How to Find a Job After College

5 Job Search Tips for College Grads

College graduation is a transformative time. You’re leaving the classroom, likely to pursue work in the field you studied. You may have worked during college or had previous jobs, but beginning your career is a whole different journey than getting a part-time job.

You’ve put in the effort to get your degree. Put your work to good use by securing a position that can help you achieve your career goals.

Most likely, this will be an entry-level position where you can continue to learn, grow and hopefully advance to reach your dreams. Use these tips if you’re a soon-to-be or recent college grad looking to begin your career.

1. Establish Relationships with Professors & Mentors

Before you graduate (if possible), reach out to professors and mentors who have guided you through your college journey. It’s a great idea to maintain these relationships, because these people may be able to:

  • Help you grow your network
  • Provide you with career advice when you need it
  • Serve as a recommendation for a LinkedIn profile or job application

Let your professor or mentor know what kind of impact they’ve made on your experience as a student. Tell them why you admire them and would like to keep in touch. Ask them if they can share a personal email or phone number with you where you can contact them in the future.

Be sure to check in with them at least every few months to continue the relationship. Ask them how things are going in their life. Try to forge a genuine relationship post-college, so that if you do need career assistance in the future, asking them for help will be more natural.

2. Build Your Resume(s)

A resume is a must-have for applying for most jobs. If you’re unsure of where to start, there are free resume templates online that give you an idea of what to include. We recommend featuring:

  • Professional, up-to-date contact information
  • Strong summary statement with keywords that pertain to your experience and the job you want
  • Highlighted achievements that relate to your professional goals, if you have them to feature
  • Core competencies
  • Relevant job experience
  • Education
  • Honors and awards, if applicable
  • Technical skills
  • Volunteer experience, if applicable

One major consideration with resumes is formatting. Many employers use applicant tracking systems, which are digital systems that scan resumes before passing on relevant ones to hiring managers.

If your resume isn’t formatted correctly, or your content doesn’t match keywords employers are looking for, your resume may never reach the right people. That’s why you might want to work with a resume writer, who can ensure your resume is formatted correctly and positions you in the best way possible during your job search.

Also, you’ll want to make sure your resume is tailored to the specific job you’re applying for. You may want to adjust your resume for each job posting you’re applying to, depending on the skills and qualifications the job requires. The HiConsulting Services resume experts can help.

3. Update Your LinkedIn Profile

A LinkedIn profile is sort of like an online resume and portfolio. On LinkedIn, recruiters can find your profile and contact you with job opportunities. You can also build an online network of professionals and stay up-to-date on job openings.

If you already have a LinkedIn profile, use the information from your resume to fill your profile out. Or, create a free profile if you don’t yet have one. For your summary statement, use keywords that relate to the job you want.

Click the Open to work option to show users on LinkedIn you’re on the job hunt. When you do this, your profile photo will be differentiated to show you’re “open to work,” which can help you get noticed on the network.

You can add relevant projects from school to the featured work section, such as documents, media and websites you’ve created or contributed to.

For the experience section, you can add noteworthy jobs you’ve had. Also, make sure to create a robust education section, where you can add your degree(s) and any activities and societies you were a part of in college.

If you’re comfortable, you can reach out to your professors or mentors to ask them to add a recommendation to your LinkedIn profile. Learn more about how to get LinkedIn recommendations.

Also, try to interact on LinkedIn a few minutes each day so you’re active on the site. You can search for your school to join networking and alumni groups. Search for terms related to your industry to join relevant groups. Add friends and former coworkers on LinkedIn to start building your online network.

Your LinkedIn profile is an important digital representation of you professionally. If you need assistance cultivating your profile, contact us for LinkedIn profile optimization.

4. Reach Out to Your Network

Did you know that up to 80% of jobs are filled through personal and professional connections? That’s according to CNBC, which highlights how important it is to foster relationships with others if you want to fast-track your career.

Reach out to anyone you know who cares about you – friends, family, former coworkers – and reconnect. Let them know you’re a recent college grad and you’re looking for a job in the field you studied. Tell them you’d be extremely grateful if they keep an ear out for any relevant opportunities. Offer that you’re open to meeting any professionals in your industry they’d like to connect you with, too, even for an informational interview.

As you connect with people on LinkedIn, send them a personalized note that you’re looking forward to being connected with them there. Tell them you’d like to hear an update on where they are professionally. Let them know your situation, and tell them you’d appreciate them keeping you in mind if they discover anything you’d be a fit for.

Putting yourself out there and reconnecting with your network will help remind people what you’re qualified for and will keep you at the top of their minds when they learn about relevant positions. A proactive approach can help you stay competitive among other college graduates in your field. Get more networking tips.

5. Take a Serious Approach to Your Job Search

When you don’t have a job, approach looking for a job as your full-time job. Make sure you’re devoting time each “work day” to:

  • Searching for relevant job postings
  • Updating your resume and sending it, along with a cover letter when appropriate, when you want to apply for a job
  • Interacting on LinkedIn, by participating in relevant LinkedIn Groups, connecting with your network and commenting on updates, when relevant

If you have extra time, you might also consider diversifying your skillset based on requirements you’re seeing for jobs you’re interested in. Check out free learning opportunities on sites like Coursera and edX. Many online courses provide certificates of completion that you can then add to a resume and LinkedIn profile.

Also, be sure to attend our free webinar Tuesday, June 8, from 11 a.m.-noon PST on Resumes & LinkedIn for College Grads. Even if you can’t attend live online, be sure to register so you can get access to the recording. All those who register will also get our free “Resume, LinkedIn & Interview Guide,” full of tips that have worked for our past clients.

If you or a college grad you know would like job search assistance, check out our Job Seeker Programs. An investment in your job search could pay off for your future career growth. We offer free consultations for individual services like resume writing, too.