Now that you’ve turned your tassel and received your degree, you have the chance to go out into the world and make something of yourself. It’s time to use all the skills you’ve been accumulating throughout high school and college as you enter the real world.
But before you get to show off your smarts, you need to land the job. As more and more qualified workers are graduating, this can be a tough task. How do you stand out from the rest of the crowd and find the job of your dreams? Read these tips to get started.
- Define the parameters for your dream job
There are thousands of jobs available out there, which makes starting a job search incredibly daunting. To begin your search, you need to narrow down your expectations. Start by determining the field you want to work in. While this doesn’t necessarily have to exactly align with your college major, you should have some knowledge of the field and should have picked up transferable skills from your major. Once you know the field, determine where you want to work. Do you want to be in a big city at a large office, or in a smaller, more personal setting? Narrowing your search to a few types of environments and a few cities will help you get started.
- Determine your qualifications
Although you might be an enthusiastic, hard worker, your eagerness alone will only get you so far. The truth of the matter is, employers are looking for experience. Hopefully throughout college, you’ve had a few internships or student leadership roles that will help qualify you for a variety of entry-level positions. It’s important as you’re looking for roles that you are realistic about your skills and experiences to help ensure you’re applying for jobs within your reach. While applying for a job that recommends one to three years of experience isn’t a stretch, applying for a mid-level management job might be. With these two steps taken care of, you now should have a manageable set of jobs to apply for.
- Polish your application collateral
Before you even begin to apply for jobs, you should create a master resume of all of your experiences. A strong resume uses quantifiable data, strong action verbs, and consistency. Once you have your master resume, you can begin to tailor resumes for each job you are applying to. Choose experiences and bullet points that pair well with the position to show the employer how particularly well suited you are for this specific job. While most of your cover letters can follow a similar structure, it is important to still do what you can to cater them to each position as well. Look through the company’s website and social media platforms and reference some of their mission statements or goals you admire. Be sure you aren’t just regurgitating your resume, but rather, providing deeper information on who you really are and why you are a stellar fit for the job.
- Start networking
Networking can often be such a dreaded term, but it doesn’t have to be! While you may think of networking as just small talking, your network pool has multiplied now that you’ve just graduated. Talk to your friends who have found jobs and internships and see if their companies have any plans to expand. One of the best ways to get your foot in the door for a job is to be recommended by a current employee. Reach out to your alma mater’s job center and see if they can match you up with any alumni in your field. No lead is a waste, as everyone can have something of value to add.
- Be diligent
Searching for a job is no easy task, and it’s not going to happen in a week. Finding the right job may take months, but it’s worth the wait to find the job that fits you. Make a goal of how many jobs you will apply to each week and stick to that goal. You should also set up a tracking system to keep track of all the positions you apply to, so you know the appropriate times to follow up. Remember: searching for a job is a full-time job in and of itself. Good luck!
Brittany Phillips is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.