As part of my monthly series on career preparation to be done during college, I am going to talk about finding work for after college. I have talked about making a decision of what to do after graduation as well as preparing a resume and other topics that build up to this.
Today, I am going to talk about figuring out what you want in a job as well as how to find those dream jobs and apply. I cannot yet explain how to get those jobs; that will be a topic for another day. Here are my tips for the post-college job hunt.
1. Assess Your Interests.
You are not always going to be stuck with a job in the field of your college major. I will graduate with a degree in music, but I don’t plan on establishing a music career. So, think about your interests, both in and outside of your major. What would you enjoy doing? What would you really dread? Thinking about what you want to do everyday is an important step so that you don’t waste time looking for jobs that you won’t enjoy.
2. Start Job Searching Early.
Even if you don’t graduate for a few months (or more!), don’t wait to look for jobs. You don’t have to start applying right away, but searching for jobs early on gives you a good idea of what to expect. If you are interested in a more niche industry, searching for jobs before planning to apply can give you information on what is even available. It will also make you more realistic in your search if you know what results you will find.
You can start with a broad search on Google or you could start with online job boards. There are general websites such as Indeed or Monster, or you can find job boards in your niche. If you want to be a freelance writer, the Problogger job board is great. You can also join a professional organization in your niche for use of their job board.
3.Prepare Your Resume.
Now that you have seen some examples of available jobs, it’s time to read those job descriptions so that you can make your resume as close to perfect as possible. One of the most important resume-related tips when it comes to job searching is tailoring your resume to each job application.
What I have personally done, is created a few basic resumes for different types of jobs, such as writing or social media. I also add the date so I know when they were updated. This method makes it super easy to apply, because you already have a resume that is suited for a particular job. You may not have a social media or writing resume, but think of the different jobs you might apply for and write your resume with those jobs in mind.
4. Work While You are in College.
If at all possible, try to find a job or internship for your last semester or year of college that is related to what you want to do after graduating. I am an opinion writer for my school’s paper, which yes I do get paid for, but either way, it is experience for me to put on my resume. Working when you are in college also means more money in your account for when you graduate and you also get a feeling of what it’s really like to work in your industry of interest.
You can work on campus or off, or you can even find a job online in some cases. Working and saving some money during your last bit of college is also a great thing to do if you want a break between full time student and full time employee. If you don’t have to worry as much about earning money right after you graduate, you can focus on spending some time with friends and family before you commit yourself to a full time career.
5. Make Industry Connections.
Whether those connections are with professors, classmates or people you meet online, connections are incredibly valuable when you go to search for a job. I love using Facebook groups to connect with other bloggers and writers all over the world. You can use these groups as job resources, too.
Also, don’t hesitate to find groups on Facebook for your industry and participate! This is especially important if you aren’t going into the field of your college major. Ask and answer questions regularly. Follow influencers in your niche for industry news. Educate yourself so that you can become an influencer in your own right.
6. Apply, but Be Selective.
Now comes the time to apply for jobs after college. This step usually happens a few months before you are able to work full time. For some this may mean a few months before graduation, for others this might mean around graduation, if you choose to take some time off.
When you do apply, don’t just apply to every job you qualify for. Think back to the jobs that looked most appealing to you, and apply to those. If you know you wouldn’t enjoy working in retail, don’t apply for retail jobs. Also, don’t be afraid to apply for jobs where you don’t fit all of the qualifications. If you fit most of the requirements, use your cover letter and resume to sell yourself. Talk about how you could learn those remaining skills quickly or how you have learned similar skills without actually earning a required degree. If you are truly interested in a job, that will show in your cover letter, so be bold.
Have you started applying for jobs for after college? What have been your biggest struggles? Any tips I missed? Comment below!
Thanks for reading!