Job-Hunting Tips for New Online Graduates
If you’re a new graduate—or soon to be one—you’re probably stressed about the job market. And there’s good reason to be. New graduates are facing the toughest job market in years. If you’re staring down the barrel of your graduation, get ready for a long and grueling job search. Here are a few tips for new graduates in their upcoming job searches.
Non-traditional students may have an edge
If you have prior job experience, highlight it. Identify your transferable skills if you’re switching careers or industries. If you’re coming from a more traditional background, highlight your experience in internships, summer jobs, and work-study programs in your field. Any experience in the field at all will set you ahead of those who are just graduating with no job experience.
It’s never too early to start searching
It’s a good idea to start thinking about your job search well before you graduate. Getting a head start on your job search could mean you get the hang of it and start having job offers coming in right around the time you graduate. Keep an eye out for companies that are committed to employee development—and that are likely to promote you from within.
Rely on your networking connections as much as possible—because a personal connection is much more likely to get you a job than an impersonal response to a job posting.
Know your priorities
Are you more interested in high pay or work-life balance? Bear in mind that at an entry level, you’re probably not likely to get either of these things—but you can choose companies where it’s likely you can negotiate them as you advance. Does location matter to you more than pay? What about benefits? Comparing job opportunities isn’t just about weighing your salary. You’ll have to look at vacation time, work-life balance, location, and a range of other factors as well—and it could turn out that the lower-paying jobs actually provide you with more of what you want.
Target your job search
Don’t cast too wide a net. The more broad your resume is, the more you’ll have a hard time landing a job—because you’ll be competing with people who specialize, and the company will always hire the person who looks like they’re the most specialized in the position they want to fill. If necessary, write several different resumes highlighting different aspects of your skills and experience for different positions and industries.
Especially in a down economy, networking with who you know is likely to get you the job. Make a list of the people you know—friends, family, friends’ parents, friends of friends—and list how they might be able to help you. Talk to as many people who work in the field as you can. Working the online job postings is a good idea—but if you limit your job search to what you can do online, you are going to severely limit your options.
Consider moving back in with your parents
This probably isn’t the type of advice you want to hear. But for many new college graduates, moving in with parents makes the most financial sense—especially when your student loan and health insurance bills come due and you still haven’t found a job. If you’re lucky enough to have parents who are able and willing to help you while you look for a job—and you don’t already own your own home or rent as a nontraditional student—then living with parents could be a better and more stable choice than finding your own apartment right away. And if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of freeloading on your parents, consider taking on a large share of chores while you’re at home or negotiating sharing utility and grocery costs.
Take what you can get
In a recession, you can’t be too picky—and it’s often best to take a job that isn’t in your interests while you wait for a better opportunity to come along.
Finding a new job isn’t easy even in a great economy. In a difficult job market, however, you’ll need to be much more focused in your resume on the specific job you’re going for—write different resumes for different industries if you need to. Rely on your networking connections as much as possible—because a personal connection is much more likely to get you a job than an impersonal response to a job posting. Hopefully, with some persistence and planning, you won’t have to wait too long to land a good job after college.
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