.
Keep your Resumé Updated
Once you selected the potential job vacancies you will apply for, make sure you update your resumé. Highlight your qualities, skills, experiences, and education that will best suit each specific job.
Know the connection between what the employer needs and what you can offer him. Ideally, focus on the needs of the employer and not on what you must draft on your cover letter.
Give the employer compelling reasons why you should be hired and what makes you the right candidate. How can you be of service to the company? How can you help them solve their problems more efficiently than the other applicants going for the same position?
However, avoid making your resumé sound like a robot. You can try including other things like your experiences, unique interests, and even some fun facts about you. Who knows, you might end up having the same interests as the hiring manager. This gives you a better chance to build rapport, right?
Plan an Elevator Pitch
Carefully plan your elevator pitch because this can help you share interesting facts about yourself that will grab their attention. In 30 seconds or less, this is your time to impress. Your elevator pitch should highlight your background and experiences in the shortest possible time.
This should give your potential employer an idea of who you are, what you are doing now, and what you can do for them. This is also where you will share interesting things about your expertise and credentials.
The pitch is the perfect way to introduce yourself during networking events, job fairs, and career expos to hiring managers and company representatives. Your pitch will also make an amazing LinkedIn summary or Twitter bio.
One helpful tip: practice your pitch every so often so that it will come naturally to you, and you won’t sound like a robot. Be flexible with the way you deliver. If you can, avoid using the same pitch for each potential employer you meet. Instead, tailor the pitch to the position, industry, and employer.
Cast a Wide Net
When scouting for a job, your family and close friends can only do so much. You have to expand your network- your old colleagues and friends, your neighbor, your cleric, or doctor, or even your haircutter.
You might get surprised at how these distant ties are willing to help, especially if you provide them with a brief pitch on how you will be a good employee.
Reach out to coaches, college counselors, past teachers, acquaintances, or mentors who can help link you to possible employers. But be careful when you do this. Directly asking for a job won’t help.
Instead, show curiosity about what they are doing at work. What is the required work? The skills needed? The work requirements? The qualifications? If you can, share with them your resumé and ask what they think about it.
After showing them your resumé, ask them if they have any idea for a position that best suits you given your background. This is a type of networking that will show your interpersonal skills. Your network will most likely have other contacts who can give you a job.
Expand Your Job Search
Aside from internet searches, diversify your searches on other platforms like job fairs, networking events, and conferences. Join LinkedIn groups and try to reach out to your school alumni who are working in the field that interests you.
Be updated with the latest postings, and if possible, send in your application within the first 48 hours. To do this, make it a habit to check out new job postings every morning and night.
Take Advantage of your Alumni Network
Securing a job after college is not magic. You need to reach out to the right people for help. You can learn more about your chosen industry or about a specific company by tapping your college’s alumni network.
Most colleges and universities run and maintain their respective online alumni databases that graduates can use to get contact information.
Keep Updated with Industry News
Another helpful thing that will help you get a job right out of college is something that everybody is familiar with: research. While you are still on the lookout for new employment, it helps to remain on top of what is going on in your chosen field.
To learn about hiring trends, rising companies, and firms that are going through some rough patches, do three basic things:
- Read industry journals and trade publications
- Join social media groups and professional groups
- Follow industry influencers and social media feeds of companies
What Every Fresh College Graduate Should Know About Getting a Job Early
While getting a job right after graduating college is always the plan, this may not be as easy as you think it is. Fresh college graduates are prone to struggle to look for jobs.
From undervalued majors to local economic issues, there are a handful of reasons why fresh college graduates are having a hard time searching for jobs. Aside from personal reasons, other causes that many graduates face include:
- High competition
- Little work experience
- Few or no skills
- Little networking
- Lack of follow up
- Lack of communication skills
- Uncertainty with major
High competition. There are so many college students. This equates to hundreds of college graduates every year. Meaning, that the competition for employment after graduation has become fiercer and more challenging than ever. In most cases, some industries even have more job competition than others, thus making it harder for fresh graduates to stand out.
Little work experience. Many students worked their way through college. However, the work they did are, most of the time, outside their field of expertise. Most job postings require some level of experience for entry-level work or advanced positions.
Few or no skills. A decent amount of experience is best paired with some valuable skills. However, most of these skills are usually learned while you are on the job. When you have only a few skills listed on your resumé, employers tend to ignore them. Most of the time, employers will look for specific skills that will fit best for the roles they are filling.
Little Networking. Exchanging common interests and information with your network can lead to better job opportunities. But this does not guarantee employment still because employees will always look for applicants with work experience.
Still, most universities and colleges host networking events. Make sure you join in these events to further widen your network and hopefully meet someone that will help pave your way towards securing a job right out of college.
