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College graduation: It’s the end of another chapter and the beginning of the rest of your life.
Graduation is an incredibly exciting time filled with a roller coaster of emotions. There will be times when you can’t wait to graduate college and times when you’re scared out of your mind. If you’re like most 2014 college graduates, chances are you’re contemplating one (or more) of the following options:
A) Finding a job or internship.
B) Going back to school or travel the world.
C) Figuring out what to do with your life.
If you fall into any of these categories, you might be feeling a little worried about post-grad life. However, you aren’t alone. The Onion recently published a satirical article about the post-grad job search. It featured a story about a 2014 graduate preparing for his 14-month post-grad job search. The article highlighted how the graduate will spend his time after college “scouring online job listings, endlessly revising a resume no one will ever look at, and submitting 10 to 20 job applications every day to which he will never receive a single reply, positive or negative.” Obviously, this graduate has it all wrong.
When it comes to preparing for post-grad life, many college students share the same fear — find your first job or end up in your parents’ basement. However, you should know you will find a job after college. You just need to take the right steps.
Whatever your fear is regarding graduation and your post-grad life, here are 14 job search hacks to help you avoid unemployment:
1. Take a professional writing course.
In your first job, you’ll need to show your boss you can write more than a term paper. He or she will expect you to write professional emails and various documents. If you feel like your writing skills are rusty, take an online writing or copy editing class to help you strengthen your skills.
2. Take a theater class.
Believe it or not, theater can help prepare you for job interviews. Consider attending one of your college’s theater improv club meetings or enrolling in a drama class. The idea is to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and get comfortable thinking on the spot.
3. Evaluate your image.
Take a moment to look at yourself from the outside in. Observe your personality, habits, appearance, and work ethic. Do you like what you see? Are you the person you want people to see? If you’re happy with the person you view in the mirror, great! But if you’re not happy with the person you are, take some steps to improve your image. This will help you become the young professional you aspire to be after graduation.
4. Get connected.
Research shows one in six job seekers attribute their job search success to social media. If you’re not already on LinkedIn, you need to sign up now. Depending on your field, you should also be using Twitter to build professional connections. Today’s job search is done online, so make sure you’re connected and building a strong personal brand.
5. Consider doing an internship.
If you’re feeling under-prepared for your first job, consider finding an internship. About six percent of college grads finish their first internship after college. This is a great way to gain some additional experience before your first full-time job. And who knows, your internship could turn into a job, too.
6. Give freelancing a try.
In recent years, there as been a 105 percent increase in college grads applying for freelance positions. Show employers your initiative by taking some time to freelance. Again, if you’re worried you don’t have enough experience for a full-time gig, freelancing is a good way to build your portfolio. This will give you the opportunity to explore your entrepreneurial side and even discover a new career path.
7. Be flexible.
Flexibility is key to your post-grad job search. You have to be a little open-minded when applying for your first job. Chances are, you won’t land your dream job off the bat — and that’s OK. Allow yourself a little flexibility in your goals to explore different options. You may discover a job that’s the perfect fit for you.
8. Gain in-demand skills your prof didn’t teach you.
According to NACE’s 2014 Job Outlook survey, employers are looking for candidates who have the ability to work in a team, make decisions, solve problems, plan and organize work, and verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization. To make yourself a marketable college grad, find a way to incorporate these skills into your resume and support them with your accomplishments.
9. Utilize your memberships with professional organizations.
Your involvement with professional organizations is a great opportunity to help you find a job upon graduation. Use your membership to connect professionals in your field and attend events. You should also find out if your organization posts job openings for your industry, too.
10. Think in short-term goals.
It’s easy to get ahead of yourself and become too focused on your “dream” job as you approach graduation. Instead of focusing on the next year, focus on the next six months of your career. It’s okay if you don’t land your dream job immediately upon graduation. However, you need to stay focused on your short-term goals that will lead you in that direction.
11. Have a professional look at your resume.
Take advantage of your university’s career services or meet with your adviser to review your resume. It’s also a good idea to set up a meeting with a mentor or professional in your field who could give you valuable feedback, too. This way, you’ll find out what experts want from college grads.
12. Leverage your network.
During your last month of school, don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals for informational interviews. You should also take advantage of any mixers, networking events, or workshops in your area. These are opportunities for you to get your name out there and make connections that could lead to jobs.
13. Do your homework.
As you apply for jobs, research is key to impressing employers. Your resume and cover letter should both reflect the time you invested in learning about the position you’re applying for. Once offered an interview, make sure you learn about the company’s values, latest work, and news. This knowledge will give you a huge advantage during your interview.
14. Build your portfolio.
Building your portfolio from scratch can be a little overwhelming, but it’s not impossible. Gather examples of your best work from your classes, internships, and jobs that illustrate your skills and experience. If you’re lacking materials for your portfolio, considering doing a little pro bono work to help you gain more real-world accomplishments.
There are a variety options you can take advantage of to avoid post-grad unemployment. If you’re worried about what to do once you have your diploma in hand, don’t hesitate to use these tips. Don’t be another college graduate working a dead end job. It’s time to begin your search for a job that will help you launch your career in the right direction!
What are your best tips for the post grad job search?
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