Job Hunting Tips for College Graduates and Students

If you are a college student or a recent graduate and haven’t landed your first entry-level job yet, don’t panic!

I landed my first job when I was 17 and have worked full time throughout college. Attending college full time and working full time was not a lot of fun. On the other hand, it forced me to stay organized, manage my time properly and focus on my goals. So it’s your choice if you want to work during college and learn responsibilities early or if you want more free time to enjoy your college life.

During my time in college I had many resources available to me, from school advisors to alumni who have volunteered to help with job searches, etc. I did not take much advantage of these resources but I wish I did.

The first – and most important job search tip for both students and recent graduates is to visit your college or university career office. Most career offices provide college students with personal career counseling, job and internship listings, and other forms of job search assistance. Career offices also often run job shadowing programs, job fairs, recruiting programs, and other networking opportunities for students and graduates.

A college career office can help with nearly every step of your job search process.

Second tip – Attend job fairs! Many colleges host job fairs, both on and off campus. Some fairs are focused on a particular industry, such as a job fair in education or marketing. Taking the time to attend is well worth the effort. You’ll have the opportunity to meet companies that are hiring, learn more about opportunities at those companies, and, and at some events, you’ll even be able to interview on the spot. This is a great opportunity to practice interview questions and to get some feedback.

Network with hiring managers, ask questions and collect business cards!

Even if you are not actively applying for jobs, attending job fairs is an important step because it will increase your confidence for your job search ahead!

Third tip – Network! There are numerous opportunities for college students and grads to investigate career options. For example, build relationships with your professors, and keep them posted on your job search. They might have contacts in your industry or know of opportunities available to you.

Also, attend any relevant career workshops at your school. Many workshops will be hosted by your career services office. These are great opportunities to meet hiring managers in your industry.

You might be able to conduct an informational interview or even job shadow someone in a career of interest.

Forth tip – Online job searching! If you are a college student about to enter the workforce or a student looking for a summer or part-time job, check out job searching websites dedicated to entry-level jobs.

Many of these sites also provide career and job search advice, including tips specifically for college students.

Prior to applying for jobs, make sure you tidy your resume and market your most impressive skills! Remove any references to your high school career and focus on highlighting your best selling points, such as your education, leadership skills, internship experience, and any awards you achieved during your college career. 

If you are still unsure if your college resume is good enough, you can send me a message requesting a FREE resume review and I’d be happy to offer resume-writing advice.

Fifth tip – consider an internship or volunteer work! Not ready for a “real” job yet? A lot of college students aren’t. Keep in mind that your first job doesn’t need to be a full-time or professional position. There are a variety of options available for college students including short-term work experiences, internships or volunteer work. They are all great opportunities to test a career of your interest, network with professionals, make new friends who have similar values and interests, gains new skills, etc.

Sixth tip – Be flexible. If you are having trouble finding a job, broaden the number of fields you are considering. Since you are looking for an entry-level job, it is a good idea to broaden your horizons. You never know where your first job might take you.

Seventh tip – Collect references. These references might include professors, athletic coaches, internship supervisors, and others who can speak to your skills and abilities. Always ask them if it’s okay to add them to your reference list.

Eight tip – Say thank you. Once you do get a job, be sure to send a thank you note to everyone who helped you with your job search, including people who wrote you letters of recommendation, people with whom you conducted informational interviews, and people you job shadowed. Saying thank you is not only polite, but it is also a useful way to stay in touch with people. You never know when you might need help finding another job in the future.

That’s it my peeps! These are my eight easy steps you can start taking today, to help you land your first entry-level job, faster!