Lack of follow-up. So many fresh college graduates applying for a job often underestimate the importance of following up.
But did you know that after you complete the interview process, hiring managers usually put greater consideration on applicants who follow up? Students are often too bothered looking out for the next opportunity that they forget to check their previous applications.
Lack of communication skills. No matter how academically gifted you are, everything goes down the drain if you lack communication skills. The list above is generally the result of the same issue: the lack of experience.
And with lack of communication, you will also go back to that same result. Jobs, regardless of their size, will give you helpful educational scenarios in communication. Whether it is sending an email to your supervisor or talking to customers, every communicative task will take some practice to finally get it right.
Uncertainty with major. Upon graduation, many college students end up discovering that they are not interested in their college majors.
Some realize the lack of job opportunities in their chosen field, while others simply think they have no ‘calling’ to their majors. This is why other fresh graduates are not as inclined and as interested to secure employment right after graduating from college.
The College Majors Leading to Full-time Jobs Right Out of College
The end goal of getting a college degree is to use your education to secure a job, right? Certain colleges majors offer more success in this goal than others—that is, giving you’re a faster amount of time to get hired than others.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), in a survey conducted to 373,807 bachelor’s degree-earning graduates, they found out that there are students in a certain major with higher chances of getting full-time employment just within 6 months from graduation than any other majors. What are these majors then?
Communications. The world today is becoming more connected than ever, which explains why there is a staggering need for communications majors. Students in this field study the different modes of communication and their corresponding effects on the world. Whether looking at it on a mass media or personal level, communications majors are very in-demand in a few fields and employ their talents.
Engineering. Although it has so many specialized offshoots, engineering is one of the most crucial fields ever since. Engineers of any field deal with queries and problems using science or mathematics to make leaps in technologies. Even if you only have a general engineering degree, you can still easily find a job as soon as you graduate.
Engineering Technology. Because we are now in an era of technology, it’s not a surprise to hear about a steady increase in employment in the engineering field. In today’s technologically-inclined world, more experts are needed to understand, advance, innovate, and service this very field.
Fresh college graduates in engineering technology are more likely to get hired quickly than their other batchmates. Plus, this major also has a higher starting salary that averages around $54,000.
Business. A business major learns about the many things of working, running, working in, and working with businesses across the globe. Administration, management, commerce, statistics, communications, and law are just so of the area of business majors.
Computer Science. As earlier mentioned, the world today is now in an era of technology. Computer scientists are now at the forefront of this fact. Whether to run databases, program, fix anything that needs fixing, or innovate new technologies, computer scientists are becoming the backbone of technology.
Because of the high demand for skilled computer science majors, it makes sense that graduates in this field can easily find a job placement just months after getting their diplomas.
Education. Elementary school teachers are very in-demand, so it’s no surprise that many students take education majors during college. whether teaching college, high school, elementary, or any other form, teachers are needed all the time. After all, they are the ones that shape our future, right?
Skills Every Fresh College Graduate Should Have
Are you all set to land your first-ever job right out of college? Below are 10 of the most sought-after skills and attributes to put on your resumé that most hiring managers will want to see.
Team player. Back in college, maybe you were so used to hogging the spotlight, which is normal since you were the only one who can make or break your success. In the workplace, people depend on each other to help get the job done.
It’s no surprise then that 81% of hiring managers want to know if you can collaborate very well with different personalities. You need to know how to take directions, delegate, value opinions, and play to your co-worker’s weaknesses and strengths.
Problem Solving Skills. 79% of employers want fresh college graduates with excellent problem-solving skills. In fact, hiring managers use behavioral interview questions-phrases like “give me examples of” or “share with me about a time when”—to gauge a job candidate’s ability to solve problems. It’s wise to prepare anecdotes that will give an impression of how good of a solution finder you are.
You don’t have to have job experience just to prove you are a problem solver. Simply cite those instances where you were proactive, highly responsive to challenges, and innovative. Say, when that time you went out of your way to solve a customer complaint while you’re not on duty.
Analytical Skills. Entry-level applicants are usually considered by hiring managers if they possess analytical skills. Meaning, you should be a critical thinker. You know how to gather and assess information, and make good decisions out of that information.
Verbal Communication Skills. Every new college graduate should have good verbal communication skills. These skills will set the tone for you can build relationships with your co-workers and how your audience perceives you. Your verbal communication competence is usually revealed during your job interviews.
Exuding confidence and presenting yourself well during interview questions can go a long way. Also, try to ask your job interviewers a few open-ended questions to demonstrate that you are engaged.
