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Recent College Grads: 5 Ways To Ace An Entry-Level Job Search

For college seniors, 2020 has been a  strange and unique time to graduate from school. Not only has this group completed their studies remotely and participated in virtual graduations, but they’ll also embark on an entry-level job search that looks much different than what they may originally have anticipated. With an uncertain economy and concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic persisting, it may be a challenging time to start a career. 

With these factors in mind, you may feel tempted to delay your search until the job market improves or concerns about the pandemic dissipate. However, the current landscape is not a reason to hold off on your search! Job searching can be a long process, so being proactive and consistent in your approach can benefit you in the long-run. Plus, finding a job during challenging times isn’t impossible! As long as you maintain a clear focus and the ability to be proactive throughout, you might just be able to get your career rolling during this uncertain time. 

Read on for 5 ways to find success during an entry-level job search:

Keep an open mind

As you close the door on your college career, you may be particularly focused on landing a job within your field of study. However, this approach can limit your options and further extend the length of your job search. Instead of only focusing on jobs within your “dream” field or industry, consider expanding your horizons by applying to different organizations that could benefit from professionals with your education and background. For example, if you graduated with a degree in finance, don’t limit yourself to only applying for opportunities at financial services organizations. Instead, also apply for finance roles within industries like technology and entertainment. By keeping an open mind about where you start your career, that start may come sooner than expected.

Avoid common resume mistakes

Since companies see a major influx in applicants after graduation, getting noticed by a hiring manager can prove to be one of your biggest hurdles. When hiring is down, this can be even harder. This is why it’s critical that you make a great first impression by submitting a compelling and error-free resume. Some mistakes you’ll want to avoid are not having a clear focus, being disorganized, and not properly highlighting skills and accomplishments. Additionally, you also want to ensure you’re tweaking your resume for each position you apply to. By doing so, you improve your chances of catching a hiring manager’s eye and potentially getting called in for an interview! Read also: Recent Grads: 5 Entry-Level Resume Mistakes To Avoid At All Costs.

Emphasize your technical and essential skills

Internships and other forms of work experience are important, but it’s also important to show a potential employer the skillset you can bring to the table. If you’re applying for jobs right out of college, one of the best strategies you can use is to emphasize your technical skills and how your expertise would benefit the company. For example, if you’re proficient in Adobe Suite, be sure to highlight past experiences and projects that prove these skills. 

However, you shouldn’t only focus on your technical skills. Additionally, you should also be placing emphasis on your essential skills. In other words, the foundational skills you need for long-term learning and growth within the company. These skills can include your ability to lead, your communication capabilities, and your ability to problem-solve. By proving these skills on your resume, you could entice a hiring manager into giving you a call for an interview.

Don’t forget to network

Even though many in-person networking events aren’t happening, there are still many ways to build strong professional connections.  To do this, find and attend virtual networking events and webinars that pertain to your interests, utilize LinkedIn, and initiate Zoom meetings with professionals in your industry. Read also: How To Build Virtual Business Relationships.

Consider contract or freelance opportunities

If you’re struggling to find a job after graduation, you should consider pursuing contract or freelance opportunities. While you may have originally had your mind set on a full-time offer, this type of work offers new grads a ton of career benefits! For example, pursuing contract and freelance work can give you the opportunity to branch out and learn new skills, negotiate a flexible schedule, and expand your network!

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