20 Tips to Find a Job After Graduation

Date:

Share post:


fizkes / Shutterstock.com

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.

Congratulations! You’ve got a shiny new degree. Now, it’s time to put that degree to work.

It’s both thrilling and intimidating to leave behind your college years and jump into the world of resumes, networking, and interviewing, but you can land a job you love by utilizing some key job search strategies.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your career, consider these tips for landing your first job after graduation.

It’s critical to approach your job hunt with a strategic mindset. The following tips will help you navigate the job market and land a job after graduation that aligns with your career goals.

1. Define Your Job Goals

Thinking woman
mimagephotography / Shutterstock.com

Not everyone knows what they want to be when they grow up, and that’s OK. It’s common for new grads to have multiple, if slightly vague, career ideas. But the more you narrow your career ideas, the more targeted and ultimately successful your job search will be.

As you search for your first post-graduation job, conduct some career research to help you narrow down your target role. Job descriptions can help you consider roles in different fields you might not have considered otherwise.

For even more information, the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is one of the most comprehensive databases of detailed job information.

2. Schedule Informational Interviews

Woman on a laptop for a video call
voronaman / Shutterstock.com

Informational interviews are a way to learn more about specific roles and companies from people who work in them. They’re also an opportunity to build relationships with professionals who can potentially introduce you to job opportunities or vouch for your qualifications.

Look for alumni of your college or university on LinkedIn, and reach out to see if they’d be willing to chat with you about their jobs and career paths. You can also create a list of dream companies to work for and connect with hiring managers and other employees there.

3. Explore Different Career Paths

Human resources, interview and resume with a woman manager and candidate meeting at work.
PeopleImages.com – Yuri A / Shutterstock.com

Once you’ve narrowed your focus to a few types of jobs, take some time to research each one thoroughly. Talk to your network (teachers, family, friends) to connect with professionals who work in your dream position or at a company you want to work at.

Connect with them on LinkedIn or call them to set up an informational interview. Ask how they arrived at their current position and if they have any advice for a recent graduate or how to find a job after graduation to get your foot in the door.

You may receive valuable feedback or even a referral for a job opening.

4. How Do You Want to Work?

Smiling woman at work using a tablet and leaving a meeting
Zamrznuti tonovi / Shutterstock.com

There’s more to a job than what you do. You also need to know how you want to do it. Do you want to work in an office every day with set hours? Or, would you rather have a flexible schedule and work from anywhere? Do you possess an entrepreneurial spirit and want to choose your clients and workload as a freelancer?

These days, you’ve got a lot of options, so ensure you understand the pros and cons of each, then connect with the career path that meets your needs.

5. Consider Entry-Level Temp Jobs

Web developer comparing mobile and desktop website versions
baranq / Shutterstock.com

You’re understandably eager to jump into your new career, and your focus is on landing a full-time job. But look at what an entry-level temp job can provide long-term.

Temp jobs can be a great way to get your foot in the door and gain valuable experience in your new field. These temporary positions are often available for recent college graduates and can provide a stepping stone to more permanent roles.

Additionally, entry-level temporary jobs allow you to learn new skills, build your resume, and make connections within your industry. They also allow you to test different companies and roles to see what interests you.

There’s a chance your temp job can turn into a full-time position if the company has a long-term need and you fit the culture.

6. Focus on Companies, Not Jobs

Team of workers in the office
UfaBizPhoto / Shutterstock.com

Once you have a solid idea of what you want to do and how you want to do it, shift your focus from searching for jobs to researching companies you might want to work for. While having a job you like is essential, the company you work for plays a considerable role in how you feel about the job.

Understanding the company’s culture before you apply ensures you’re not wasting your time interviewing someplace you won’t be happy.

While you’ll learn more about the company during the interview process, eliminating companies you have zero interest in working for makes your search more efficient, saving you precious time in the long run.

7. Utilize Job Search Sites

thoughtful man looking computer
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

One of the best ways to find entry-level jobs for after graduation is by utilizing job search sites and apps. These platforms allow you to filter your search based on location, job title, salary range, and more.

Beware of the scammers and identity thieves that troll job boards. Do your research and choose credible job boards with a reputation for safety.

Instead of general boards, focus on niche boards to speed up your research. For example, if you’re looking for remote or flexible work, explore the listings in the FlexJobs database. With an entire team of real people vetting jobs, the entry-level jobs you’ll find are safe and legitimate.

New postings are added daily, so it’s important to make checking your job board of choice a part of your daily job search routine.

8. Hire a Career Coach

An employee talks with his manager
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

If you’re overwhelmed with the job search process, consider hiring a career coach.

