This year, thousands of college graduates will enter the workforce. They spent countless hours pursuing their degrees and left little to no room for improvement of job searching skills. Deciding which opening to choose as the first job can be frustrating.
Some students waste several months before actively applying for jobs. It can become challenging if you don’t know where to start. But there are several things you can do to make the prospect of landing your first job more real.
Think About the Job You Want
While studying in college, many students wonder what their first job will look like. Some even pay for papers to get a head start on job searching. But they get nowhere without being realistic about it. Since they worked for a degree, their future career is more or less decided. That said, graduates have a hard time thinking about the kind of work.
When thinking about the first job, you should consider:
- remote vs. on-site work
- benefits you hope to get
- the salary you wish to receive
- the suitable work schedule.
Since it’s your first job, you must be realistic about your desires. This is impossible without taking stock of the strengths and skills you can bring to a job.
Assess Your Skills
First, think about the hard skills you’ve achieved during your studies. These may include programming, accounting, marketing, etc. Next, analyze the soft skills you have. Graduates are often good team players, can work on their feet, and be reliable under stress. Students often think that they have these traits but can be mistaken.
That’s why an arbitrary assessment of your skill set is essential. There are many online platforms to test and confirm them. This way, you’ll have a better understanding of your assets. Perhaps some of them are lacking and need improvement.
For example, if you’re a graduate with a LinkedIn account, you can put your listed skills to the test. Confirming them will make job searching a lot easier. Once there’s a list of skills, it’s time to work on your first resume.
Create a Solid Resume
Some students don’t feel the need to work on this document since they have zero work experience. In reality, employers need to see what you can offer them. It’s an important part of making a first impression. For example, one could list their volunteer work or a part-time summer job. Even without working experience, students have a lot to talk about.
For example, programming students can share their best code on GitHub or other platforms. Art students may present their selected works. Make sure to mention as many strengths and skills as possible. Remember that there are hundreds of your peers doing the same.
To beat the competition, you have to make your resume stand out. Sending a generic resume application will almost certainly result in rejection. It’s also a good idea to invest time into a cover letter.
Now that you have a resume, where do you send it?
Many students dream about landing a job at Apple or Google after graduation. But this workforce niche is occupied by high-paying professionals. Instead, they should focus on smaller companies and firms in the local area. There’s a small chance you’ll get what you want: a high-paying position at a big company. Yet, it may be worse than initially imagined.
A bigger budget implies greater responsibility and pressure. You may end up working overtime or get underpaid for your qualifications. The first job should have a good balance of time investment and career growth opportunities. These are easier to find among smaller businesses.
Additionally, starting small will give a better picture of your capabilities and desires. Graduates often find out they don’t like their careers. Starting somewhere small gives ample time to reconsider and find a new path.
Research the Company
Many students fall into an unproductive pattern when it comes to searching for work. They go to the company page, find an opening, and send a resume without a second thought. This way, they either don’t land the job or get hired at a firm that ends up being a poor fit. Here’s what you should do instead:
- thoroughly research the company website to make sure it suits your skills and needs;
- read at least several employee reviews about the firm, its managers, and staff;
- search feedback from company clients for red flags.
Some shady businesses are looking to cheat their employees. They can do this by not paying for overtime, neglecting safety protocols, or working without a license. In extreme cases, they may not be real at all. Therefore, graduates should be extra careful where they apply.
While you wait for a response from employers, prepare for the interviews.
Ask the Right Questions
After you receive a reply about the resume, the company will set up the date and time for the video interview. Applicants have to be ready to answer the questions about themselves. But, even more importantly, you should have queries for the potential employer. Make sure to research the company and ask:
- what they look for in an employee;
- employee benefits and bonuses;
- what you’ll be responsible for;
- what the work week looks like.
These questions will give you a better picture of the company. After participating in an interview, you can make an informed decision.
Take Advantage of a Transition Period
One of the worst things students can do is do nothing between graduation and their first job interview. They often spend this time playing video games or binging on Netflix all day. Instead, you should spend your time expanding and learning new skills. For example, you can
- sign up for free online courses like Coursera, edX, and Udemy
- enter a summer internship to expand your skill set.
These activities will be a great transition between your student and employee lives. During this period, it’s essential to look for career options. Once the course or internship ends, you’ll better understand your strong and weak points.
Finding a job is never easy, especially for recent graduates. With these tips, you’ll significantly increase the chance of getting hired and starting down your career path. Good luck!