Landing your first job after graduating can be one of the most thrilling experiences you can have. After all, the years you have spent in the classroom have to amount to something – don’t they?
What many college students don’t realize is the fact that the job market and the corporate world work very differently than what they are used to. The academic system is often not enough to prepare someone for what’s coming afterwards, and getting a first job right out of college can prove more difficult than it should be.
Having a dream job is important – it’s the reason you have studied graphic design, engineering or architecture in the first place. But how good are you in that field? Employers are far less likely to hire a graduate with mild or uninspiring portfolio and resume that simply doesn’t cut it.
It’s important to manage your expectations going into job hunting. What are you good at and what would you actually like to do? Chances are that there is something out there tailored especially for you, but it’s up to no one else to find it for you.
Set realistic goals
Setting goals for your future job can be a frightening thing to do. How much money do you expect to make and how much do you really need in order to survive the month?
The harsh reality of the post-graduation world is that people need to work in order to eat and have a roof over their heads. It’s one of the many reasons that people work arbitrary jobs just to support their families. Don’t go into job hunting with your head in the clouds. Look at your current financial and living situation and then decide what to do next.
Find your passion
It’s never too late to find your passion, no matter how old you are. The same applies for graduates who are unsure if their majors are what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and think about what skills are needed in the job market.
Your local area might just provide you with the perfect opportunity to take up a new skill or a hobby and start working in some unexplored industry that you don’t know anything about yet but feel passionate about. Don’t settle for working a job that you don’t like just because it’s the logical thing to do after your graduation.
Resume and cover letter
The most exciting and stressful part of college graduation is writing your first resume and cover letter. Finding a job and getting hired will take some effort because most college courses are not made with job seeking in mind – students are simply not equipped or skilled enough to write an appropriate resume once they have graduated.
Listing all of your skills and experiences in the resume chronologically, going backwards is a good idea for the start. The cover letter should represent your personal ambition and explain why you are applying for that position specifically.
While some students opt for using the number one professional expert executive resume preparation service, others prefer to do everything by themselves with varying success. Always ask for a second opinion when writing your first resume and cover letter in order to avoid any unpleasantness down the line.
Start being professional
No one wants to hire a child to do an adult’s work. That is why college students sometimes have a hard time adjusting to the mood and professional nature of the job market.
Employers and interviewers are often older adults who have long forgotten their own college days. As such, they sometimes have very little tolerance for humor and casual behavior. This often leads to not getting hired should the candidate act that way.
Make sure that you are as professional as possible when going into your first job interview. Acting like a responsible adult who wants to work and make their own money will always be more attractive to employers than someone who acts in a casual, brash way that suits college juniors more than anyone else.
Don’t stop applying
The secret of getting ahead is getting started, but it’s also the secret behind succeeding in what you are doing. Don’t stop applying for jobs and positions that you like just because some of them have turned you down. You don’t have to be invited to five job interviews from the nine applications you have submitted – two or three will be just enough to do the job.
Arm yourself with patience and energy when it comes to looking for your first job. It’s not easy convincing an employer to trust you with their work since you are a fresh graduate with very little experience. The right employer is out there waiting for you to contact them.
In the end
Even though you may not have graduated yet, the job seeking adventure of a lifetime is waiting for you. Most people decide whether or not their dream careers are worth the effort as soon as they start getting their first paychecks.
Sometimes having a steady income is more important than chasing the stars without any indication of where you will land. Don’t settle for anything less than you are worth but don’t be stubborn about it either. Find a perfect balance between work and personal satisfaction and you will know that you found the job you have been looking for.