Written Communication Skills. Impeccable communication skills will always be one of the top skills every employer will look for. Most hiring managers feel that writing proficiency is the most looked-for skill among new college graduates. Thus, make sure your cover letter is well-crafted and free of grammatical errors. On your resumé, highlight your excellent writing skills and submit your writing samples.
Leadership Skills. Applicants with great leadership skills also tend to get hired quicker. But how can you show your employers that you’ve got leadership potential before you join the workforce? When you had a leadership role during college (e.g., the president of the Spanish club or the book club), highlight this on your resumé. Or if you were an ‘informal leader’ on a group project, you can share this during your job interview.
It also helps to get letters of recommendation from your former internship managers that discuss your leadership skills. Glowing references can help you snag excellent job offers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have to get a job right after you graduate college?
While it may sound like a bad idea to leave a gap in your resumé, some millennials and even career experts say that this can make you more interesting. But let’s weigh the pros and cons of this.
According to a nonprofit organization that researches the benefits of gap years called Research from the American Gap Association, it asserted that those who took the time off after graduating from college were able to acquire critical skills that can help them become successful in their future careers.
These skills later impacted their career decisions and eventually helped them find the job that they are confident to apply for.
On the other hand, career experts say that there is one huge drawback when taking a gap year: you will have to explain to your interviewer the gaping hole in your resumé.
Wendi Weiner, a resumé expert, and owner of The Writing Guru in Miami assets that fresh college graduates should start to send out their resumé not after graduating, but during their last semester in college.
How important is it to build a LinkedIn profile?
So many college graduates only give their LinkedIn profile a simple afterthought. So many usually have their profile either copy-pasted or half-done.
These people fail to recognize how important LinkedIn is in finding their dream job; that this is not just another popular social media platform like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. But below are reasons why you should create your own LinkedIn profile.
Hiring managers and job recruiters are on LinkedIn. Roughly 87% of recruiters find LinkedIn as one of the most effective ways of vetting candidates, especially during the hiring process. When you have a LinkedIn account, this can significantly boost your chances of getting discovered by different companies out to hire people based on your experience and skills
It builds trust and credibility. Your LinkedIn profile acts as your validator; that you are a real person and not just someone. It gives you credibility and later establishes you as a trustworthy employee.
It gives you great networking opportunities. LinkedIn is a perfect opportunity to build your network with professionals working in the same field as yours. The faster you network, the better it is down the line. Whether or not you are working, having the right network connections can help you a lot especially when you’re looking for employment.
You are always updated with the latest job openings. The majority of companies post job openings on LinkedIn all the time. Thus, your LinkedIn account can help you to continuously keep an eye on various employment opportunities.
When do you apply for jobs after graduating from college?
When you send in your application for job openings as a college senior will greatly depend on the field you are going into.
For example, if you are in a high-demand major like accounting or engineering, many companies will start recruiting incoming college graduates. You can even get hired six months before your graduation.
For most job openings, the most ideal time to apply is between March and
April. However, if you decide not to seek employment after graduation, make sure you still keep your eyes always open for any future opportunities.
How many jobs should you apply for right out of college?
There are no hard-and-fast rules as to how many jobs you can apply for after graduating from college. However, you should check your job search platforms every day and send out about 10-15 applications each week.
Since this is your first time applying for a job, don’t get frustrated if you fail to land your dream job immediately. But the more job applications you send, the better your chances are at getting at it.
How can you transition from a student to a post-college?
By the time you graduate college, you’ll be so busy sending out job applications and scouting for your dream job. But this does not mean you simply bid your college life goodbye. Ideally, stay in touch with your college friends.
You might also want to try joining your school’s young alumni club. Continue to take advantage of your campus resources as well, especially since these are always available to new college graduates.
It also helps that you start saving money before graduating so you will stay afloat as you gradually transition to life after college.
Remember, it will take some time before you finally get your very first ‘real-world’ paycheck. You can move back home temporarily if needed, but make sure you also contribute to your household expenses.
Job hunting is very stressful, made even more challenging by the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, many companies are hiring again after nearly two years of halting.
This means that the competition is expected to get very fierce. But as long as you know where to start and how to go about the whole process of job hunting, you’ll get by.
To sum it all up, you only need to think about these 8 things when applying:
- Start early
- Do your research
- Keep your resumé updated
- Plan your elevator pitch
- Cast a wide net
- Expand your job search
- Take advantage of your alumni network
- Keep updated with industry news
There is no magic formula that shows you exactly how you can find your dream job right after college. You have to make a strategy that will work for you round the clock.
Do your research, know the trends, be diligent with sending your applications, and never stop aiming until you finally snag the job you’ve been wanting to have for so long.