A career coach can help you identify your strengths and skills, create a professional resume and cover letter, offer valuable insight into the current job market, and provide job search support and guidance, including tips on standing out from other candidates.

Not sure where to turn? Ensure you explore all of the resources at your career center. Often, there are career coaches there to help you polish your documents, provide interview feedback, and offer inside tips on companies that frequently hire graduates from your program or school.

9. Network

Professionals network at an event
Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

While job search sites and career coaches can be a great resource, networking is one of the most effective ways to find jobs after graduation. Contact family, friends, colleagues, and alumni from your university or college. Attend networking events or join professional organizations in your desired field.

Start the conversation by asking for an answer to one or two questions. Professionals are busy and might hesitate to commit to helping you if the conversation seems open-ended and time-consuming.

On the other hand, most professionals will gladly share one or two pieces of advice to help new graduates.

Don’t be afraid to ask for informational interviews or advice from professionals in your network you just met. They may have insider knowledge of job openings or be able to connect you with someone who does.

Try asking them for 10-15 minutes of their time. Then, make it personal with a comment like, “I saw that you graduated with the same degree I did and found your career path inspiring. I was curious if you have any tips for my job search (interview, resume, etc.) that will help me stand out.”

10. Ask for Referrals

Man on a computer and talking on the phone
PeopleImages.com – Yuri A / Shutterstock.com

If you haven’t already, it’s time to start gathering referrals from your professors, professionals in your network, past or present mentors, or even friends and family who can speak to your work ethic or ability to do the work you’re applying to.

Referrals can often give you an advantage over other candidates, as they are a personal recommendation from someone who knows and trusts your capabilities.

When requesting a referral, provide the person with a copy of your resume and highlight your relevant skills and experiences. If you’re looking for something specific, mention the task or situation you hope they’ll touch on.

11. Customize Your Resume

Young woman with resume
Stock-Asso / Shutterstock.com

Your resume tells your professional story, and it’s the key to finding a job after graduation that you love.

Your resume summarizes your skills and experience in one or two pages. As a new grad, you may not think you have much to offer an employer, but as you think about summer jobs you’ve had or volunteer work you’ve performed, you may find you have a lot of transferable skills that employers are looking for.

However, using the same resume for every job isn’t the best option. Many employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen candidates quickly and efficiently.

These systems look for keywords throughout your resume to see how well you match the position. While you don’t want to stuff your resume full of random keywords, you do want to tailor your resume for the position.

So, start with your resume header, then weave keywords from the job posting throughout your experience and skills sections to help demonstrate that you’re a good fit for the position.

12. Write a Compelling Cover Letter

Happy woman working remotely
Lyubov Levitskaya / Shutterstock.com

The cover letter is your chance to stand out from other candidates by uniquely explaining why you want the job and what you’ll accomplish. In fact, cover letters allow you to share a bit of your personality and highlight relevant information that might catch the hiring manager’s attention.

Start by highlighting your interests in the role, the company, and the field, then describe how your experience directly relates to the role. Depending on space, you might share how you discovered this company and envision yourself as a meaningful part of the company’s team and culture.

13. Build a Portfolio

Woman using a laptop in bed
Viktoriia Hnatiuk / Shutterstock.com

In addition to your resume and cover letter, it’s important to have a portfolio that showcases your best work. This is especially true for creative fields or jobs that require skills like graphic design, writing, or web design.

Your portfolio might be presented differently in other fields, but you’ll want to have a spot with your most relevant and impressive work.

A portfolio can include any type of work that demonstrates your abilities and experience. It could be samples of website copy, a new flyer design for the local zoo, or an app you helped code.

Be sure to include a variety of projects that highlight different skills and accomplishments. Consider the common requirements for the roles you’re applying to and ensure you have each skill set covered in your portfolio.

14. Check Your Background

Remote work desk computer zoom
Girts Ragelis / Shutterstock.com

The background we’re discussing here isn’t your virtual background for a remote interview —although you should do that too! We’re referring to your education, experience, and social circumstances.

Do a quick online search of your name to ensure nothing could embarrass you or tank your chances of getting an interview. See what links or photos come up, triple-check your social media profiles, and edit or remove anything that looks like it could hurt your chances.

15. Apply Thoughtfully

Young man in glasses using a laptop
simona pilolla 2 / Shutterstock.com

When it comes to applying for jobs after graduation, less is often more.

Though technology has made it easy to apply for a position with the click of a button, take the time to read through the job description and research the company to ensure it’s something you truly want and are mostly qualified for.

