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Okay, it’s that time of the year again – Graduation!
We all love to hear those words, “Congrats, You’re Done With School Forever!” Well, for those that are only getting a bachelor’s degree…
Anyway, this time around is a bit different than the years prior – considering you won’t be walking down that hill with all your friends and family cheering you on and grabbing your *diploma*.
TBH, your “diploma” they hand you is actually just a piece of paper, lol. You get your real diploma in the mail a couple months later, but that doesn’t even matter now, does it?
For the class of 2020 – I am sincerely sorry for the inconvenience COVID-19 had on your last semester of college. It truly is a shame.
Now, I’m not going to get into the details of how MY senior year of college was one of the best years ever…
Well.. I’ll just say a little bit, okay?
I’ll never forget the countless snow day’s spent at The Hawk, being in the crowded student section while cheering on my favorite basketball team (Go Jayhawks!), and lastly the crazy memories I made with friends.
Shoutout Snapchat memories for always reminding me of my amazing college years.
Okay, I’m done…for now.. Hehe. I loved college. Ugh.
Anyway, I know recent graduates are in a bit of a pickle right now, career-wise, since it’s been hard to search for jobs and do interviews because of the Coronavirus.
Those that have found jobs already – Congrats!
To those that are still searching, here are my 11 tips for getting your first real job!
Tip #1: Get Your Social Media Under Control
First off, y’all need to have your social media in-tact before searching and applying for jobs – for real.
Make your accounts private that should be private and the other ones (that your grandma could be proud of), make those public.
Recruiters will stalk you. A lot. Actually, 96% of recruiters use social media during their search process.
So, better be sure to have your public socials give off the vibe you want – Specifically, professional with a sprinkle of your personality.
Tip #2 Create A LinkedIn Account (It’s free)
If you don’t have a LinkedIn Account, I’d consider making one.
This is one of the most popular social platforms for business professionals as well as a great way to find new job listings.
Check out this article on how to make your LinkedIn profile stand out!
Tip #3 Have a good resume
Make sure your resume is spruced up all nice.
Here’s a great site to help you get your resume in shape and, more importantly, get noticed by recruiters!
If you are having trouble creating your resume yourself, check out this free resume builder.
Tip #4 Job Search Site’s To Use
Some great sites I used in my job hunt are:
When I was applying for jobs, I went on these sites and just hit that “Apply” button probably 100 times. Lol.
Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do to get your name out there!
But, of course, I was applying to jobs I was interested in and qualified for.
Anyway, chances are, most companies you apply to online have a robot that filters out the “no’s”. :/ So might as well apply to a bunch of job listings! It can’t hurt!
Here are some more websites you can use for job hunting!
Tip #5 What Experience & Qualifications To Look For
Recent grads, you should be looking at entry-level jobs, internships, full time (and part time, if that’s your thing).
Also, it’s OKAY to get an internship after college. The more experience the better!
Indeed has a great guide on what to look for when searching for jobs.
Tip #6 Learn Your Interests & Career Field
Learn what you are interested in before applying to jobs (obviously, lol).
A trick to help you find jobs that interest you are to type keywords for the industry you want to work for in the search field.
Example: I want to work in the marketing and advertising world.
My keywords would be: Creative, Marketing, Ad Agency, Social Media, Digital Marketing, Copywriting, etc.
Check out this fun site that can show you some good career options based on your skills.
Tip #7 Research
You want to know what type of companies you are applying to. So do your research on that company.
Read through the job description (obvi) and look up the company’s stats on Glassdoor.
Glassdoor has tons of company reviews from previous employees, pay ranges, company culture, etc. It’s worth it to run a background check on the company before moving forward with interviews and possibly even before applying.
Tip #8 Interviews (Video And In-Person)
Research. Research. Research. Your interviewer will throw you curve balls, I’m sure of it.
So, make sure you know the ins and outs of the company you are interviewing with.
The Muse has a great article on how to do research on a company pre-interview.
Dress appropriate. “Dress well – do well.”
Check out this article from Indeed. It has some great tips on how to dress for a job interview.
Have at least 2 questions to ask interviewers at the end of the interview – At least one of those questions should be unique.
Here are a couple of classic end-of-interview questions.
Here are some fun and unique interview questions.
Also, here is one of my go-to unique end-of-interview questions:
“What is a tradition that [Company Name] does that you look forward to every year?”
This question allows the interviewer to think back at the fond memories they’ve had at the company which is a GREAT way to have the interviewer remember you!!! *wink, wink*
Tip #9 Take The Opportunity
When you search for your first job, search for ones that you are clearly interested in but, also, why not check out ones that you’d want to learn more about!?
And guess what? You might even end up with that job you “wanted to learn more about but wasn’t really THAT interested in” in the first place.
Okay, story time. Here’s a real life example:
I graduated KU with a strategic communication degree (Journalism) and looked at all jobs in social media and creative and eventually landed my first real job.
The job description definitely had that creative stuff in there, but also had a ton of other stuff. The other stuff, well, let’s just say I wasn’t really typing in my LinkedIn search bar, haha.
But I wasn’t going to be afraid of taking a chance on a company that had a bit more of what I wanted in my first job – Because MORE IS BETTER! DUH!
Also, if you don’t necessarily have the skills they are looking for, you can and will learn them! So make sure you tell them that!
I was taught literally SO MUCH in my first year working at my job, its crazy.
So, just because the company that reaches out to you, or pops up on your job listing page, has a job description that you might be interested in – Go for it.
Because, why not? Applying for a job doesn’t hurt you.
Tip #10 Your First Job Is *Temporary
Your first job out of school will be a tester for ya.
You will learn what you like and what you don’t like.
You will also learn way more than you ever have in school.
*The best part of finishing out your first year at your first real job, is that you can stay with the company or start searching for a new one now that you know what you are interested in!
Tip #11 Connections Are KEY
Use your connections!! Biggest impact on getting the job you want is knowing someone that has ties to the company or any employee that is or has worked there.
So get your butt out there and start networking! Here’s a good article on how to network like a pro!
Take advantage of your friends, family, extended family, neighbors, teachers, person you met at the bar that one night, literally anyone and everyone you know.
I swear, it’s like 80% all about the connections.
However, if you don’t have connections, that just means you need to work a little harder than those that do.
BUT DON’T LET THAT STOP YOU!
Side note, if you have the contact info of the company’s job recruiter – send them an email directly!
Side note on that side note – You can usually find the contact info on the company’s website OR email the company directly and they will hand you off to an HR contact. 🙂
Here’s a great email template you can use to contact recruiters directly.
Alrighty, now that you’ve freshened up your knowledge on how to search for your first real job, it’s time to get started!
I know times are tough right now because of the Coronavirus and everything else that’s been happening in the world, but keep your head up high, send as many resumes out as you can and NETWORK like it’s your job!!
*BTW, the job search process can take literally so long.
Like months, maybe years. Okay, hopefully not that long but you get my point.
It may feel like you are never going to get a job but you will. Just wait it out and be patient but persistent.
Good luck on your job search. I believe in you!
Until next time…
P.S. Business Insider just posted a great article on tips to searching for jobs during the Coronavirus. Go check it out!