Getting a job fresh out of college can seem daunting. With many employers limiting their doors to those with actual field experience, many college graduates end up taking unpaid internships or low level positions that do not allow them to practice the skill set they’ve learned in college. And while underemployment rates have fallen below 10 percent, according to a report by Georgetown University, it still pays to know your way across the challenging job market. Here are five ways to land your first paying gig right out of college.
Figure Out What You Want
Even though you’ve majored in one field of study, the myriad of possible careers you can pursue remain broad. Just because you’ve completed a degree in public relations, doesn’t mean you have to be a PR pro. The knowledge and skill set you acquire from one branch of study can be applied to another. Before you start spamming your resume online and meeting with talent scouts, make sure you’ve pinpointed which career path you’re passionate about. To narrow it down, you can think of previous internship or work experiences that you enjoyed. Think about the small tasks or subjects in your coursework that you stuck with, regardless of how challenging it was.
Craft a Good Resume
A well-organized CV reflects you positively in the eyes of employers. Always position the most relevant information on the first page of your resume. The goal is to point the reader’s eyes, particularly your interviewer’s, on information that will immediately pique their interest. Keep in mind that you can modify your resume to fit the job description you are applying for. Key parts to include in your resume include a personal statement, educational background, relevant work experience, extracurricular activities, and references. As important as what information to include in your resume is the length of your resume. As a general rule of thumb, it shouldn’t be too short or too long. While the goal is a solid one-page resume, two pages are acceptable.
Build an Online Presence
An established online presence can serve as a competitive advantage when landing a job or at least an interview. This is especially true when it comes to technology- and PR/marketing-related fields. Starting a website or blog and filling it with formal projects or casual notes can show that you are passionate and knowledgeable about a specific subject matter. For instance, if you are looking to land a job as an investment banker, you can blog about trade ideas and setups.
Leave a Good First Impression
Landing a face-to-face interview in and of itself is a difficult process. Sending your resume, passing the phone interview, and securing the required documents can be arduous. All these preparations, however, are necessary to leaving a good first impression. Unlike your usual classes in college, there is no leeway for unprofessional behavior. An appropriate dress code and etiquette are expected otherwise your application may be cut short. Make physical and mental preparations beforehand. Get adequate rest and eat a hearty meal before your interview. This will keep you mentally sharp and quick on your feet.
Be a Creative Networker
To get your foot in the door, you have to be a creative networker. Sending an email blast to potential employers and waiting for at least one of them to respond isn’t exactly the most creative use of your time and energy. One must be willing to exhaust all channels until they get the job offer they desire. Attend seminars and webinars, connect with industry professionals through LinkedIn and other similar platforms, go to casual meetups, and leave your calling card in places of business.
Applying for work is not a onetime pursuit. You’ll want to regularly update your resume and work towards advancing your job position. Proactively use these five tips to expand your career opportunities even after you’ve secured a well-paying and satisfying job.