Here are 10 Steps to Find a Job After Graduation

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April 23, 2024 at 4:21AM UTC
Congratulations on your shiny new degree! You’re onto the next phase of your life!
It’s equal parts thrilling and intimidating to leave behind four years of extracurricular activities, studying, and homework to venture into the world of job interviews, office schedules, and adulting. But you can land your first post-graduation job quickly and efficiently with the right amount of dedication and planning.

10 Tips for Your Post-Graduation Job Search

1. Define Your Job Goals

Not everyone knows what they want to be when they grow up, and that’s OK. It’s common for new grads to have multiple, if slightly vague, career ideas. But the more you narrow your career ideas down, the more targeted and ultimately successful your job search will be.
As you search for jobs, also conduct career research. Job descriptions can give you an idea of what different roles in different fields entail. For even more information, the Occupational Outlook Handbook by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is probably one of the most comprehensive databases of detailed job information.

2. Learn More

Once you’ve narrowed your focus to a few types of jobs, learn more about each one. Talk to your network (teachers, family, friends) to connect with professionals who work in your dream position or at a company you want to work at.
Connect with them on LinkedIn or give them a call to set up an informational interview. Ask how they arrived at their current position and if they have any advice for a recent graduate looking to get into their line of work. You may receive valuable feedback or even a referral for a job opening.

3. How Do You Want to Work?

There’s more to a job than what you do. You also need to know how you want to do it.
Do you want to work in an office every day with set hours? Or, would you rather have a flexible schedule and work from anywhere? Do you possess an entrepreneurial spirit and want to choose your own clients and workload as a freelancer?
These days, you’ve got a lot of options, so make sure you understand the pros and cons of each, then connect with the career path that has whatever you’re looking for. To learn more, read:

4. Focus on Companies, Not Jobs

Once you have a solid idea of what you want to do and how you want to do it, shift your focus from searching for jobs to researching companies you might want to work for.
While having a job you like is essential, the company you work for plays a considerable role in how you feel about the job. Understanding the company’s culture before you apply ensures you’re not wasting your time interviewing someplace you won’t be happy.
And while you’ll learn more about the company during the interview process, eliminating companies you have zero interest in working for makes your search more efficient, saving you precious time in the long run.

5. Customize Your Resume

Your resume is a way to tell your professional life story. It summarizes your skills and experience in one or two pages. As a new grad, you may not think you have much to offer an employer. But as you think about summer jobs you had or volunteer work you performed, you may find you have a lot of transferable and soft skills that employers are looking for.
However, using the same resume for every job is a rookie mistake. Many employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen candidates quickly and efficiently. These bots look for keywords throughout your resume to see how well you match the position.
While you don’t want to stuff your resume full of meaningless keywords, you do want to tailor your resume for the position. So, start with your resume, then make sure you rewrite using keywords from the job posting to help demonstrate that you’re a good fit for the position.

6. Write a Compelling Cover Letter

The cover letter is your chance to stand out from other candidates by uniquely explaining why you want the job and what you’ll accomplish in it.
Start by highlighting your interests in the role, the company, and the field, then describe how your experience has developed throughout your education. Explain how you discovered this company and how you envision yourself as a meaningful part of the company’s team and culture.

7. Check Your Background

And we don’t mean your virtual background for a remote interview (although, you should do that too!).
Do a quick search on yourself to ensure there’s nothing online that could embarrass you or tank your chances of getting an interview. See what links or photos come up, triple-check your social media profiles, and edit or remove anything that looks like it could hurt your chances.

8. Apply Thoughtfully

When it comes to applying, less is often more. Though technology has made it easy to apply for a position with the click of a button, take the time to read through the job description and research the company to make sure it’s something you really want and are qualified for.
Is this job truly within your skill set? Can you see yourself enjoying a position at this company? If so, then definitely apply. If you have any doubts, consider skipping it. You’re better off continuing your search than wasting time on writing a unique cover letter and resume for a job that makes you say “meh.”

9. Keep Track

Make sure you log and track your job search. This includes where you applied and when any phone screens you have, and, yes, logging rejections.
Tracking your job search will help you know where everything stands. Who do you need to follow up with, and which position did you apply for? This way, when a hiring manager calls, you’ll know which company and which job they’re talking about. Likewise, keeping track of your job search can help you avoid missteps, like applying for multiple positions and the same company or—gasp—missing an interview.

10. Get Social

Connect with the company you’re interested in working with on social media. Follow its profiles and “like” recent updates. It can be a great way to network and get your foot in the door.
Plus, more companies are leaning into social media for recruiting and hiring, so having a professional profile and using it is likely to help your chances of landing a job!

The Next Big Step

The post-graduation job hunt can easily seem like an intimidating task. But you’ll learn valuable experience and gain new job searching skills with each passing day. This is the most exciting moment of your career because the entire journey is laid out in front of you.
This article originally appeared in FlexJobs. FlexJobs is the leading career service specializing in flexible work, providing the largest database of vetted remote and flexible job listings. To support job seekers in all phases of their journey, FlexJobs offers a range of services including expert advice, job search events, and career coaching. FlexJobs also works with leading companies to recruit quality remote talent and optimize their remote and flexible workplace.

What’s your no. 1 piece for beginning the job search after graduation? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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