When you graduate from college, the next thing on your agenda is often to get your first job. The job market is fairly strong right now and employers are looking for top talent and often having a hard time finding it. That puts you, as a job-seeker, in a good position in many instances, particularly depending on what you studied while in school. Of course, when you graduate, it’s not necessarily just about finding employment. You may want something that’s fulfilling, in line with what you studied and is going to allow you to support yourself.
The following are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to finding a job directly after college, which can be overwhelming, to say the least.
Use School Resources
It’s tough to network when you’re just starting out in your career, but one of the best ways to make it happen is by using resources available through your college. For example, you can use alumni volunteer lists that will be available through your college’s career office or alumni association. Your college might also host networking events, and you can specifically ask the alumni office who they might be able to put you in touch with.
Another way to network even if you’re still currently in school is to join a professional group. Try to find a group that’s as specific to your desired field as possible. Many professional groups will let you join as a student member if you haven’t graduated yet, and a lot of colleges offer national association chapters.
Connect with Companies You’d Like to Work For
If there are particular companies you have in mind that you would like to work for, start doing the legwork before you graduate or as soon as you graduate. You can check to see if there are any alumni from your school who work at the companies you’re targeting. You can also check and see if they offer any current opportunities for students so you can start building relationships early.
There is sometimes the feeling among new graduates that they’ll take any job they can get, but this makes the job search much more overwhelming than it needs to be. Rather than going at it haphazardly, create a plan and a strategy. Along with targeting particular companies, be clear on what your goals are and how you need to achieve them. The more you can strategize with your job search, the more likely you are to meet your goals.
Consider the Location
When you’re searching for a job right out of school, you might have a particular place in mind where you want to live, but sometimes by starting with where you want to live first, you can really limit yourself. There are cities and towns across the country that have great job markets and low costs of living, but they might not be on your radar. Raleigh, NC is a good example—they see good job growth and a lot of opportunities, and North Carolina is a state with a competitive cost of living. Think outside the box when it comes to the location where you want to work.
Create a Website
This isn’t new advice, but a lot of job seekers still don’t follow it—before you start your job search create a blog or website for yourself. You should buy a domain, and if possible, have that domain be your name. Use this site as a portfolio or a way to showcase what you have to offer. This may be a way some employers find you, or it could be something you can easily direct them to, to learn more about you.
Find a Mentor
A mentor is someone who is doing what you ideally want to do, and connecting with a mentor early on in your job search can be extremely helpful. A mentor can help you better identify what your career path might look like, and they may also be able to help you with networking. If you can’t find a network through your school, think about heading to social media. This gives you a wider pool of people to connect with. The sooner you can start your job search, the better. If at all possible don’t wait until you graduate—start six months or more before your anticipated graduation to provide yourself with more flexibility and more opportunities and to avoid just taking the first thing to come along.
For more great career tips, check out the other blogs on Career Geek.