Getting a job in general isn’t an easy task-and it’s even harder when you’re leaving college without a ton of experience.
You know how you have that one fear that pops up every now and then? Like when you are taking a shower or on public transportation?
This is mine.
Michelle from Take Care Package wrote an AMAZINGLY helpful post below on how to get a job after college-since, you know, I’m still in college and don’t know how to navigate that part yet. She’s great-make sure to go give her social media some love at the end of this post and check out her business!
Congratulations!! You’ve put in years of dedicated hard work to get that degree, and now you’ve finally secured it (or are close to doing so). Having that coveted designation will help your chances of getting a professional gig. But how do you actually get that job after you fist bump the dean at graduation?
I graduated in 2003 with a BS in Mathematics. Everyone told me how great that was because math can be challenging. I was too shy to teach, and I didn’t know what else to do with my degree. So I spent way too long working as a waitress before applying to jobs that could turn into my career.
A lot of people will be offering you advice on getting into the job market, so listen to it all and take away what you think is relevant to you. To pile onto those advice givers, here are my two cents on how to secure a solid job that I wish I had heard before jumping in. I hope this helps you to be efficient and successful!!
Create a Draft of Your Resume:
Job applications require that you submit a resume, so if you don’t have one already, this is a great first step. I recommend that you don’t go too deep in getting it completed in this phase. The goal here is to find a great resume template and to outline what you’ve done thus far.
Were you part of any groups or clubs in college? Did you volunteer? Work any jobs while getting your degree? Tutor? Babysit? Take note of it all, marking down the dates and designations. The descriptions can be filled out later.
Keep It Professional:
Is your email address at all like firstname.lastname@example.org? It might be funny to your friends, but is it resume worthy? If not, take this opportunity to sign up for a new email account. Something with your name is pretty professional. Changing your contact email now will make it easier to keep your contacts in one place.
Identify What You Want to Do:
I’m still trying to figure this out…! So I get how difficult this question can be. That is, if you’re over the age of 5.. Maybe you know exactly what company you want to work for, or which field you want to pursue. If so, that’s a great place to start! Look at job postings for those companies and see what catches your eye.
Even if you have zeroed in on a specific company, check out other opportunities, too. Look at Indeed.com, CareerBuilder.
As you go through, take note of the skills they’re asking for. Leadership? Attention to detail? Ability to play nicely with others? Make a note because you’ll want to highlight those skills in your resume, where applicable.
How flexible are you to move for the right job, both personally and financially? Are you locked into a lease, or do you rent a room from a friend? Ask what the impact would be if you were to move in a month.
If you are in a position to pick up & move at a moment’s notice, then don’t limit yourself on location in your search. Your dream company could be across the country. Do you have a friend who lives near the company you’re applying to? Ask them if you can use their address on your resume for that application so it doesn’t dismissed.
Just don’t be shady about where you live if you are lucky enough to score an interview. They need to know your situation for start dates, etc., and if you’re willing to fund the move yourself, then they should be cool with it.
Flesh Out That Resume:
Go back to your resume outline, where your accomplishments are noted. It’s time to brag in detail! What did you do that you can hang your hat on? Use the words that employers are asking for in job descriptions to tell your story.
Pat yourself on the back – being sure to be truthful.
Apply, Apply, Apply:
Have you ever signed up to a dating website? Yep, sure, me neither (wink, wink). Back when, umm, “a friend of mine” was on Match.com, it was pretty easy for…”her” to tell which guys were copying and pasting the same messages to love prospects. They showed some level of interest, but what were those copy-pasters’ intentions? It was hardly flattering.
Imagine that you’re the recruiter on the other end of the application. What can you say in your cover letter that lets them know they stand out? You’ve done the research on companies, so let them know why they caught your eye. Are you excited to work for a big company that focuses on training? Do you appreciate that they donate to a specific charity? Let them know.
What won’t work as well is: “Hey, company. I’m here. I’m special. I’m looking for a job. You’re welcome.” What about them? What would you want to hear?
The first job I got where I could apply my degree I got because I reached back out to the recruiter. I emailed her back a week later, letting her know that I was still very interested in the job. I then followed up with a call the next week. I became a person to her, not just a piece of paper. She read my resume while we were on the phone, said the job I applied to was closed, but she’d keep me in mind for other jobs. I got an interview in a month, and a job a few weeks following.
Going back to the dating analogy, you don’t want to look like you don’t care, though there is an important fine line between caring and stalking. Proceed thoughtfully!
Chances are, you have a friend who is also looking to start their career. Use each other to practice interviewing, asking common interview questions. Even if you have a great answer in your mind, it’s helpful to say it aloud in an interview type scenario.
Give truthful yet kind feedback to your friend, and ask for the same in return. That’s how you improve.
Own the Interview Basics:
Wear a suit. Show up on time, even if it means you leave a such a generous buffer and hang at the local Dunkin before. Shake hands firmly, but not aggressively. Make eye contact. Don’t swear. Sit up straight. You know, listen to the mom in your head.
Did you go to school to become the CEO of MAC? If so, I admire your ambition. Even if that’s your ultimate path, it will take time and work to get there. A foot in the door at the company is worth so much.
It’s okay to take a part time or super entry level job if it means you are working for a company you believe in, one where you can envision a career developing over time. As you work towards your ultimate job, treat your current job like it’s an interview. Keep up with the follow ups, show up on time and show an interest in the company. It’s a journey, a sometimes tedious one, just make sure you’re on the right road. Best wishes!
Hi! I’m Michelle, owner of Take Care Package, a company that emotionally connects people from a distance. With a background in math and finance, I worked in the energy industry for 9 years. I’m now a stay at home mom, enjoying dancing, making silly voices and napping with my 2 year old. Running Take Care Package is my dream, and we donate 10% of our profits to the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center to keep the smiles going. Connect with me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter!