Job Search Tips for New Grads

by Marcianne Kuethen
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Finally, the outlook on jobs for new graduates is improving! If you’ve been worried that you’re doomed to work in a coffee shop in spite of your degree, cheer up, especially if your degree is in the STEM fields. According to the Wall Street Journal, the unemployment rate for young college graduates, which was more than 7% in 2010, was just 4.9% in September, and the income level for new grads with bachelor’s degrees has risen:

Bachelor’s degree holders earned a median $43,000 last year, an increase of more than $3,000 from the year before. That was the highest since 2003, showing that the job market for freshly minted graduates has nearly recovered to the best years on record. Incomes are rising even faster for college students in the best majors. The top 25% of young college graduates earn at least $60,000 a year.

Now that you’re armed with your degree, it’s time to start looking for a job…but where’s the best place to start?  Here are a few of our favorite tips to help you get started:

1. Treat your job search like it’s a job. Be prepared to get up every day and spend several hours combing job boards, researching companies, filling out applications, and networking (more on that below).

2. Build and clean up your online presence. To enable employers to find you, start a LinkedIn account and begin connecting with people in your targeted field, particularly friends and alumni from your college. Review your Facebook or other social media accounts from the perspective of an employer, and remove anything unprofessional or negative–employers do like to check out what you’re really like! In her 10 tips for how to be a must-hire entry-level candidate, Laura McMullen also recommends creating a personal website to educate prospective employers about all you have to offer.

3. Take advantage of your college’s career and placement services. If you haven’t yet stopped in for career counseling, these professionals offer everything from resume writing and practice interviews to opportunities to connect with employers in your field of study.

4. Write a great resume. Your career services center can help you with this, or you can find an online example. Be sure to include any professional and volunteer experience you’ve had that will show what you’re capable of doing. If you did an internship, you may be more prepared than you realize!

5. Conduct practice interviews. Get a friend or family member to practice interviewing you. McMullen advises taking video of your practice interviews with your phone. Hearing yourself talk and watching your body language will clearly show you areas where you need to improve. The practice of answering and asking good questions will also help you feel less self-conscious and sound more natural.

6. Get out there and network! You’ve probably heard that 85% of jobs are filled by referrals from someone the candidate knew. In order to be referred, you’ll need to get up from your computer and start making actual friends.  McMullen suggests attending meet-ups with young professionals, volunteering, job shadowing, and meeting with family friends who are professionals in fields related to your career. For another idea on how to get a referral, read this post by Nick Corcodilos of PBS.org.

Now, as a new grad, you can look forward to a better paying job. But it won’t just fall into your lap! With these job search tips for new grads, you can start preparing to land the opportunity you’ve already worked so hard to earn.

Candidates, do we have the most current version of your resume? If not, click here to post it, and visit our job board while you’re at it! You or a friend might be a good fit for one of our open positions.

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