This week, I started a new job (more on that later). After graduating from Rutgers (RU RAH RAH), I decided to spend the summer relaxing. BIG mistake. While my peers were going on interviews and getting their lives together, I was spending my time watching reality tv and sleeping till noon. By the time I decided to sit down and start looking for a job, it was too late. Now don’t get me wrong, employers are always hiring, but I had missed that valuable time when a LOT of employers are looking for new employees, and I was stuck with the left over jobs that no one wanted. Plus, I had no idea what I wanted to do. It took me about a year (yes, a whole year), to find a job and start a career. Since the year that I was unemployed was one of the worst of my life, I want to offer some advice on how to get that first job after graduation and start your career.
- Narrow down what you want to do – While you may not know exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life, you should have a general idea and apply to jobs in that field. One of the reasons why I had such a hard time finding a job was because I spent a lot of time just sending my resume off to anyone and everyone, instead of focusing on what I was passionate about. I know everyone says you should just take the first job you get, no matter what field it’s in, but I believe you should focus on the field you would like to work in.
- Customize your resume and cover letter – I used to just send off a bland cover letter that was extremely bland and generic. My resume was pretty basic as well. Instead, you should customize your cover letter to the job you’re applying to. Make your cover letter interesting by referencing personal experiences or a funny (but appropriate) story. You want to stand out! For your resume, I suggest adding some color or an interesting layout. Google Docs and Canva (canva.com) have some great resume templates that will take your resume to the next level.
- Apply early and often – Start applying for jobs months before you graduate. This may seem like overkill, but believe me, it’s not. You never know how long it might take for you to find a job. Plus, the interview process for some companies takes weeks, so you want to be prepared. You may be lucky and find a job after a week of looking, or you may be unlucky and go on interview after interview before finding the one. However your luck swings, don’t get discouraged! You WILL find a job. My favorite job sites are indeed.com, themuse.com, Ed2010.com, and Findspark.com
- Reach out to those who can help – Do you have an uncle with connections? A friend who works at an amazing company? Ask them for advice! The people in our lives are often more helpful than we realize, and they can often be a hidden resource.
- Attend events – Going to job fairs, networking events, and even brunches or happy hours will increase your exposure and get your name out there. I suggest Ed2010 or Findspark. Both of these places often have events where students, recent graduates, and young professionals can connect. Sadly, both of these places only hold events in the NYC area, but with some digging, I’m sure you can find a place near you!
Stay tuned for the next posts in the job search series, which will include how to decide on what kind of career you want, and how to ace that interview
Thanks for reading!