College Grad Job Search Strategies
College Grad Job Search Strategies

Entry-level job seekers find themselves in a unique position. While they may have the education that a job requires, they lack the all important on-the-job experience. From college students about to enter the labor force, stay-at-home moms who want to work outside the home, to any number of job seekers, there are strategies you can employ to land an entry-level job.

1. First step, do the research. As with any job search plan, one of the most important steps is to do the up-front research. If you have a degree in a chosen field, it’s best to research what other criteria, other than schooling, is required to secure a position. The Occupational Outlook Handbook published each year by the Department of Labor is a terrific resource. It provides an outlook of top careers as well as requirements of each industry.

2. Have your resume ready. A strong resume that you have on-hand at a moment’s notice is critical. Many online job boards offer resume writing services. For entry-level job seekers, experts recommend that you use a functional resume. Unlike a chronological resume, functional resumes focus on your skills and experience first. This type of resume de-emphasizes the dates in which you have worked; employment history is secondary, and is listed under the details of your skills.

3. For grads, be sure to visit your college or university career services office. Utilize these resources for career counseling, job and internship listings, access to recruiting programs, and career networking. The staff can also help you create a resume, draft cover letters and review your job search correspondence. Videotaped practice interview is also offered by many.

4. Consider an internship. If you do not have the necessary experience that some career fields require, you may consider internship programs. These programs, some of which are paid, are a valuable way to gather on-the-job training which can work to make your resume stronger. In some cases, many companies will also consider offering you a position on a permanent basis. As an intern, you also have the pulse of the company and can position yourself immediately for interviews should job openings occur.

5. Stay online as much as possible. Many online job boards offer job postings for entry-level job seekers, and registering on these sites provides many benefits, including job listings, resume posting, job search tips and career advice. And while you are online, connect with prospective employers via social networks.

As a college grad, chances are you’re all too familiar with social networking. Use sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to your advantage. Many companies now use these networks to recruit, and connecting with prospective employers via social networks showcases your savvy. Look at companies that are of interest and research job openings, culture and other information. Be mindful. Many companies now gauge the aptitude of prospective employees not only by their professional and educational experience, but their online presence. What you say and how you present yourself online will translate into real-world perception.

6. Take advantage of recruiting and career fairs. Take note of college events like career fairs and see what companies and organizations are visiting. Bring copies of your resume to distribute. Also try to stand out without being rude by striking up a meaningful but short conversation with representatives of participating companies. This is a terrific way to connect and position yourself with hiring managers.

7. Package yourself. Learn the basic etiquette of job-hunting which includes dressing appropriately, learning the importance of a good handshake, eye contact and thank you notes and emails. Take advantage of the plethora of career articles online which outline all the basic requirements of the job search process.

8. Network extensively. You cannot have too many people in your corner when you are looking to secure a job, and networking plays a critical role in the process. Networking can be informal and formal. Look to friends, family, neighbors, alumni, even people you meet at grocery stores as having potential to generate job openings. Go to business association events and gatherings. Here people with similar goals gather and it can be a good way to begin to connect with professional contacts.

9. Volunteering is good and good for you. Many professionals are members of their local community organizations, whether because of company sponsorships or because of their own personal interests. Volunteering groups are a good way to connect with people and employers within your community.

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