How to find a good job after college

Finding a good job is hard. Right out of college or well into your professional career, ready to make a change, job searching is tedious. 

I'm directing this post specifically at 20-somethings today because this is the time to explore, get your foot in the door, and figure out what career gets you out of bed in the morning.

First things first, you need to be willing to start at the bottom of the totem pole. In my short time as a working professional, part of my job involved hiring. We had high school students searching for their first job and asking for a starting rate of $10 an hour. I'm sorry, what? You have no work experience and expect to make $2.50 an hour above minimum wage? The same goes for college students who are just graduating, remember that you have to work toward something and likely won't start out at what you think you should. 

You have to do some dirty work to get where you want at first. Depending on your industry, this might involve those dreaded intern coffee runs, but you never know where that might lead you. Let's dive into some tips on how to find a good job after college. 

  1. It's all about who you know. Leverage your connections because no matter what industry you're in, if you know someone or have an in somewhere, 9 times out of 10, that makes your chances higher of at least getting an interview. Corporations receive hundreds of applications for job postings so knowing someone that can hand your resume to HR is a huge benefit. 
  2. Network like crazy. Colleges always have networking events. Even as a young professional, there are so many networking events in Indy. Show up for these and chat with strangers. Take your business card or even your resume. But, don't make the rookie mistake of showing your desperation for employment. Show genuine interest in who you're meeting, what they do, and what their company does. Build a relationship, not a tool to land you a job. 
  3. Do as many internships as you can possibly handle. As a PR and advertising major, there were students doing internships the summer after our freshman year which totally stressed me out. But in following those people now, they've made so many connections because of the experience they have under their belt. Most majors have a variety of avenues you can take post-grad so utilize internships to figure out what you like and don't like. Again, show up for these. Offer to take on more than you're being given, be a proactive worker that wants to learn more about your chosen industry. Internships are one thing I wish I would have done more of in college.
  4. Know that your first job likely will not be your dream job. Trust me here guys, I thought coming out of college I was in my forever job. I was wrong. I love the fashion industry, but even more I love the idea of branding and I needed to find something that fulfilled me a little more. Sometimes in your first job, you have to be willing to sacrifice in some areas to just get in the door and keep moving forward. 
  5. Build your resume and be sure to update it. Check out Sunday's post on resumes if you missed it. Adding experiences is critical to your resume and will often be what sets you apart from other candidates. 
  6. Utilize LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great place for professionals to connect. You can find job postings and connect with people who actually work where you are applying. There is no harm in reaching out to ask questions about the company too. You can also utilize these websites to help you find available positions. 
  7. Apply to more jobs than you think necessary. I have had friends that have applied to 100+ jobs and heard back from maybe 8-10. Job searching is so tedious especially if it's a popular position that many people are applying for. Just continue to apply. 
  8. Follow up on applications. Since you'll be applying to multiple jobs, it's important to keep track and follow up. I suggest creating an excel sheet to keep track of what job you've applied for, where you applied (online, LinkedIn, etc.), what day you applied, and contact information to follow up if possible. If you haven't heard anything in 7-10 days, I'd start sending follow up emails or even phone calls to see if the position is still open and check on the status of your application.  

Job searching can be overwhelming so make sure to give yourself some time to do it, but don't let it control your life. Hopefully these tips will help you find your next career.

Cheers to searching for a new chapter,