Tips for Finding an Entry Level Job After College Graduation

So you've graduated from college, now what?

Graduating from college is an important time in one's life. The fact that college is over usually means that its time to start transitioning into a new part of your life. The idea being that you will find a job that will potentially become a career, then you can start paying off those student loans, etc. Many people think that a diploma is their ticket to a great job, but finding an entry level position can be tough and extremely competitive. Luckily, there are some things that you can do as a new graduate that will give you an edge over your peers when it comes to post graduation job hunting.

Tips for Job Hunting Success

Leave Lasting Impressions


When applying for an entry level position with a company, the most important thing to keep in mind is how you represent yourself to them. Whether you are applying online, by mail, or in person, the only thing that they will be able to judge you by is what they can see. That means that if you send a potential employer your resume or cover letter, make sure that yours stands out from others. Use unique formats and varied fonts to attract attention in all job hunting documents that you send out to companies. It is also important that the content of your resume stands out. An example of unique resume content would be listing some of your educational experiences vs just the course titles that you took under school experience. You can also choose to include a few personal facts about yourself; you enjoy dancing, white water rafting, team sports, etc. Any way that you can make your resume stand out to potential employers will benefit you in your job hunt.

If you are applying for a job in person, also make sure that you leave a lasting positive impression. As far as your appearance, you should always look sharp and dress according to the position you are applying for. Beware of overdressing though, I have seen cases where people have hurt their chances at a job interview by wearing a suit while everyone in the company wears jeans to work. Your ultimate goal when applying for a job in person is to attract attention while not appearing over-the-top. You want the employer to remember you, but not in the sense that you were "that guy"...

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Organization is Key


It is very common for recently graduated college students to take the "throw it all against a wall and see what sticks" approach. Of course the more jobs you apply for, the greater your chances of getting one. The thing to keep in mind when applying for a large number of jobs is to maintain a high level of organization. It is very easy to get lost in the huge stack of applications that you have filled out and forget what the job postings were even for. Applying for a great job is futile if you have no idea what the company is when you finally get a phone call from them.

If you are conducting your job search online, I would suggest using tabs, folders, and bookmarks to keep track of companies and jobs you are applying to. That way you can easily access and see information about the company, as well as what they were looking for in their job posting. And if your job search is mostly in person, keeping copies of resumes, cover letters, and applications with a filing system of some sort will be to your benefit.

Job Search Tips : Tips for Filling Out a Job Application

Helpful Resources

No matter the field you are searching in, there are many resources out there that can assist you when looking for jobs to apply for. Any one of these resources may be used in a particular job hunt, but you will find the most success if you try and use more than one or even all of them.

Online Job Sites

There are a variety of websites that allow you to search for and apply to jobs that are in your area. Sites like monster.com and careerbuilder.com bring employers and potential employees together in an attempt to play "match-maker" between the two. Most of these sites can be accessed and used for free. You can also pay a small fee to access helpful job hunting tools such as carer mapping, and live chat with companies. I have found that another way that these sites can be used is for identifying companies that are hiring. What I mean is that you can use these sites to identify hiring companies and then apply to jobs directly at that companies actual website. However you choose to utilize this resource, online job sites can be a huge help for identifying job openings and applying to positions.

Local Searches

One method of job hunting that can be very affective is searching for local companies through bulletins and city websites. You can access the commerce website for any city in the United States and they will have a business directory that contains all companies in that city, usually sorted by field. I have used this tool in the past to identify potential job openings and companies that I would like to work for. Using online bulletin boards such as Craigslist.com and online newspapers can also aid in your job search by connecting you with hiring companies.

Networking

Networking might be the most important job hunting resource of all. Everyone has heard the phrase, "its not what you know but rather who you know" and this is especially true when it comes to seeking employment. Utilizing relationships with professors, family members, alumni, peers, and acquaintances is extremely valuable because these connections are personal. I know many people that have found great jobs because they had mentioned to someone they knew that they were looking for work. We spend our entire lives building relationships with those around us, and after graduation is a great time to take advantage of these connections that you have spent years building. Don't be afraid to let these people know that you are looking for a certain job, you never know what they will say, but the worst it can be is "no".


Preparing for a Job Interview

Ok, so now you have successfully applied for a job and they want to give you an interview. That is great but consider that the interview process is the most important step in getting the job you want. Going into the interview you need to be prepared for the questions that they will likely ask of you. I would suggest a day or so in advance, try and actively think about what questions you would ask if you were a recruiter for that company. Also try and think of the best possible answers to these questions. The more thought-out your answers are, the better you will do in your real interview and the better your chances will be at getting the job.

Classic Job Interview Questions

Persistence is the Key

In these recent economic times, finding a job right out of college has been most difficult. Many people give up and retreat to settling for a job that they never planned on working at. My best advice it to hang in there. If you are follow these strategies and are persistent then you will eventually find a job that suits your interests. It is definitely worth it to stick with it. Be patient and realize that nobody ever ended up with their dream job without hearing the word "no" many times first. As a recent college graduate realize that things don't always happen quickly, but if you follow these tips and refuse to back down then you will eventually be rewarded with the job you want. 

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Comments 5 comments

Nathaniel 5 years ago

Great tips! Couldn't agree more that staying organized is key. Especially when you are apply for a lot of jobs. There's nothing worse than having a company call you and you've forgotten what they do.


wsupaul88 profile image

wsupaul88 5 years ago from Seattle, WA Author

Thanks Nathaniel, and yes organization is a very important part of job hunting for sure.


Treasuresofheaven profile image

Treasuresofheaven 5 years ago from Michigan

Great Hub! You did a fantastic job writing and organizing this article. You covered many needful points about finding an entry level job. And you also encouraged the reader. Vote Up, Useful too!


wsupaul88 profile image

wsupaul88 5 years ago from Seattle, WA Author

Thank you Treasuresofheaven! I tried to show that you have to put yourself out there in order to find the job your looking for, I hope that message came through!


cjcarter profile image

cjcarter 5 years ago

Good article! I, myself, graduated from college last may (almost one year ago!). I couldn't find a job right away, so I thought I could use some more experience so I got an internship for a few months. I traveled some, and applied at a temp agency that placed me in a temporary full time job. It's been a difficult journey, but it's a start! I just wish I had done internships while I was IN college, not already graduated haha!

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