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Now that you have successfully walked across a stage without fainting in public, have toasted with your loved ones, and partied with your friends…. now what? You’re probably just now slowing down enough to be looking over the precipice that is your nonexistent job-offer. In fact, you are among the vast majority of newly minted professionals (86%) who do not have a job offer after graduation (Gradstaff / CNBC, 2016).
After you catch your breath… now where do you start looking for jobs? Here are some of the best places to begin your search as a new graduate.
Talk to your College Career center
Most colleges and universities have a career center to serve current students and recent alumni (and sometimes even alumni who graduated a while ago). These centers provide a range of services from resume help to lists of employers who are looking to hire graduates of the school. This is a great first stop for any grad, plus who doesn’t love an excuse to get back on campus one more time? If you are already back home, get in touch anyway. Most career centers will also communicate with you via email, telephone, or Skype.
Dig into online job boards
There are TONS of online job boards listing opportunities locally, state-wide, nationally, and worldwide. Finding a job board that has what you are looking for can take some skill. Some only list entry-level opportunities with major franchises, for example. And as a college graduate, you may have more to offer than these types of jobs require. One way to narrow down your options is to google “job board + x.” Or, in other words, x stands for something unique about you, your skills, or your degree. As a Latino, for example, you might search for “job board + Latino.” As a medical student, I might search for “job board + medical.” There are many options for niche job boards, which offer a more nuanced approach and put you closer to employers who are more likely to want you specifically. You can of course always search on the big heavy-hitter websites. Find these just by googling “job.” To avoid getting trapped by a fake job board or scam, check out the social media accounts of the job board – if they regularly post and have a decent following you are probably safe to use their site.
Hit the streets
The “old fashioned” way of searching for jobs may help you stand out from the crowd. There is nothing wrong with going out there with a stack of resumes and greasing the pavement. Basically, what you do is dress uber-professionally, and walk into companies you want to work with. Do your homework a little first, and at the front desk, ask for a manager or someone you have researched online who you think might have hiring powers in your field of new expertise. Normally you will probably be told that everyone is busy but that they are happy to take your resume and let them know you stopped by. This is great, because you still stand out for making the extra effort either way. If you actually get to speak with a person – even better! Ask good questions about any possible opportunities, express your interest in the company, and display your professionalism. Don’t forget to send a followup email or make a phone reiterating your interest and thanking them for their time or consideration.
Sit down and think of everyone you met in college (who was not in college), or even people you knew in High School. Professors, teachers, places where you did your internship, family friends, parents of friends, etc… Do any of them have connections with companies or within industries in which you would like to work? You never know who might help you through your first professional door, and it never hurts to ask. Just let them know you are excited to start your career, and are looking for any connections people might have that could help you get started. Explain that you are only looking for an introduction or the opportunity for someone to look at your resume. People tend to love helping out new graduates, especially with the excitement surrounding this special time of year.
Special BONUS for minorities
If you are a woman or a minority, there are special tools to help you land a great gig. Diversity recruiting is now a thing, and you can use job boards online, local organizations that provide minority resource offices, or work with a recruiter who can help you. There are also many professional associations for specific minority groups. Associations are an awesome way to develop lifelong professional connections and continue your professional development, plus they are a great added line on your resume. Many companies are specifically hiring minorities to diversify their workforce, since research shows they benefit. This means they want you specifically as part of their team. You can position yourself as a skilled asset with extra value.
About the Author:
Cherise Tolbert enjoys her role as an influencer for DiversityJobs.com and LatPro.com, both part of a network of award winning employment websites working to connect talented job seekers with employers who value diversity. She has written articles for countless top-ranking employment-related blogs including CareerMetis, Latino LA, The Voice of Jobseekers, CareerPivot, and Hispanic Trending. Cherise has her Master’s in Media Studies from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and a B.S. in Public Communications with a minor in Community and International Development from The University of Vermont. She has worked in communications for almost a decade including in higher education and non-profits. She also is a collegiate adjunct instructor teaching courses in Mass Media, Digital Culture, and Professional Writing.