Landing That First Job After College

You know better than anyone how difficult the job market has gotten in the past few years. While I will offer some ”HELPFUL HINTS” about finding a job, the truth is you’ll need more detail than can be given in an article like this. So once you read my hints, follow them up with additional reading and action. Jobs are out there, but only if you are willing to really go after them.

  1. Job leads can come from anywhere. Leave no stone unturned. Let as many people as possible know you are out there looking. As things develop, keep them posted via Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Updates act as reminders for your network. After a while, a contact will lead to a real job.
  2. Looking for a job is a contact sport. Ask each new contact for the names of others with whom you can network. Keep track and after a while, things will begin to churn. Applying for job after job without linking to others is sub-optimizing.
  3. Even in the best of times companies only hire those who excel at demonstrating the skills they need. Make sure you understand what skills each job calls for and how your background relates to those.
  4. On a related note, your resume is not about you, it’s about what others want from you. Make sure the things you brag about in your resume are the things that are of interest to the employer.
  5. Prep for the interview. Interviews are golden opportunities. They mean someone thinks enough for your credentials to give you additional consideration. Prep for them. See Cracking the New Job Market, Chapter #4).
  6. Quit apologizing for your major. What’s done is done. Turn it into a positive. “I majored in that (journalism, philosophy, social science, etc.) because I was profoundly interested and it helped me develop many of the skills you are looking for in new graduates.”
  7. Since finding a job is taking longer, use the extra time to get smarter. Here are three books worth reading as you conduct a job search:
    • Cracking the New Job Market: The 7 Rules for Getting Hired in any Economy, R. William Holland (AMACOM, 2011)
    • The Job Hunters Survival Guide,
      Richard Bolles (Ten Speed Press, 2010).
    • Getting From College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World, Lindsey Pollak (Harper, 2007).


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