Finding a job after college is emotionally, financially and physically stressful. It’s important for your ego, your bank account and your overall peace of mind. In an effort to streamline the process and start you on the right track, here are five tips for job hunting if you’ve just graduated or are about to.
1. Don’t Wait Until Graduation
There is absolutely no reason you should wait until graduation to start looking for a job. Ideally, if you have a decent idea of what you want to do right after you’ve got your diploma, you’ve already completed an internship or at least have started networking with people in your chosen field. Many companies hire soon-to-be-graduates while they’re still in school. If that path doesn’t look likely for you, your resume should at least be ready to go. Take advantage of your school’s career services center to make sure you’re as prepared as possible to secure employment when it comes your way.
2. Take Advantage of Alumni Contacts
Join your school’s alumni association and start going to functions as soon as you’ve graduated. Most likely there’s someone in the group that’s in your field or one closely related. They could be available for mentorship or even referrals if you hit it off well enough. In any case, joining an alumni association will give you a system of support that’s uniquely tailored to your personal journey. Your parents and friends can provide good listening ears, but an alumnus who’s grabbed a job in your field will be able to provide much more focused guidance for your job search.
3. Network, Network, Network
Meeting new people shouldn’t stop at your alumni association. If you can, try and make friends and contacts within your field, but outside of your college. If you’re not sure how to immediately do this, hit up family and friends for referrals. There’s no field so specialized that you won’t be able to find anyone in it that’s willing to talk to you. Plus, people are flattered when approached for their expertise. It might seem intimidating to reach out to someone you don’t know very well, but most of the time, these kinds of overtures are well-received. At the very least, you should be able to get some informational interviews out of doing this.
4. Clean Up Your Social Media
Your social media as a student and your social media as a professional are two very, very different things. While it’ll make you seem epically cool on campus to set your profile pic to that video of you doing a keg stand, potential employers will not be impressed. And they will be looking at your social media when they’re deciding whether or not to hire you or bring you in for an interview. You need to count on the fact that anyone can find what you put online, so think long and hard about your job after college when you’re posting your Mardi Gras pics. Privatize your accounts or clean them up if you don’t want that degree from Tufts University to go to waste.
5. Remember: A Job is a Job
If you’re having trouble landing your dream job and there aren’t even many prospects in your desired field, don’t let that be an excuse to stop looking for work. Even if you’re driving Uber or dog walking, you should be working at least a little. First of all, you’ll need income. Second of all, you can still learn a lot from working anywhere, even if it’s not the career you wanted. You might pick up unexpected skills that could open up different doors for you. If you desperately wanted to work in PR, but the only job you could get was in payroll for a large firm, who’s to say you wouldn’t take to that just as much publicity? In a few years, you might find yourself wanting to learn more about UAB’s online MBA degree. The point is, any path is better than no path at all.