Are you starting to think about what’s coming next after your college graduation?
Your last year in college can be a busy one. You may be squeezing in those last-minute course credits, finishing up a senior project or thesis, and starting to comprehend the great beyond of a post-grad life.
On top of all of this, you may be visiting career fairs or chatting with friends about your future jobs.
While all of this can be overwhelming, it is definitely possible to graduate college and get hired for a position you love.
As long as you stay organized, focused, and motivated, you’ll be sailing through those job interviews like a pro!
Read on for our tips on how to get hired right out of college so you can land on your feet in the working world.
1. Spend a Lot of Time With Your Resume
A lot of students think that resumes are overrated. Isn’t it all about the interview, after all?
Certainly, employers will take great stock in interviews. Nothing beats engaging with an individual face-to-face, especially when it comes to assessing that person’s employability.
But it’s important not to take interviews for granted. What’s more, the job market is not like job markets in college. It can be easy to get a work study job or a local shift at a cafe.
But when it comes to the big world of employment, job positions are competitive. You’ll have just a few tools to rely on in order to set yourself apart from the crowd.
In order to get hired once you graduate, or even before you graduate, spend some serious time with your resume.
Incorporate the Right Content to Get Hired
It’s important to include the right content in your resume and to discard any content that an employer won’t find useful.
In general, you’ll want to highlight experience you’ve had that’s relevant to the role you are applying for. This may mean internships, work-study programs, and any other employment you’ve held in the last four years.
You’ll also want to include relevant volunteer or non-paid work. Internships may fall under this category.
Your education should go on there too, as well as any information about study abroad or exchange programs. If you wish, you may want to include relevant coursework that you’ve completed.
Lastly, make sure you identify marketable skills and honors. These include technical proficiencies, languages spoken, and fellowships/awards earned.
It is absolutely essential to tailor every single resume to the jobs you’re applying for. Employers will turn away “shot-gun” resumes–applications that post-grads are just firing off at will–at a glance.
So, if you’re applying for an editing position, you’ll want to incorporate all relevant experience you’ve had in the publishing, editing, or writing world. Leave out anything that doesn’t remotely apply.
Consult an Advisor
Many colleges have career offices or centers that will provide advice to students on how to format a resume. Sign up for an appointment so that you can make sure your resume follows the best format.
If you don’t have this option, research examples of competitive resumes online. In general, you can be flexible with your formatting, but you want to organize your resume professionally.
Try to keep your resume to one page. Make it easy to skim. Many employers will spend less than a minute glancing through resumes and CVs.
Save your resume in an easily transferrable file, such as a PDF.
2. Get Familiar With Job Listing Sites
Start getting a feel for job listing sites once you’ve polished up your resume. Some of the best job sites out there include Indeed, Monster, GlassDoor, and LinkedIn.
Set up profiles on all of these sites and upload your resume so that employers also have the option of finding you. Get familiar with searches and what employers ask for as part of your application.
Start saving jobs that jump out at you in the industries you prefer. But also get comfortable expanding your horizons a little bit.
For example, if you’re keen on a science writing job, don’t search just for science writing gigs. Search for organizations, by location, and industry-wide.
It’s key to use several job listing sites at once so that you can give yourself the largest window into potential industries.
3. Make the Most of Alumni Networks
Many students don’t realize the immense power of alumni networks. There are recent grads ready to help you get a leg up in the working world–all you have to do is access the network.
Many universities and colleges use an online portal to connect alumni. There may also be alumni gatherings or talks at certain points during your senior year.
Join as many of these groups and networks as possible. Start conversations now with alumni who are working in positions you desire. Ask what advice they have for you.
If you are in the same area, request a meeting in person to chat with alumni about their career experiences.
To get hired right out of college, it’s important to build an effective network–and to work on your networking skills if you aren’t quite there yet!
4. Consult a Guidance or Career Counselor
if all of this is making your head spin, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Seek out a guidance counselor, mentor, or career guide through your university’s career office.
These counselors are here to help you navigate the alumni network, craft your resume, and get a head start in the industry of your choice. At the very least, they can give you the footing you need to start that first job search.
Make an appointment today so that you can feel confident at every step of the “get hired” process.
5. Follow Up With Prior Employers
If you’ve held a few jobs while attending college, reach out to these employers for recommendations. The same goes for any internships or work-study positions you’ve held.
These employers can refer you to open positions they know about, or help you get hired in a certain industry. They also can provide valuable guidance throughout the hiring process.
