How to Find a Job After Graduating From University

How to Find a Job After Graduating From University

Graduating from college is an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience. You’ve just gone through four years of education and finally have the skills to get a great, high-paying job in your field.

Unfortunately, those expectations don’t match up with reality. Only 46% of college graduates work in their field of study, and most graduates make $55,260 a year on average in their first post-graduation job. It’s clear that students overestimate the value of their college degrees.

harsh reality of graduating from college
The harsh reality of graduating from college. Image Source: @tranquilrabbit on Twitter

Does that mean that a degree is useless? Not at all! According to Statista, bachelor’s degree holders have a 5% unemployment rate, but high school graduates have a 9% unemployment rate. Employers still value bachelor’s degrees, even in positions that don’t require them.

Employers look for more than just education when sourcing candidates.

While they often go overboard with their expectations (aka, entry-level jobs that require experience), it’s important that your employers know whether you can do the job based on your skills and achievements.

If you’re having a hard time catching the attention of recruiters and interviewers, you’ll need to change how you approach the job search and learn to stick with it as rejection letters pile in.

How to Land a Great Job Post-Graduation

Finding a job that relates to your educational background and that you’re passionate about isn’t easy. However, you can use the following tips to land an incredible job or career after university.

Apply to the Right Platforms

College graduates often come across employers that have impossibly high standards.

you cant compete with candidates that dont exist!
You can’t compete with candidates that don’t exist! – Image Source: @Sinister_Arushi on Twitter, @DlalaChampion on Twitter

While these situations can be hilarious, they’re also frustrating for candidates that need a job they otherwise would be qualified for if employers knew how to acquire talent.

Fortunately, there are plenty of sites that can help you search for entry-level jobs that actually mean “entry-level.”

For example, lensa.com uses sophisticated AI technology to match your resume to relevant employers, making your job search less stressful. Their team can also assess your resume, strengths, skills, and career path to help you promote yourself in the best light possible.

Research your Potential Career Paths

You’ve likely done a lot of research to prepare you for your new role, but your wants and needs often change in college.

If you didn’t apply for an internship while in college or you don’t have a network you can pull from, you may need to work your way up to the position you want.

exposure only works if you are a gainful employer
Exposure only works if you’re a gainful employer. Image Source: @zara_fayaz on Twitter

Caption:

With that said, here are some ways you can flex your research skills:

  • Search for jobs by degree, such as “types of jobs with marketing degrees.”
  • Explore multiple career paths, as you may find a role you weren’t considering.
  • Look through job postings to see if you have the skills and experience for these roles.
  • Research the company’s average salary, company culture, and employee reviews.

If you’re unable to find a role, you want to pursue, speak to an expert or build your network. Most colleges have counselors that can help you find jobs in your field or place you. Attend job fairs, visit networking events, and speak to your alumni network to connect to mentors.

Review Your Resume

If you’re applying for your first job out of college or in a position you have little to no experience in, you’ll have to write your resume from scratch using the following best practices:

  • Keep your resume clear and concise, as recruiters take 30 seconds to skim articles.
  • Proofread your resume and check your contact information and social media links.
  • Make your resume one page (if possible), but don’t make it longer than 2 pages.
  • Use relevant keywords (found in the job post) and action verbs to bypass ATS software.
  • Include unpaid work, like internships and volunteer work, to fill out your resume.

There are also common resume practices that may be steering recruiters away. One example is imputing white text in your PDF resume to trick ATS software.

However, recruiters are aware of this trick and will often check for white text, and ATS software can scan PDF resumes just fine.

resume donts
Don’t do this

Here are some other things you should never do while writing a resume:

  • Don’t use an inappropriate email address, add a picture, or include unnecessary info.
  • Don’t use “my,” “I,” or “we” when referring to yourself. Only use third-person pronouns.
  • Don’t make general statements. Use statistics or numbers to add value to your skills.
  • Don’t include hobbies and interests if they don’t have anything to do with your job.
  • Don’t include references or state why you left your previous job (but use the cover letter).

It’s a very bad idea to submit a general resume. You should always adjust your resume and cover letter so it fits the job you want to apply for. Otherwise, you may be overlooked for jobs.

Set Up a LinkedIn Profile

Let’s face it, we all spend far too much time on social media. Instead of using that time to mindlessly scroll, find a way to curate your social media accounts for your job search.

Nowadays, employers will look through your social media accounts to check for red flags. Before you start sending out resumes, delete any posts, photographs, comments, or re-shares your employers may find inappropriate, and enhance your accounts by showcasing your talents.

While your social media profile will take center stage, your employer may check your network, as well. You should get more involved with your industry by building relevant connections.

Make sure you’re on the big three websites: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (or TikTok, depending on your age and industry). If you don’t have an active profile on one of these websites (or the profile is private), your employer may think you have something to hide.

Above all else: set up a LinkedIn profile. Not only are candidates expected to have one, but they also need to optimize their profiles for the purpose of career expansion and network building.

Here’s a great video by Professor Heather Austin that explains how to build a LinkedIn profile:

How To Build A LinkedIn Profile – GREAT LinkedIn Profile Example

This video perfectly summarizes the 6 steps you need to build a professional LinkedIn profile, and this advice can apply to new graduates and career veterans alike.

Prepare For Your Interview

While your resume may land you an interview, it won’t guarantee a job. On average, it takes candidates 10-20 applications to get one interview and 10-15 interviews before they get a job offer. You really need to make your interview count if you have any chance of getting a callback.

Here’s how post-graduate candidates can prepare for their interview:

  • Practice answering common interview questions, like “Tell me about yourself.”
  • Look up role-specific interview questions and study for test assessments.
  • Pick a professional interview outfit that makes you feel like a rockstar.
  • Check your body language in the mirror. Practice maintaining eye contact and sitting up.
  • Plan your route to the interview or check for technical issues before a video interview.

When answering interview questions, be as honest as possible. Employers prefer to hire candidates that can present their value in a calm, joyful matter or in a playful way.

A calm tone can make you appear more humble, especially when discussing your biggest accomplishments.

why want job I need money
True, but that’s also too honest! – Image Source: @Playing_Dad on Twitter

When your interviewer asks, “do you have any questions?” be sure to have three to five prepared. By asking your interviewer questions, you’re showing you’re interested in the position.

Once you leave the room, send a thank you note to the hiring manager, send any supporting documents, and contact your references.

Even if the interview went well, you should never wait for an employer to contact you. Continue your job search until you get hired at a company.

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