So, you’ve graduated college, now what?

By Marcie Waters and Devlin Brush

So, you’ve graduated college and are now faced with the seemingly daunting task of finding your first full-time job. By this point, you are sick of hearing, “Do you have a job yet?” and “What’s your plan?” You are just hoping something falls into place before the lease on your college apartment ends in August. If this sounds familiar, you should first know that you are not alone. The good news, however, is that there are some steps you can take to ensure you are not unemployed for long:

  1. Visit L&S Career Services – We’re not just saying this because we think we’re special. An appointment with a Career Consultant is the most efficient and thorough way of getting your career path in order. In just a meeting or two, a consultant can evaluate your goals and current experience, and help you create a plan that will give you a clear way forward. Our consultants can help multiple times along your journey, as our services are available up to a year after graduation, and we can be reached by e-mail or Skype if you will be leaving the Madison area. If you’ve already decided on a path but just haven’t reached the end yet, we offer more specific help as well:
  2. Mock Interviews – If you’re nervous or inexperienced in the interview process, practice with one of our career consultants first!
  3. Resume and Cover Letter Review – Make sure you’re presenting yourself as well as you can in your resume before you let an employer see it and learn how to tailor it to the position you are seeking.
  4. BuckyNet – If you haven’t already, make sure you have a BuckyNet account so you can browse the wide variety of positions offered.
  5. Prepare Your Elevator Pitch – While it’s tempting to avoid answering questions like, “What kind of job do you want?”, use this as an opportunity to make connections. Every person you talk to has the potential to help you or know someone who could be a great connection. That’s why it is important to have a quick elevator pitch prepared. Tell the person (1) what you’ve done so far, (2) what you would like to do in the future, and (3) why you chose that area to focus on.
  6. Network – You may have heard that finding a job is really all about who you know, and that is not entirely untrue. You can network in many different ways; consider these:
  7. Asking for help – This is the simplest form of networking, and you shouldn’t be afraid to do it. Just asking someone for help with your job search can go a long way. A great way to do this is, at the end of your elevator pitch, to ask, “Do you know anyone who might be able to help me get into this industry?” You could be surprised to find they have a great connection!
  8. Social Media – Nowadays, social media is really where the job search is at. Utilize LinkedIn and Twitter to reach out to professionals in your desired industry. You can also use these sites to look for job postings.
  9. Informational Interviews – Informational interviews are a great way to obtain knowledge about an industry or position you are interested in, which can make it easier to successfully apply and interview for a job. They are also great ways to meet people in your desired industry and get advice. Ask the professional how they got their current job. Maybe their story will help you determine what your path should be.
  10. Gain Experience – If you feel you haven’t found your dream job yet because you don’t have the right kind of experience, you can try to gain more experience before applying. Volunteering, part-time jobs, and internships are all ways you can gain a little more experience that may give you the edge in the job market. Keep in mind that to obtain your dream job you may have to work your way up the company ladder. Consider taking a job in a lower position in the company you want to work for; many companies prefer to hire from within, and you could have a better chance of ending up in your dream job.

Follow these tips to get your job search moving. For more tips on every aspect of the job search, make sure to check out all the information from our consultants on the L&S Career Services website. We wish you the best in your job hunt!


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