The Onion recently published a satirical article that featured a 2014 graduate preparing for his 14-month post-grad job search.
The piece highlighted how the graduate will spend his time after college “scouring online job listings, endlessly revising a resume no one will ever look at, and submitting 10 to 20 job applications every day to which he will never receive a single reply, positive or negative.”
Obviously, this graduate has it wrong. All wrong.
And he isn’t alone. Many grads will choose this same path… and see the same level of frustration. You can be different. You must know you will find a job after college. You just need to take the steps necessary to kickstart your job search.
With that goal in mind, we present these 12 post-graduation career hacks:
1. Take a Professional Writing Course
In your first job, you’ll need to show your boss you can write more than a term paper. He or she will expect you to write professional emails and various documents. If you feel like your writing skills are rusty, take an online writing or copy editing class to help you strengthen your skills.
2. Take a Theater Class
Believe it or not, theater can help prepare you for job interviews. Consider attending one of your college’s theater improv club meetings or enrolling in a drama class. The idea is to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and get comfortable thinking on the spot.
3. Evaluate Your Image
Take a moment to look at yourself from the outside in. Observe your personality, habits, appearance, and work ethic. Do you like what you see? Are you the person you want people to see? If you’re happy with the person you view in the mirror, great! But if you’re not happy with the person you are, take some steps to improve your image. This will help you become the young professional you aspire to be after graduation.
4. Get Connected
Research shows one in six job seekers attribute their job search success to social media. If you’re not already on LinkedIn, you need to sign up now. Depending on your field, you should also be using Twitter to build professional connections. Today’s job search is done online, so make sure you’re connected and building a strong personal brand.
5. Consider Doing an Internship
If you’re feeling under-prepared for your first job, consider finding an internship. About six percent of college grads finish their first internship after college. This is a great way to gain some additional experience before your first full-time job. And who knows, your internship could turn into a job, too.
6. Give Freelancing a Try
In recent years, there as been a 105 percent increase in college grads applying for freelance positions. Show employers your initiative by taking some time to freelance. Again, if you’re worried you don’t have enough experience for a full-time gig, freelancing is a good way to build your portfolio. This will give you the opportunity to explore your entrepreneurial side and even discover a new career path.
7. Be Flexible
Flexibility is key to your post-grad job search. You have to be a little open-minded when applying for your first job. Chances are, you won’t land your dream job off the bat — and that’s OK. Allow yourself a little flexibility in your goals to explore different options. You may discover a job that’s the perfect fit for you.
8. Gain In-Demand Skills Your Prof Didn’t Teach You
According to NACE’s 2014 Job Outlook survey, employers are looking for candidates who have the ability to work in a team, make decisions, solve problems, plan and organize work, and verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization. To make yourself a marketable college grad, find a way to incorporate these skills into your resume and support them with your accomplishments.
9. Utilize Your Memberships with Professional Organizations
Your involvement with professional organizations is a great opportunity to help you find a job upon graduation. Use your membership to connect professionals in your field and attend events. You should also find out if your organization posts job openings for your industry, too.
10. Think In Short-Term Goals
It’s easy to get ahead of yourself and become too focused on your “dream” job as you approach graduation. Instead of focusing on the next year, focus on the next six months of your career. It’s okay if you don’t land your dream job immediately upon graduation. However, you need to stay focused on your short-term goals that will lead you in that direction.
11. Have a Professional Look at Your Resume
Take advantage of your university’s career services or meet with your adviser to review your resume. It’s also a good idea to set up a meeting with a mentor or professional in your field who could give you valuable feedback, too. This way, you’ll find out what experts want from college grads.
12. Leverage Your Network
During your last month of school, don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals for informational interviews. You should also take advantage of any mixers, networking events, or workshops in your area. These are opportunities for you to get your name out there and make connections that could lead to jobs.
What are your best tips for the post grad job search?
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Come Recommended!
About the Author: Olivia Adams is the Brand Manager at Come Recommended. She is a graduate of Ferris State University with a B.S. in public relations. Olivia has experience in content marketing, writing, social media, branding, and public relations.