Congratulations! You’ve graduated from college and worked for the past several years to obtain a well-earned degree in a field you’re passionate about and you’re ready to take your next step.
As graduation celebrations start to wind down, it’s time to start thinking about navigating the post-college job market. Are you looking for an internship? Dream job? Starter job to get you used to working? Are you willing to relocate? The options are endless and exciting as you begin this new stage of life.
This guide will delve into the plethora of ways you can go about searching for a job and navigating the waters of a competitive job market.
Where to Start
You’ve already taken the first (and possibly the most difficult) step in your journey to landing a post-graduation career, and that’s graduating. Whether you went to school online or studied for a few years or several years, your degree will go a long way to helping you secure a position at a company.
Odds are you have an understanding of what you enjoy doing for fun and what an attractive career may look like. What type of company culture do you want to be a part of? What do you want your day-to-day to look like? Before you can jump into searching for companies, you need to know what fits your personality best. Taking a career personality test can help set you on the right path for what you want and may even lead you to options you haven’t thought of before.
Understanding where your priorities lie and what your passions are is an important starting point in your career search. Without understanding yourself and just jumping in, you will search with a lack of direction, which risks the possibility of landing somewhere that you aren’t happy.
Lean on the Advice of a Professional
Just like you would use Transizion to explore college admissions, there are plenty of services available to assist you in finding the right career path and job placement. These services are great if you’re looking for a job in a new area, or if you simply don’t know where to start. Whether you talk to a professional or lean on an external agency the options are numerous, so let’s dive in a bit deeper to understand what type of help would suit you best.
Recruiters fill a similar void as headhunters; however, they oftentimes work in-house at a specific company as opposed to an outside agency. Recruiters normally work internally with a larger talent team, HR, and hiring managers for specific roles within departments. Talking to a recruiter may be more beneficial than a headhunter because they’ll be able to give you more insight into the specific role, the company culture, and other company details. Recruiters have a hand in everything from finding qualified candidates to sifting through initial waves of resumés and even taking part in the interview process.
Headhunters tend to get a bad rap. Headhunters are often hired by individual companies who need help filling a specific role and are struggling to find the right candidate. Headhunters work in a few different ways, one being they have a pool of eager job-seekers who come to them, whom they then slot into roles based on their skills for a company. Alternatively, they may start from scratch and have to do the searching themselves for a specific role.
The Hiring Manager
The Hiring Manager has the final say in who gets a specific job they oversee. Managers are normally involved at some stage of the interview process, so making a great impression with them is arguably the most important connection you can make.
Recruiters, headhunters, and hiring managers all serve the purpose of helping you land a job in one way or another. Though they all go about hiring and filling positions in their own unique ways, these are the people you want to talk to when on a job hunt. Building these professional relationships with the most people possible gives you a greater likelihood of landing a job. Read on for more tips on how to build your network of business professionals!
Expand Your Network
Network. Network. Network. This is a term that has likely been drilled into you for the past several years, but it can’t be stressed enough. The more people you know, the more likely you are to connect with someone where you aspire to be. Oftentimes, it isn’t your direct relationship, but it’s someone who can help you meet someone else or make an introduction. So where do you start and how do you go about reaching out to these people you want to work with?
If you haven’t yet, sign up for LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the largest network for business professionals looking to connect and expand their networks with co-workers, recruiters, like-minded people or a place to simply keep up on industry trends and news.
If you already have a LinkedIn profile that you update regularly, that’s a great start. When it comes to communicating with business professionals, there are a few tips to follow. For example, always consider the way you open your message to someone new. Make sure the opening line they see in the preview can’t be mistaken as too upfront, offensive, or sexual in any way, shape, or form.
Say you successfully met with a potential hiring manager or someone at a company you can see yourself working for. The higher up these people are at their companies, the more people they talk to like yourself. Their time is valuable and though it’s tough to hear, what are the odds that they remember you? Especially considering that you’re the one looking for them to help you.
Not every relationship is transactional, but maintaining the relationship over time may prove to be fruitful. So, after you meet with this person, whether over coffee or Zoom, follow up with a hand-written note thanking them for their time and calling out something specific from your conversation. This may not be enough to tip the scales in your favor and land you a position right away, but it shows you have the extra drive and understand the relationship aspect of business, something that can’t be overstated enough.
Expanding your network is a lifelong process. Continuing to build two-way relationships is key to meeting and exposing yourself to different people and decision-makers across various industries and cities.
Make Your Own Experience
In a competitive marketplace, it can be tough to stand out. If you’re coming straight out of college, almost everyone will have similar work experiences. But maybe you did a work-study or have some internship experience. What can you do to set yourself apart?
If you take some time between graduating and applying for positions, you’ll want to be productive during that time. Going into an interview and the employer seeing a gap in your recent past may raise some questions. A great way to work around not jumping straight into a job is to spend time volunteering for various organizations. If possible, tie your volunteering to causes you believe in that are also values you see in future employers to spark conversation.
Start a Side Hustle
Nothing shows entrepreneurial spirit like starting your own business regardless of how big or small it is. Start by researching what you’re interested in and go from there. Ask yourself questions like:
- Can I sustain this if I find a full-time job?
- Can I monetize what I’m passionate about?
- How will this look to a future employer?
A side hustle can offer you invaluable experience that sets you apart from similar applicants and give you real world, on-the-job experience where you will learn and grow on your own dime as opposed to your employer’s.
Develop Your Brand
Whether you develop a side hustle or not, developing your brand is a continuous process. What do you stand for? What do you enjoy? Developing your brand on your social media channels or even through building out a personal blog website with SiteGround can help employers understand who you are and what you’re all about. This is a huge advantage for you because it gives you the chance to craft your passions into content that can make a lasting impression on them before you even meet!
Doing your best to control the controllable is a helpful practice during a job hunt. The hours you spend writing LinkedIn messages, sending in applications, fine-tuning your resumé, and tailoring your cover letter can become strenuous. In a competitive job market, you’re likely to not hear back or be screened out early in lots of cases, but don’t let that get to you!
When you feel you’re getting down on yourself, work to go back to things that make you happy or schedule breaks into your day. A few options to ensure you avoid burnout before even beginning your career include but are certainly not limited to:
- Workout in the middle of the day
- Read 15 pages of a book
- Work on a puzzle
- Watch an episode of your favorite show
- Call a friend on the phone
It’s also worth your time to talk to as many friends and family you know and let them know of your ambitions or the struggles you may be facing.
Navigating the post-college job market, however, can be a mental challenge, too, regardless of the help you lean on. This is when it’s time to seek the professional support that you need to stay positive. Combating feelings of stress, anxiety, and being overwhelmed with online psychiatry can help you rest easy and keep you in a positive frame of mind as you go through this potentially stressful yet exciting process.
The options to keep your mind off the ins and outs of job hunting are endless. Don’t avoid the process of searching and applying; rather, make sure you’re taking the steps that continue to make this new journey a fun one!
Conclusion: Navigating the Post-Graduation Job Market
Graduating college is an amazing accomplishment. What you do next should be something you enjoy at a company you aspire to be a part of and which will continue to help you develop and grow. Taking the time to find that right place is perfectly normal.
- Get an understanding of what career path fits you best and begin researching potential employers from there.
- Reach out and find professional help if you feel your searches are turning up too many dead ends.
- Make your own experiences to help differentiate yourself from the pack.
- Keep a positive mindset; it’s a long journey, but it will pay off.
Following these steps isn’t a foolproof way to land your dream career, but they are necessary to set you on the right path. Congratulations on starting this journey; best of luck!