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Ask a Recruiter | 5 Job Search Tips for Upcoming Grads

April 9, 2015 05:41 AM
[caption id="attachment_2455" align="alignnone" width="300"]Leilani F., Former Intern Hired by AFA Before She Graduated Leilani F., Communications and Media Specialist, Was Hired by AFA Before Graduation[/caption] Graduating from college is one of the most exciting and scariest times in life. The possibilities are vast but can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure where to start. While your classes hopefully prepared you to succeed in your career, they may not have prepared you for your job search. Check out these five tips from our recruiters for upcoming college graduates.
  • Start now. The hiring process takes time. It can take weeks or months to get through the interview process at some companies, so you need to start early. Plus, many companies plan hiring around graduation dates and start looking at candidates several months in advance so they can scoop up the best candidates.
  • Research. Don’t rely just on the companies you’ve heard of before. There are so many great companies that don’t have a large brand presence. They may tailor to niche markets or primarily sell to other businesses and therefore not do a lot of advertising. Research companies that are headquartered in your area, contact your university’s career center and keep tabs on job boards.
  • Network. Your chance of finding a great job will increase significantly if you network. I know we just mentioned job boards and online research, but they only get you so far. When you apply to a position listed on a major job board like Indeed or CareerBuilder, you’re probably one of thousands of candidates for that position. An excellent way to stand out in that sea of applicants is to have a personal connection. Tell everyone you know that you’re job searching (check out these networking tips for the best way to do that!) and try to find a connection at the companies where you’re applying. When we receive a referral from a coworker or a friend, we’re much more likely to take a closer look at an application.
  • Volunteer. Volunteering helps others, provides experience to put on your resume and serves as a networking opportunity. It’s a win-win-win situation. If you’re already volunteering, make sure to check out the board members at your organization since they usually work for local businesses and can be great contacts in your job search.
  • Be realistic. There are a lot of statistics out there about salaries. Keep in mind that these do not always reflect entry-level earnings, your local area or the current economy. Be sure to look at more than just the base compensation. Are there bonus opportunities? Retirement and health benefits plans? Other perks and benefits? You also need to keep your expectations of your job duties in check. You’re just starting out in your career so you probably won’t be in charge or manage the top priority projects right out of the gate. Take this time to learn the ropes and learn from those who are more experienced so you will be ready when another opportunity arises. Also, a lot of people don’t enter their chosen field immediately. Look for supporting roles at companies you’re interested in to get a foot in the door, even if it’s not your dream job. It might just help you find it.
What advice do you have for students about to graduate? College students, what questions do you have for recruiters?

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