You have now graduated from college and new doors just opened up for you. You have a lot of opportunities to conquer and more experiences to live. The “real world” can seem so daunting yet exciting at the same time, isn’t it?
As a fresh college graduate, you have two options: give yourself a break (maybe months or a year) and travel to the places you have always wanted to go to, or jump straight to finding yourself a job.
Personally, I went for the 2nd option: I jumped straight to employment. I had nothing but my grades, passion, and dreams. That is supposed to be enough, right?
Here is a reality check: Being hired is more than just your awards and certificates. There are a lot of factors employers look at that are not usually taught to you by your professors. I would say that job hunting is your first “real world” struggle once you step out of university/college. You don’t just waltz in on a company wearing a million-dollar smile and expect them to hire you on the spot. No, the process is more rigorous than that.
However, this post is not intended to scare you. Instead, it is made to prepare you with job hunting strategies that are assured to help you.
So, here are valuable job hunting tips that even I wish I knew back then:
Disclaimer: Affiliate links may be used in this post, which I may receive a commission from, at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here.
Do an internship
Most companies will require you to have “experience” in the position you are applying for. For this, an internship is a great start especially if you just graduated and are applying for your first job. Do not be afraid nor ashamed to start out as an intern – we all have to start somewhere. Instead, be grateful because you will be trained and guided by your superiors. You will gain fresh knowledge and new skills in your chosen field. Another great benefit of doing an internship is there is always a high possibility that the company will hire you as an employee if you perform your tasks well.
Do some networking
Making connections will always be an essential part of any life success. These connections will help you, give advice, and share valuable stories. In a business or job hunting setting, your network will introduce you to various companies and job opportunities, and even refer you to the company they are working for. It is also a great point to ask the professionals you know about how they got into that position – how they started, what they did to succeed, and what to avoid in the workplace. Your growing network will help you prepare and polish you as you step foot into your job hunting journey.
Create a Linkedin account
I do think people still overlook the importance and benefits of having a Linkedin account. You might think that Linkedin just serves as your online resume but what most do not know is that recruiters use it as a place to search for potential job candidates, so make sure you put your credentials there! Moreover, you can connect with other alumni from your university as well as professionals in the same field as you.
Make a professional resume/CV
Now here is a really helpful tip that I got from my previous employers and Human Resources friends: most employers now recommend a one-page resume, two pages max. There really is no need to list each and every extra-curricular activities you have joined or the number of conventions you have attended. Just write down what is relevant to the job position you are applying in. Are you applying for a writer’s position? Then you can list down any writing talks or seminars you have attended.
It is effective to write a title under your name and a short bio. For example: Krisy | Content Writer *short bio*. Attach a professional photo and include your contact details especially your email address. Never forget to list your skills and expertise! Again, include the things that are relevant to what you are applying in. No need to overdo it because more often than not, they will not read the next 4 pages of your resume/CV.
Oh, and another pro-tip: Try NOT to include your expertise in any of the Microsoft Office tools (especially Microsoft Word) in your skills section. You’ll thank me later.
Make a portfolio
This depends on the job position you are applying in. If you are applying in a creative field, it is important to attach a portfolio of your work along with your resume when sending an application email. If you are a writer, compile your writing pieces. If you are a graphic designer, then compile your designs in a creative way. A videographer? Upload your videos online or on Youtube. If for instance, you do not have any works to show, then it is the perfect time to make some.
Always send a cover letter
You have no idea how many times my boss trashed job application forms that only has their resume/CV attached. Nothing else. What are they going to do with that resume? Did you even specify which position you are applying for?
It is always safe to make a cover letter template wherein you will properly introduce yourself, your background, your skills, and what you can bring to the company. If you are applying through email, get a snippet from your cover letter, reword it a bit, and use it for the email’s body, and then say that you have attached your cover letter, resume, and portfolio.
Clean your social media
I am going to warn you now: someone from the company will stalk you. It will either be the HR person or just a random future workmate who have seen your resume. I will have to admit that I was once tasked to find the Facebook profile of this one poor soul. So make sure that your social media accounts do not have any indication of you doing something illegal or questionable. Or better yet, just make everything private – that’s the safest way.
Get to know the company
So you are now invited for a job interview. It is now up you to wow them with how you present yourself. Aside from stating your background, most employers will ask you how you got to know about the company or what is it that you think they do. It is very important that you have researched beforehand the company’s mission and services as well as the job specifications of the position you are applying in. Your employers will be pleased to know that you have genuine interest in their company.
Do not rush
I know you are excited and ready to dive in on being employed but it is crucial to take a step back and think about what you really want to do and you aspire to be. It is definitely okay to not take that first job offer if you know that it does not excite or empower you in any way. Do not waste your time applying for a job that you have no interest in whatsoever because you will just leave yourself uninspired and drained. Instead, focus on your skills, harness it, and make it your expertise.
Sometimes, it is better to be a master of one than a jack of all trades (but a master of none).
Bonus: Ultimate Job Searching Resource
You do not need to scare and stress yourself in job searching.
Here is a complete step-by-step guide to help you with your job search. The Empower Your Job Search course has everything you need to make you stand out as a job candidate: from crafting your resume and cover letter, negotiating your salary, networking and interview techniques, to useful job search resources and more! The course has positive reviews from fresh college graduates and young professionals alike.
Avail the full course here.
However, if you want to avail the resources separately or just one at a time, you can browse each course here! It has everything you need for your job hunting journey, trust me.
I wish you all the best in your career!
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