Searching for strong job leads can often be overwhelming, especially if you don't know where to begin. As a recent graduate, you might have limited practice with the fundamentals of job searching or pitching yourself to potential employers given your minimal work experience. Here, we'll discuss some best practices for landing a promising position as an early career job seeker.
Top 8 Tips for Landing A Job
1. Leverage Your College's Career Resources
Start by utilizing the resources that are offered to you as a student or recent college graduate. Almost every university and community college has a career center that can assist you. Your next career opportunity might be discovered through resume workshops, professional development seminars, and even email newsletters containing job openings through the college.
If you're unsure about your career objectives, you might also explore career counseling. Advisors can assist you with creating a job search strategy that is tailored to your interests and career aspirations, conduct mock interviews, and help you strengthen your resumes and cover letters to stand out.
2. Polish Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is undoubtedly the biggest professional network on the planet, with more than 600 million members. You need a LinkedIn profile that is updated and optimized if you are serious about professional growth. On LinkedIn, you can establish your professional brand, highlight your accomplishments, showcase your skills, network with other professionals, and connect with coworkers and future employers. The following suggestions will help your LinkedIn profile stand out:
- Put a face to your name by including a professional profile photo, keeping in mind that this will be people's initial impression of your page.
- LinkedIn is a digital platform, which means you should always optimize the keywords you use to describe your skills and experience. This will help you get discovered by recruiters who are trying to match early career talent with entry-level job opportunities they are filling through keyword searches instead of titles.
- Pro-Tip: Include technology platforms and tools you have exposure to both in your coursework as well as internship experiences. Recruiters will search by platform-related terms or key functions for their open roles.
- Focus on trying to get at least one recommendation from a friend or professional contact on your LinkedIn profile - those really make you stand out to a prospective employer. Be sure to write recommendations for some of your connections in return.
- It's worthwhile to sync your profile with your email address book, but if you're using your company's provided email account, make sure you have permission first. With this email information at hand, LinkedIn can suggest contacts who may have common interests with you or vouch for your abilities.
- Be mindful of your posts and activity within LinkedIn because anyone can readily see that - literally everything you like, share, and comment on is visible by default. Make that private if you don't want it seen!
3. Start Networking
One of the most efficient ways to find work is by networking. In fact, 85% of all employment is acquired through networking, according to a survey by LinkedIn. When it comes to networking, the most effective approach is often an indirect one. Instead of asking directly for a job, you may contact past employers, coaches, and faculty who have seen you be successful in some capacity. You may be able to gain recommendations or even introductions from them if they have contacts in your fields of interest.
Your university’s alumni association may also have opportunities for you to network with your peers. Alumni chapters and groups provide the opportunity to connect with fellow alumni through a range of programs and events, often through social activities.
4. Identify Your Top Companies
You can locate potential employers by doing research on sites such as Glassdoor, Linkedin, and Indeed. Once you have a list of potential employers, look through the employment section on their website. Some companies may have a specific page that showcases openings for recent graduates. It’s important to clarify what you’re looking for in a company, especially the core values, business practices, and culture that you want to be a part of too.
Information interviewing is a fantastic way to get a first-hand glimpse of what working at a certain company is like. If you identify someone who works at a company that matches your long-term aspirations, ask them to connect and share how they navigated into their current role. This helps you see the necessary next steps in your greater pursuit. Informational interviewing may also open doors for you to be introduced to new professional contacts a few degrees removed from your current network.
5. Research the Company Prior to an Interview
When you’ve landed your first interview, make sure you know the ins and outs of the company before the interview. Familiarize yourself with the company's products and services, achievements, and successful projects. When researching the employer, look at the company's website for information about the company's values and mission. Here at Net Friends, this can be found on our “Who We Are” page. Look for information regarding their philanthropic and social commitments, which can be a good talking point in your interview.
By following the organization on social media such as LinkedIn, you can also gain a deeper understanding of its culture. As a result, you will have more topics to discuss when they ask about their company, and your interest will be evident.
6. Perfect Your Resume, but Know You Are More Than That
Develop versions of your resume targeted at specific jobs as your career goals take shape. Your emerging career goals should be reflected in your skills, experiences, coursework, and projects. Consult with mentors and advisors for input, and always double-check your writing.
Although resumes are a fantastic method to demonstrate your prior experience, they might not be a true picture of everything you are capable of. Think about including a portfolio to show off your job accomplishments and to reveal your actual strengths and personality at the interview.
7. Always Include a Cover Letter
Although time consuming, a strong cover letter gives you the ability to sell yourself to the company in a narrative fashion and explain why you are the perfect candidate if you're serious about getting the job. Making the effort to match your skills to the position may help you be chosen for an interview. Use this letter to focus on how you work well with others, are organized, resourceful, and highly motivated. You can also use this letter to explain any gaps in employment or bumps in the road throughout your professional career. For these reasons, you should always submit a cover letter, even if the company doesn't ask for one.
8. Maintain a Positive Attitude
While you may land a job soon after graduation, it’s not uncommon for the job hunt to take longer than anticipated. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average job search may take somewhere around five to six months from application to hire. If it is taking longer than you had hoped to land a job, remember why you’re doing this, and all the great things that you bring to the table.
It is important to value your mental health during this time and take action to preserve it. Simple actions such as writing down positive affirmations and reading them to yourself can make this process much less tedious.
It can feel like you lack control when you aren’t receiving any interviews or job offers. Whether or when an interviewer calls you back is out of your control. To reframe this into something positive, find something you can control, like going to a career fair.
Job seeking fatigue is normal and very common. If you are feeling burnt out from constantly selling your skills, give yourself permission to take breaks and have a clear understanding of the difference between breaks and avoidance. If avoidance is something you struggle with, consider treating job seeking like a full-time job for one day. Experiment with applying for multiple positions within an 8-hour day. This controlled tactic alone should invite at least a handful of bites from recruiters and hiring managers.
Finding your ideal first job could take effort but being prepared and persistent will pay off. Think carefully about the kinds of occupations you believe are meaningful, learn everything you can about them, and when you're sure you've discovered the proper fit, use the tips above to get to work. To learn more about how Net Friends can help you kick-start your career, check out our job openings.