Top 10 Tips for Job Searchers after College
Hey everyone. So I thought I'd write this blog post, since I spent this past year either job-hunting or being at a crappy job that I didn't like, so I really wish someone had told me these things and these are some tips I've learned. I recently landed a job, because of a combination of the following tips. It took over a year, and included time at a terrible position that I didn't like, but I finally got there. Here's a few tips.
1. Network! Network! Network!
The idea of networking always was something that made me cringe. Literally asking someone for a job? No thanks. But that is not what networking is at all.
However, I learned quickly that networking is indispensable! I got the job I'm at now without every having to fill out an application 100% due to networking.
This came around because of someone I met in a job search group. They mentioned they knew of someone in my field and gave me her card. I emailed her and asked her if she would give me some advice (biggest mistake grads make: you should never ask for a job on a networking/informational interview. You are there to learn and ask advice and if they know of anything, but do not ask for a job in their company). She met with me, it went great and I asked for more people I should chat with. She gave me a list, I messaged one on LinkedIn, met with her, asked her of any positions she knew of and that is how I got the job I have now. They weren't on the job sites promoting their job, she just knew they needed someone. This is what I've learned is called the "invisible job market". The best part, you usually have no competition (awesome right!). Because I met with people who had the exact same job title that I wanted to be, they all knew of places needing someone like me and it wasn't a shot in the dark.
2. Join Job Search Groups
One of the best things I did for myself (that most recent grads don't, believe me I was the only one there under 40) was join job search groups. Although you may feel like your at an AA meeting, job search support groups have so much knowledge, as many of the volunteers are either recruiters or have been doing it for a long time. People there are super nice and have decades of contacts and experience to help you out. I got one on one training from people and it was super helpful.
3. Become active on social media
For example, LinkedIn and Twitter. Both are great places to find people to network with as well as find jobs. It's also important to keep it updated and clean, as employers look there first.
If you like writing, start a blog. I literally wouldn't have gotten my job without being active on either.
4. Offer yourself up as a freelancer for very cheap or even free
This is in order to gain both experience and a portfolio. People love it when you offer them a service they need.
Make sure that if it becomes more work for less money than you think you are worth, talk to the people (don't get taken advantage of). You can always leave, as you aren't contracted and you are basically volunteering anyway, but make sure to leave on good terms so that you can add them as a reference.
5. Attend Job fairs/LinkedIn classes.
Every state/county has a job/workforce center. They offer classes there and lots of information about finding a job.
Check out job boards, like non-profit and others.
Word of advice-don't go on Craigslist. The job I got out of college I found on there and it was not good. It wasn't what it said it was and it was very high turnover.
6. Perfect Your Resume.
This is important. Have friends and family critique it. Find templates online. I ended up building mine from scratch on Adobe Illustrator so I could have full design control.
The most important is the top half. MAKE IT STAND OUT! Recruiters only spend between 5-10 seconds looking at a resume (this is a fact, I've heard it from multiple).
Make business cards that stand out as well.
If you can afford a gym membership I would do it, or go on a run outside. Watch some Blogilates on YouTube or get a Jillian Michaels DVD. You have time and you should use it to help get yourself in shape.
8. Read books/listen to podcasts
If you are going into a particular field, make sure you know as much as you can before the interview by reading books. If you aren't much of a reader, I highly recommend podcasts. I wrote a blog post about my favorite marketing podcasts, but there are so many options, look for some about career and job searching.
9. Get a certificate in something in your field.
There are many options beyond undergraduate degrees, and graduate degrees. Mini-MBAs, Certificates, you name it! If you don't feel fully qualified coming out of undergrad, those are options.
Check out sites like Lynda.com and Coursera which have free (check your local library for access to some) courses about everything under the sun.
Did I not mention that already? I'm truly a convert that networking really does work. Even with technology, nothing makes you stand out more than initiating a meeting with someone, impressing them with your awesome skills, and them trying to help you. Seriously, I was nervous to reach out at first, but people love to talk about themselves and people do want you to succeed.
Hope these tips helped. Let me know if this helped you out!