Tips and Advice for College Graduates Entering the Job Market



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3. Bad self-promotion

Poor self-image is a widespread problem for graduates looking for a job after college. Most students haven’t figured out how to represent themselves in the best way, both on and offline, highlighting their strengths and masking weaknesses.

It’s common for potential employers and recruiters to Google candidates to suss out their social media presence, so if you want to look professional, you may want to remove those photos of you doing a keg stand at the last frat party. Sure, most employers will understand that workers have a social life outside of work, but they want to ensure they hire the best people possible to represent their company. Google yourself and clean up your social media accounts before you start applying!

1. Explore the topics and subjects that interest you and don’t be afraid to really delve in

Whether it’s the early works of William Shakespeare or Alexander Hamilton’s life story, use your time at college to explore the subjects that pique your interest and really submerge yourself.

Why? Because specialist knowledge can give you the edge over general knowledge, and it could mark you out as someone worth hiring after college because you have a detailed knowledge of something employers need on their staff. Also because this is your time to learn, explore, play and enjoy accruing knowledge for knowledge’s sake in a way you might never get to again.

4. Don’t choose your specialist subjects too quickly

Some colleges require you to choose your major right at the start, but if there’s a chance to delay choosing your specialist modules for a bit longer, take it. You might think you’re really interested in marketing right now, but in year or two you discover that actually it’s business development that makes you excited. Hold off on choosing your thesis topics for as long as possible, so you can get a good sense of all the subjects before making your choice.

Find a Mentor

This sounds very official. Don’t get intimidated! A trusted friend, a parent, or a professor can all make excellent mentors. A mentor can help you think through what kind of job you want, weigh your options for a part-time job, help you negotiate an offer, read your cover letter, or practice interviews.

If you already know what field you want to work in after graduation, it's especially ideal to have a mentor within the industry. (Perhaps someone who you met during one of your industry-related part-time or summer break jobs fits the bill!) But even if you are still figuring out what kind of work you want to do, and which industries interest you most, it's helpful to have a mentor to think through your options.

Tips for writing an effective college graduate resume

Here are some tips for writing a college graduate resume that is successful:

Mention your GPA

If you graduated with honors, or had a 3.5 GPA or above, it could be a good choice to feature that prominently on your resume. Also, include any awards or accolades you received for academics.

Include business networking profiles and online resume links

If you have an online resume or you are on a business social platform or industry association networking site, include those links in your entry-level resume to show your level of engagement with others in the industry. If you do not yet have social business profiles, consider setting them up as it will enhance your professionalism.

Avoid mentioning high school

You may be tempted to put as much education on your resume as possible, but avoid including experiences in high school. These are not generally considered relevant in a professional setting.

Emphasize soft skills and education

Write a winning resume by emphasizing soft skills to supplement hard skills. Education and soft skills should dominate a college graduate resume.

Avoid using fluffy language

Try to use clear, concise language and avoid things like keyword stuffing where you use too many keywords and non-specific ones.

Emphasize important highlights

Use your resume summary, skills, education and experience to emphasize the most important and impressive part of your background.

Use action verbs

Use action verbs and bullet points to talk about your experience.

5) Choose Something You Love Over Money

This is a time where you are able to really get to know yourself and find what you love to do.

This may be a hard thing to think about in the short run, especially if finding a job is hard.

But think about this:

Would you rather end up in a career that you hate or be doing something that you truly love for the rest of your life?

Go on Informational Interviews

It can be overwhelming to apply for jobs right out of college. Job titles may feel confusing, and many positions will say “entry level” but also demand a hefty amount of on-the-job experience. Informational interviews can be a great aide to help you figure out which jobs are reasonable for you to apply to — and which ones aren’t. That’s important, because these are a near-endless amount of jobs posted online, and you want to target your efforts so you apply to only relevant, attainable roles.

As well as giving you valuable information that will help you target your job search and be informed during job interviews, informational interviews are an opportunity to form connections with a company and its staffers.

If you shine during an informational interview, you might be considered for a position later on.

9) What Microsoft, Hulu and Julep Executives Have to Say

“The ability to learn quickly and adapt quickly is critical no matter what role you’re going in for.” –Julie Green, VP of Digital at Julep

A panel of tech executives at Western University’s Leadership forum discussed career advice for recent grads. Read more about what they said from this blog here.