Going to College Helpful Hints

Got Your Degree: Now What?

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Today’s economy is not the best for job hunting after getting your college degree, and unemployment is up. Don’t despair. CollegeBasics can offer you some tips that might help.

The Cover Letter: First, preparing one cover letter and one résumé for your job search is not enough in this competitive and tough job market. Plan to make each of your cover letters specific to the company or firm you apply to. That includes highlighting your skills for each job description and including personal information that shows you as a good fit with that company’s philosophy or climate. In order to do that well, you should, of course, check out the company’s website, but you should also know even more about the company. Check out annual reports, hold an informational interview, ask people and read trade or industry journals to find information that informs you of facts you can refer to in your cover letter.

 

Résumés: Your résumé can be beefed up as well. As a new grad, your job experience may not be impressive, but think about your college experiences, especially out-of-the-classroom experiences that can demonstrate you have skills the job you are applying to requires, skills such as leadership, organization, fund raising, or recruiting. Add any volunteering you have done that might be in the area of work you are applying for. Your résumé, too, should be tailored to each job you apply for. Make sure to highlight areas for each application by reordering or giving fuller explanations. You might want to use a professional resume service like ResumeEdge, which provides resume and cover letter editing and writing services.  Also see our article on the resume.

Your Attitude: Once you have your cover letters and résumés, you are ready to set out, but before you do, make sure the places you are applying are not pie-in-the-sky. Be practical. You may not get your dream job right out of college. What you need directly after you get out of college is money and health insurance. Beyond that, you are learning, or apprenticing, and you are getting experience. These two things will help you work your way up the ladder to better jobs. So think now about smaller companies, companies more local to you, or ones not in the big city; and think about casting your applications in a bigger pool, not specialty work, even perhaps not work that is specific to your major but which will give you complementary experience.

Networking: Use all internet resources to find jobs. There is the well-known Monster.com site that will offer you career advice and information about job fairs as well as job listings. It also offers you the ability to post your résumé. But try other sites like Job.com This site has a job seeker market page that will show both entry level jobs and internships; you can find the entry job link at the top of their homepage. And, it offers many other things like résumé writing and salary negotiations tips, blogs, lists of industry magazines, and even career coaches. In addition, you can use their school finder if you decide you need a two-year degree or a graduate degree to make you more marketable. In addition, at Vault.com, you can not only find jobs and network with others, you can also research your employer to know if that is the type of job you would be happy in. They also provide a wide array of career services, such as resume writing and career advice. Vault is one site every college graduate should check out!

Online networking can also be important. Of course, you want to tap family, friends, and even the professors in your major, but there are professional networking sites like LinkedIn.com. These sites are more useful for finding a job than social networking sites like FaceBook, but work in the same ways. (By the way, be sure all your profiles, including the ones you have on FaceBook and My Space, are ones you will want future employers to look at; recruiters and hirers do look!) Another way to network is to join business associations, go to job conferences, or attend seminars. Fees might well be worth your connecting with someone who can tell you about a job or offer you a job.

Don’t Give Up: Most of all, don’t be discouraged. These are difficult times economically. You may have several interviews without a job offer. Just take more time and be willing to put in more effort, and your persistence will pay off.

Good luck!