Navigating a Job Search for Recent Graduates

Did you know that about two-thirds of students find it difficult to get a job after they graduate? That can be a discouraging statistic for the recent graduates out there.

After all, you just went through years of intensive studying, exam-taking, and internships. That means you expect to find a job soon after you walk off that stage, diploma in hand.

Many colleges don’t do enough to teach recent graduates how to prepare for a job search, leaving their former students unsure of how to manage a job search and get interviews. Does this sound like you? If so, keep reading our informative guide on job hunting for graduates. 

Research Possible Career Paths Before Job Hunting

The first thing you want to do is research career paths. One big mistake a college grad can make is applying to any entry-level job they can find out of desperation for employment.

When you do this, your stress levels can go through the roof, hoping for any one of those employers to contact you. But what happens when it is the wrong employer giving you a call?

Some people apply to jobs they don't really want, which will lead to dissatisfaction down the road. Keep in mind that you earned your degree for a reason.

So, sit down and figure out all the relevant job opportunities available to you before you start sending in those applications. Researching possible career paths that are aligned with your area of study and passions will set your career up for success.

Research Employers

Once you have your list of desired career paths, it is time to research employers. Head over to your preferred web browser and type in the name of your job position or description.

The internet will likely pull up a few basic searches in your area. Take your time to thoroughly investigate each employer's website. Try to figure out what interests you the most about the company.

After that, you can also look the companies up on review sites like Glassdoor or Angie's List. Glassdoor is best because it allows current, past, and potential employees to comment on their experience with a specific employer.

You can find out how much they pay, how they treat their employees, and about the interview process. Some people even post questions they get asked about in their interviews. That way, you can better prepare if you do end up applying and being asked to interview. 

Find Where You Fit 

Again, don't apply to any job. Coming fresh out of college means working from the bottom to the top.

Yes, it is a dream to start in an executive-level position. But, that might not happen right away. Be realistic about where you fit in.

When you look at job positions, think about:

  • If you have the skills to do everything the job requires 
  • Whether you can work the desired job hours 
  • Whether you can make the commute
  • If you have the appropriate amount of work experience

There are several parts of a job description you must analyze. Along with those mentioned above, be sure to apply to entry-level and possibly even associate positions. That way, you get your foot in the door and can rise through the ranks once you begin work. 

Find Your Preferred Career Website

Now, you want to use a few different job websites and job trackers. There are plenty out there like LinkedIn, Indeed, Ziprecruiter. Once you decide on one or more of these websites, be sure to optimize your personal and professional brand.

Update your LinkedIn profile with a current headshot, your work/internship experience, and education. Write a short bio about yourself, and set your profile to “Open to work.” 

Other things to update may include your email address. That means you must have an email address that makes you sound professional. Many people make the mistake of giving emails with strange words or a lot of numbers. For employers, it is best if you have an email with your full name or initials. 

On other social media sites, you may want to change your privacy settings to “friends only.” If you have any unprofessional photos, this could affect your chances of getting a job.

Create an Outstanding Resume 

After you have your personal and professional brand updated, it’s time to work on your resume. Many job board sites allow you to upload your resume. Some sites, like Indeed, will let you create one right on their website.

You should also plan to compose a word document to submit to job listings as well. There are key attributes that people look for on resumes, especially students'.

To start, list your job experience from the most recent to the oldest. That way, the employer can see what you currently do for work.

Make sure to include any work-study programs or internships you did during college. Any relevant experience you can include will help your application get noticed.

You’ll also want to include any technical skills you may have learned in college, such as coding languages.

You also want to list anything that lets potential employers know that: 

  • You can work on a team 
  • You are a strong leader
  • You are ethical
  • You take directions well
  • You have organizational skills
  • You can multi-task 
  • You pay attention to detail
  • You have strong communication skills
  • You can prioritize tasks

All of these “soft-skills” will help you get an interview because the hiring manager will be able to see that your skills are well-rounded. If you want to stand out, it's best to tailor your work experience to the particular role you're applying for. Teal's free resume builder will help you do just that.

Use Advanced Filtering

Many websites have advanced filtering options. These allow you to hone your search to exactly what you are looking for.

That way, you don't cast too wide of a net of job listings. Go ahead and type in the keywords relating to the job you want. Then, adjust the settings to pull up listings in a specific area, salary, or whether you want full or part-time. 

Watch Out for Scams 

If it sounds too good to be true, that might be the case. Scammers post on job websites, and many of them target students hungry for work.

If a listing doesn't sound right, visit the company's website. If they don't provide you with a website link, that is a red flag.

Scams also boast high salaries and the promise to work from home with short hours. Be careful where you submit personal information and always research a company before applying.

Organize Your Job Search to Save Time

There are multiple ways to organize your job search, but the most effective way is to use a Job Tracker. Teal's Job Tracker is a 100% free, online tool that uses a Chrome Extension to save jobs from across job boards to one central location. You can see all of your saved jobs with their job descriptions, locations, and more. You can even see if the job posting is still online.

The Job Tracker also highlights the most important keywords from each job description so you can quickly tell if the job is a good fit for your skills. You can also add the highlighted words to your resume so your application stands out.

Once you’ve applied, you can stay on track with follow-up reminders as you move the job through each stage until you’ve finally received an offer.

More Tips on Job Search for Recent Graduates 

As you can tell, there are several ways to enhance a job search for recent graduates and increase your chances of landing a great job after you graduate. Don't forget to cast a wider net by using multiple job boards, not just LinkedIn.

Plus, you always want to have your resume up-to-date and highlighting the best attributes about you! If you need a little extra help, Teal's Job Tracker is here to help!

We offer a productive job search, help you identify keywords for your resume, and let you create and store notes for jobs. If you want to start yourself on the career path of your dreams, we urge you to get started for free today!

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Dave Fano

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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