If you can’t wait to launch your career but are unsure of where to start, here are some great new graduate job resources to take advantage of.
Congratulations! You are a soon-to-be, or recent, college graduate well on your way to conquering the "real world," which includes launching your career with your recent-grad job search. With all that positive excitement, you might also be filled with apprehension, nervous butterflies in the pit of your stomach, and a bit of wonder as to how long it will be before you land your first job. This is understandable given the unpredictability of the job-search process.
Lucky for you, a report by Audivsor showed that in recent years, the market has seen the most job openings since 2007. With a bit of effort, due diligence, patience, and planning on your part, you'll land the right job to launch your career soon enough. Below are some valuable job resources for college graduates to support you on your path to finding your dream job.
USA Jobs: If you're looking to get your foot into the government sector, USA Jobs Pathways for Interns and Recent Graduates is a great place to start.
After College: I wish After College was around when I graduated from college. It's a great resource for recent graduates, with a mission to "help every college student and recent graduate discover their career path." They boast more than 400,000 internships and entry-level jobs from more than 25,000 employers. You go to their site, enter your school, select your major and graduation date, and search. You can also search for graduate events and scholarship opportunities.
College Recruiter: College Recruiter is similar to job-search sites like CareerBuilder, mentioned below, but focuses on entry-level jobs for recent graduates.
Start Jobs: Start Jobs is another job resource for college graduates geared toward entry-level candidates. You can search jobs using job titles, keywords, and location.
Traditional job-search boards: Job-search boards such as CareerBuilder and Indeed have been around for a while. Though not entry-level specific, they can still be a good resource to find entry-level jobs throughout the world. They also offer other free services for job seekers, such as the handy salary calculator.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the top professional social networking site, so it's a great new-graduate job resource to help you land your first job, as well as future jobs. Per the Undercover Recruiter, 93 percent of employers use LinkedIn for recruiting, so be sure to build a complete and professional-looking profile before you begin connecting with others.
LinkedIn also has a page dedicated to LinkedIn Entry-Level job postings where you can narrow down your search by selecting specific search criteria. You can also set up job notifications to be sent to your inbox.
Personal social networking sites: Social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, can also be good resources to find your new job. You can research companies on these sites as well as share with your friends and audience that you're looking. After all, you already have a built-in audience with a community who knows you. At the same time, remember that you want to maintain a professional appearance when utilizing social media for these purposes. Employers often do an online search, including scouring through your social media handles, to find out what prospective employees are up to and what type of personal image they are portraying.
GradStaff: Staffing agencies like GradStaff help to connect college grads with organizations looking to hire entry-level employees. Staffing agencies can be a great resource to work with because they will interview you and help you find job openings that fit your personality and career goals. GradStaff is a nationwide agency serving more than 90 metro areas across the U.S. You can do an online search for "entry-level staffing agencies" to see if there are local agencies in your area or in the city in which you'd like to work. Also, the employer is the party that pays for the services of a staffing agency, not the prospective employee.
Industry-specific networking events: Look for networking events in your area that are specific to your industry. If you're an engineer, for example, you might look for a local chapter of the National Society of Professional Engineers. If you're looking for a human resources position, you might look for the local chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). That way, the people you meet at events are ones who want to help you. Not to mention, you're making connections that can last for the life of your career.
Job and career fairs: Most colleges hold job fairs where organizations come to hire interns and entry-level employees, so take advantage of these events. Local job fairs in your city can also be a great place to meet prospective employers. National Career Fairs is an organization that hosts career fairs in cities throughout the country, and organizations from various industries are represented.
Because they can have a lot of attendees and companies exhibiting, you can prepare to make the most of these events ahead of time by looking at the attendee list, selecting the companies you'd like to speak with in priority order, and finding their booths on the event map. Even if you find that some of the organizations aren't hiring entry-level employees, it's still wise to start networking with companies you may target later down the road.
Online networking groups: Look for local industry networking groups on sites like Meetup.com that are of interest to you. These groups are made up of individuals with similar interests and often hold local events that present a fun way to network and seek out job opportunities. You might consider doing a search for a "Young Professionals" organization in your city or field of work, as well.
Career coaches: A career coach can help launch your recent-grad job search and support you in finding a job, as well as help you to update your marketing materials and navigate the type of culture that would be right for you. Also, as you progress in your career, the right career coach can be a great resource to help you navigate the challenges and quandaries that can evolve in the workplace. Many career coaches work virtually via the phone, but if you prefer face-to-face, many coaches will meet with you in person if they're local to you. You can do an online search for "career coaches" and a long list of options, like Career Pro Plus, should come up. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $75 up to a few hundred dollars per hour for a career coach's time, though it can be worth every penny if you find the right coach for you.
Family and friends: People like to help other people. Reach out to your family and friends, email them your resume, and let them know what type of position you're looking for. I landed my first finance internship with the West Virginia state government in this way.
Google Alerts: If you have a favorite company you'd like to work for, set up Google Alerts for that company. This allows you to be notified if and when they post new positions and allows you to keep up with recent news about the company (which can also be great information to have when prepping for an interview).
Cost-of-Living calculator: A cost-of-living calculator will help you compare the costs of living between cities throughout the United States. In other words, it will show you how much money you'll need to make in one city compared to another to maintain the same lifestyle or level of living.
Tips and how-to resources: As you launch your recent-grad job search, there's a ton of information online to support you in landing the perfect job. While you're searching for jobs, you want to make sure you have your marketing tools — your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn, and professional website — in top shape. You can also prepare for interviews by rehearsing and practicing with sample interview questions. For more tips, TopResume.com has an abundance of career advice. Click here to see more.
Freelance sites: If you'd like to make some money or build your resume while pursuing a full-time, entry-level job, there are several freelance and part-time jobs available, from writing to graphic design to virtual assistant work. For more information on such opportunities, check out Good Second Jobs to Earn Extra Cash Outside Your 9-5.
This is not an exhaustive list of new graduate job resources by any means, but it's a great place to start as you exit school and begin searching for your first job in the “real world.” Before you know it, you'll be making money and claiming your independence in no time.
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Another great resource for recent college grads? A free resume critique. Submit today to find out if you're ready for the post-grad job search.