You may be surprised at your employers’ connections, too. They may be able to nudge you in a direction you didn’t expect.
6. Establish References
Most employers will want a list of references with any application. References are contacts the employer can reach out to in order to assess your character, past work, and/or eligibility.
It’s important to include at least two or three references with every resume. Definitely list the contact information for prior employers, program coordinators, or advisors.
You can also include professors, but only those who are truly familiar with your work outside of the classroom.
Avoid listing family members or close friends as references. Employers won’t be interested in these because they’ll want to know if you’re a good fit for a position.
7. Brush Up on Interview and Cover Letter Skills
While you’re honing your resume, also spend some time brushing up on your other pre-employment skills.
These include interview skills and cover letter writing.
Neither may sound that interesting to you. However, the more prepared you can be before you get a call from a potential employer, the higher your likelihood is of getting hired.
Come up with a set of possible interview questions yourself before you get an interview offer, and practice your responses to them.
As a friend to be a pretend employer and practice your interview responses with him/her. Think outside of the box when you come up with questions so that you can practice delivering more challenging answers.
It’s also important to get comfortable with writing a cover letter. Because job selection processes are becoming more competitive, your cover letter is one more tool to sharpen for your application.
Cover letters should be one page, concise, and informative. They should state why you’re a good fit for a position and briefly cite relevant experience.
On most job sites, it’s optional to send a cover letter with an application. We highly recommend sending a cover letter, as this is just one more chance for you to make a case for your hiring.
Career offices can also advise you in writing cover letters. You may also want to chat with family members or friends for advice on cover letter drafts.
Do tailor your cover letters for each employer. Once again, employers are less likely to respond well to a cover letter that seems too generic!
8. Get Hired by Staying On Top Of Your Research
Employers are eager to hire applicants who are well-versed in the industry or at least can demonstrate that they can become so.
As a college student, you’ve acquired a bunch of solid researching skills, no matter what your major is. Now’s your chance to put these skills to work and get hired.
As you are job searching, stay on top of your industry research. Keep up with current trends and emerging technologies. Employers will appreciate your foundational knowledge of the field.
What’s more, this research can give you excellent material for interviews. Employers always give you a chance to ask questions at the end of an interview, and it’s helpful to have a few in the queue before you meet.
Plus, through your research, you’ll get to learn more about whether or not you want to get hired in a certain field.
9. Talk To People Already There
The job search process gives you a valuable opportunity to think about the career you really want to start.
You don’t have to get hired and stay in that field forever. View this first job as a chance to explore a potential career interest and hone your knowledge of an industry.
A great way to get your foot in the door is to have an informational interview. These are interviews offered by people who are already there–hired professionals in your field. In this interview, you can ask all sorts of questions about the industry and position.
What’s more, sometimes your interviewer will give you advice you can use to get hired faster.
10. Be Realistic and Stay Calm
At the end of the day, it can be intimidating finding your first job out of college. This is especially the case if you want to get hired immediately.
It’s important to stay calm and be realistic throughout the entire job process. Understand that the job market is competitive, and college students may not have as much experience as others in the field.
What’s more, you are still a solid candidate. Don’t let rejections convince you otherwise.
Bonus Tip: Turn to Boonle to Get Hired
At Boonle, we understand how difficult it can be to build a competitive resume while in college. It can be intimidating plunging into the job market once you leave the classroom.
This is especially the case if you’re a part of the creative industry and/or passionate about design work.
Luckily, we’re your creative resource for getting paid while in college, as well as an excellent means to establish the portfolio you need to get hired when you graduate.
We bring design work to you from chosen clients, so that you can work on projects, get paid for them, fatten your portfolio, and acquire leads into the industry. You can operate on your own schedule, keep up to 70% of your earnings, and get paid for what you love–all while you’re finishing up those course credits.
Learn more about what we offer students here.
How To Get Hired Out of College
There’s no easy way to get hired following graduation. It does take time, effort, and foresight. But the good news is that the process doesn’t have to feel confusing or formidable.
Get started by spending some serious time honing your resume, cover letter writing skills, and interview responses. Consult career counselors through your university for guidance throughout.
You’ll also want to take full advantage of alumni networks and the advice of prior employers. Stay on top of your industry research and see if you can set up an informational interview.
If you liked what we said about Boonle in this post, learn more about how our service works for students.
At the very least, check out the projects that you could be working on this semester so that you can get hired easily when you graduate!