Landing your first job after college can be daunting. You may have worked before or while getting your education, but this could be the job you stay with for a long time. It could also be the first time you’ve had to demonstrate how your degree and skills will come together to make you a valuable employee. But the process doesn’t have to be intimidating. There are resources available to help you. And following are a few tips to get you on the right track.
Networking can be a scary-sounding term, but it’s really just “exchanging information and ideas among people with a common profession or special interest, usually in an informal social setting.” And it’s the word “informal” that should tip you off to just how easy it can be. It doesn’t have to be done at an event. You can network while sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office when you find out the guy sitting next to you is in your field.
But the important thing about networking is to never turn down an invitation to a gathering. For example, your professor might invite professionals in certain fields to lecture your class on their careers. Or you might be invited to a gathering for Florida court reporters for a seminar. Any time you’re invited to a place where professionals hang out, do your best to attend. Even just being seen frequently by your professors will help them see how serious you are, which can motivate them to recommend you to people they know.
Volunteering may seem like a step backwards in your job search. After all, you probably need to earn some money ASAP. But the fact is that volunteering is one of the best ways to land your dream job. While doing this, you’ll learn new skills, network with people in the field, increase your self-confidence, and have something noteworthy to add to your resume.
If you’re into the tech field, you can accept small projects while waiting for a full-time opportunity. This will help you earn an income while honing your skills as well. Finished projects can also be added up into your resume. These little steps can help you earn a higher salary eventually. The average salary of a software engineer can reach up to a 6-figure mark annually, especially if you’re assigned with cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
Use your college resources
Almost every college has some type of counseling service available to its students, and these counseling centers usually provide career resources. Some offer job placement help and writing services to help with your resume. If they don’t offer these things in their office, they can usually lead you to someone who does. For example, your college may have a writing center where students can seek help with their CVs or resumes. Or they might redirect you to your own department for help with job placement.
But even colleges that don’t offer job placement services will still have some sort of list of companies looking for people in certain fields. Find out where this is. Your own department may carry the list, or it could even be maintained by Student Services. Either way, they’ll probably have a bulletin board or computerized copy somewhere of available jobs.
No matter where you go, you should always be prepared to meet someone in your career field. This could be someone who actually works in that field, or it could be someone who has connections. Either way, you’ll want to be prepared to tell them who you are, what you can do, and why someone should take a chance on you. This is what is called an “elevator speech.” It’s basically a 30-second commercial about you, but it obviously shouldn’t sound forced or unnatural. Practice the speech in front of a mirror and the people you know until it becomes second nature.
It’s also a good idea to carry a copy of your resume with you everywhere you go. This is especially true in networking situations, but you should always have access to it. Have some custom folders designed to hold your resume or CV and generic cover letter. You never know when someone will ask. And in situations where this is not feasible, just make sure you have a copy saved to your phone that you can quickly shoot over in an email.
Landing a job after college can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Keep these tips in mind to help you land a job that is perfect for you.