Ask yourself if this job is a realistic job for you. You should apply even if you don’t check all of the boxes, but if the posting asks for 10 years of experience, consider whether it’s realistic for you as an entry-level professional.

Can you see yourself enjoying a position at this company? Maybe this isn’t your dream job, but is it an entry point to a great company you’d be delighted about building a future with? If so, you should apply. If you have any doubts, consider skipping it.

You’re better off moving on to a posting you’re thrilled about than wasting time on writing a unique cover letter and resume for a job that doesn’t excite you.

16. Prepare Answers to Common Interview Questions

two women meet in a professional job interview
mentatdgt / Shutterstock.com

As you apply for post-graduation jobs and start getting interview requests, one of the best things you can do is research common interview questions and think about how you would answer them. This will help you feel more prepared and confident during your interviews.

The thing about interviews that is often the most intimidating is trying to figure out what to prepare for. But the reality is that most first interviews include some form of basic get-to-know-you questions.

The hiring manager will ask about your experience and goals and try to get a feel for how your skill set aligns with their needs.

After that, there’s generally a mix of job-specific questions. Get comfortable with the stories you’ll share to answer common interview questions and you’ll cut down on your preparation time when an interview gets scheduled.

17. Create a List of Questions to Ask

Job interview
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

Once you’ve done your research on the company and have a good understanding of the position, create a list of questions to ask during your interviews. This will show that you’re genuinely interested in the company and the role and also help you gather important information about the job.

The key is to ask strategic questions that aren’t quickly answered with a bit of research on the company’s website or social media. Ideal questions need to be crafted to fit the role you’re applying for, but you can also ask about the team’s culture, expectations for the role, opportunities for growth within the company, and how success is measured in this position.

It’s also a great idea to ask about the hiring timeline and any next steps you should expect after the interview.

18. Practice in Mock Interviews

An older worker shakes hands at a job interview
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

Practice makes perfect, and this applies to job interviews as well. If you have a friend or family member willing to help, ask them to do a mock interview. This will allow you to practice your answers, tone of voice, body language, and confidence.

Mock interviews are especially beneficial if you tend to get nervous during interviews. By practicing, you can work through any issues and gain confidence in your abilities before the real thing.

Is no one handy to help? Consider working with a career coach or utilizing one of the new AI interview prep services. These tools can help simulate a real interview experience and provide valuable feedback on your performance.

19. Keep Track

Woman gives thumbs up at laptop
Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock.com

Make sure you track your job search. This includes where you applied and when, any phone screens you’ve had, and even logging rejections.

Tracking your job search will help determine where everything stands, including who you need to follow up with and which position you applied for. This way, when a hiring manager calls, you’ll know which company and job they’re discussing.

Likewise, keeping track of your job search can help you avoid missteps, like applying for multiple positions and the same company or — gasp! — missing an interview.

20. Get Social

A women holds Apple iPhone with LinkedIn application on the screen.
Natee Meepian / Shutterstock.com

As you’re launching your job search, it’s time to look at your social media profiles through the eyes of a recruiter or hiring manager. Consider what looks unprofessional and might hinder your chances of landing a job.

Companies are increasingly hiring for culture fit, so ensure your social media is helping you create a personal brand that lands you a job after graduation, rather than sabotaging your chances.

You can also use social media to connect with the company you’re interested in working with. Follow its profiles and “like” recent updates. It can be a great way to network and get your foot in the door.

Even if the company has no job openings, you can start building relationships with its employees and watch for future opportunities.

The Next Big Step

Admiring businesswoman talking to businessman
Nattakorn_Maneerat / Shutterstock.com

The post-graduation job hunt may initially seem intimidating, but it’s also exciting and manageable if you approach it with the right mindset. It won’t be easy, but finding jobs after graduation can be easier with an experienced partner.

That’s where FlexJobs comes in. Whether you’re exploring entry-level temp jobs or want to land a work-from-anywhere job as a digital nomad, our curated job board is the key to finding your perfect match.

Don’t let your ideal job slip away — take a tour and discover a better way to job search today!

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related articles

AI Is Creating Transportation Jobs–Not Taking Them

Here's how artificial intelligence got the innovative transportation company HopSkipDrive into gear.

How to Become an Influencer (and make a lot of money)

Maximizing Your Revenue as an InfluencerDiversifying your income streamsTo maximize your revenue as an influencer, diversification is...

MGM Grand ex-president to be sentenced in money laundering case

A former top executive for major Las Vegas casinos was set to appear before a federal judge...

Canadian competition bureau has major concerns about proposed Bunge-Viterra merger By Reuters

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s Competition Bureau on Tuesday said it had identified major competition concerns around the...