The late nights cramming for finals is over; you’ve put your cap and gown away…yes, you’ve survived college and it’s time to enter the real world. Now before you start picking out the Ferrari or the McMansion, the first thing you’ll need to do is find a job. While you’ve likely taken some type of employment seminar, nothing in the real world is ever textbook in a job search. Below are important tips that I believe every new graduate should follow.
Network, network, network! Like most recent graduates, your network is likely more limited than those who’ve been in the workforce for several years. One thing to remember, especially in a tight job market (and even in a great market) is that many times the old adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” does hold some truth. Sure, you still need to be qualified, however it never helps to have someone on the inside. So how does one network?
- LinkedIn– not your traditional networking, however this is one social network you don’t want to dismiss!
- Connect/converse without limits– don’t sell your network short by networking with only those who can help you achieve your goals. Be open, honest and genuine with everyone- it’s amazing how small the world is and karma has a way of coming back to find us.
- Listen- don’t just listen for opportunities in the ‘now’, listen to what those around you say. What makes their job difficult? Is that something you can fix? If you’re able to connect these dots the opportunities afforded to you will be many.
Concentrate on that resume! A resume, by Webster’s own definition, is simple- it’s a personal summary. So why not skip all the theatrics, slap together a few blurbs around your experience and start getting those applications out the door? The reality is that for each position you apply for, there are hundreds, if not more, other people trying to get the coveted interview. Now you don’t need to ship your resume off with glitter ink, watermarks and neon orange paper (unless the position calls for quirky or gaudy), however you do need to make sure that the content of your resume is organized in a manner that easy to digest.
- Styles- make sure the overall style of your resume plays to your strengths. As a recent graduate you will want to focus on the skills and knowledge that you’ve just earned. A narrative focusing on how those courses and any extracurricular activities relate to the position at hand may be the best way to go.
- The little things– even the most perfect resume in the world is quickly derailed by spelling and grammar errors. Unless you’ve broke out the quill and ink vial, give the spellchecker a click and then make sure you give it a once over- if possible find another set of eyes to review. Don’t be that guy…or gal who fails to heed this advice!
- Customize- unless you’re applying for the same position at the same organization over and over again, you should have more than one resume. In fact, you should make sure that each resume is suited and tailored for each position which you apply.
- Keywords- make sure your resume is filled with keywords, this will ensure your resume will make it through the applicant tracking system. Often, keywords are simply job titles, skills, certifications and so on. I would suggest making a list of your targeted jobs and review the job posting and make a list of what terms or keywords appear many times, as this will give you an idea of what to use in your resume.
Beyond these tips, remember that even in the greatest of economies it takes time to land that perfect job. If you’re not getting much traction in the way of interviews, consider using a professional resume writer. They’re often able to help punch past that first layer and help land the interview. In the end, remain positive and be persistent as you follow your dreams.
Michelle Kruse has more than 10 years of hiring and recruiting experience and a background in coaching and leadership development.