New Grads: 9 Tips For Applying For Your First Real Job

Congratulations, you’ve graduated!  While you may have gotten through your last final, now is the time for your next challenge: securing your first job in your field of study! The job market can be confusing and intimidating, but if you use all of the resources available to you, you may find that your job search becomes a bit easier with time and practice.  To create a smooth transition into the next phase of your life, start with these ten tips to make your first job search a little less complicated:

Find networking events

You may have heard that networking is important, but did you know that 85% of all jobs are filled via networking? While meeting new people may lead to some awkward small talk at first, as you put more effort into building your network, you never know what kind of opportunities could come your way as a result.  By searching for events on sites like Eventbrite, Facebook, or LinkedIn, you can find local networking events to start meeting new people.

Get a friend to proofread

Now, we know you’re a college grad, but don’t let your confidence get the best of you.  When your resume is sent out to an employer, a simple typo can cost you the job.  Before you spend time filling out applications, it is crucial to triple-check your documents before hitting the ‘Send’ button, and a fresh pair of eyes may catch something you didn’t see before.

Buy an interview outfit

Up until now, you may not have ever needed professional attire—and depending on your chosen field of study, you may even be able to wear jeans to work instead.  However, a job interview still requires that you dress professionally.  Not only does it show your respect for the employer, but it can also boost your confidence and make you feel the part.

Don’t ‘wing it’

When you land an interview, it can be easy to feel as though you don’t need to prepare to answer questions about your own background.  However, a good interviewer is strategic about the questions they ask, and therefore, you must be strategic with your answers.  For even simple questions like, “Why do you want to work here?” you must have an answer specific to the role and the organization at the ready.  By doing so, you can ensure that your answers don’t come across as if you desperately want any job.

Be yourself

While polished interview questions are important, an equally important attribute is your personality.  Not only is an interviewer assessing your qualifications for the role, but also your cultural fit for the organization.  As a result, even if you don’t land the position, you can be content that you showed your authentic self in the interview, and it simply wasn’t the right fit.  Additionally, when your personality does shine through in an interview, it can put you head and shoulders above your competition.

Ask for feedback

After an interview, you may be upset if you learn that you weren’t offered the position.  However, in moments like this, it is crucial that you take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes.  Rather than getting frustrated with your job search, respectfully ask the employer for feedback in order to improve your interview skills down the line.  Not only can this help you land your future job, but it shows the employer a sign of maturity.  As a result, they might even keep you in mind for future openings.

Remain open to ideas

As a new graduate, you probably have an idea of how you’d like to see your career pan out.  However, as we all know, the life you plan is hardly ever the life you end up living.  While it can be easy to adopt tunnel-vision when it comes to finding your dream job, keep in mind that there may be a career path you hadn’t thought of that could be the perfect fit for you.  As a result, remain open to ideas and suggestions—you never know what you might find.

Embrace change

Graduating from college can mean a lot of life changes.  Moving out of your college town, saying goodbye to your friends, and starting a job search is a lot of change to go through all at once.  While it certainly isn’t an easy time, learning to embrace the change and live for new experiences can help you enjoy the ride.  It is easy to fear the unknown, but it can be empowering to relish it.

Learn to move on

During your job search, you may find the perfect job for you twenty times over before you actually land an offer.  Throughout an interview process, it can be easy to get attached and bring your hopes up only to be let down with a rejection letter.  While it can be difficult to process the highs and lows, it is important that you remain focused on your goal of finding a job rather than distracted by one of the many opportunities available.