Top 5 Tips for your First Graduate Job Search

How to search for a job affter college.

It’s never too early to start getting ready for your life after college, when you’ll finally have the opportunity to put your degree to good use. But half of the battle is knowing where to start. You’ve probably been out of the job market for a while because you’ve been devoting your time and effort to your studies. Getting yourself out there has the potential to be a difficult and confusing experience if you’re not prepared. If you start now by following these strategic tips, you’ll be better able to direct your energy towards the most promising job prospects.

1. Network

We can’t all be that lucky person who lands the first job they apply for. Staying networked, however, can offer you some vicarious success. If you know where your colleagues are applying, and where they’re being hired, that may give you a good idea where you should start looking. It doesn’t hurt to ask your buddies to put in a good word for you.

2. Be Mindful of your Online Presence

Never forget to Google yourself once in a while, because your future employers are going to do the same. What are they going to find? If, like many people, your personal social media accounts aren’t a squeaky clean beacon of professionalism, you may want to consider deleting information, removing your name from your profile, and adjusting your settings to “friends only” or “private.”

3. Don’t Set Yourself Up For Disappointment

You probably aren’t going to get your dream job in your dream field when you’re fresh out of college. You’ll likely have to work your way up the ranks to get to where you want to be. As long as you’re getting a job in the general field you intend to work in, it all counts as experience that can ultimately lead to your end goal. Don’t shoot for the stars, shoot for the highest mountaintop you can find and climb your way up from there.

4. Internships and Volunteering

If you can afford to do so, or while you’re waiting for your paid opportunity, you can spend some time doing other work. Internships and volunteer work look great on a resume, and may even help connect you with individuals who can provide you with paid job opportunities. Inevitably, some interns will be hired. It’s a good thing to do, and it could pay off in the long run.

5. Search Far and Wide

Don’t limit yourself to one place when you’re searching for jobs. You’re more likely to catch a big fish if you’re placing nets in every ocean, instead of a single net in your local pond. Connect yourself with as many professional resources as possible, and look at every job board. Some jobs may be worth relocating for, so consider expanding your search radius. Bigger cities mean more opportunities.

6. Consider What You’ll Do In The Meantime

If things aren’t working out in your current field, having a part-time job to pay the bills is a smart, responsible choice. You may not like the job, but if you can land it, you’ll be able to afford to put some gas in your tank while you’re waiting on an opening that’s better suited to your desired field. You can always leave a part-time job you’re not passionate about when a full-time job you’ll love becomes a reality. It won’t happen overnight, but there’s no need to go hungry while you’re on the hunt.

It may not be the easiest thing in the world to land a job after college, but it’s far from impossible. If you’re determined and you strategize well, you’ll see results sooner than you may think. Maintaining a positive attitude and sharp focus are paramount. Never get discouraged, and always keep pushing. Good luck!


Tips for finding your first job after graduate school.Kelly Smith works at CourseFinder. She’s interested in new online marketing and branding tools. She’s keen on work-life balance and healthy work environments.

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