How to Find a Job After College

If you’re like many new graduates, you feel a pit in your stomach just thinking about how to find a job after college. Embarking on your very first job search is definitely nerve-wracking. Well, cheer up, grads. Here’s how to get a good job out of college.

First thing you must know: There’s no substitute for elbow grease. This is truly a case of getting out what you put in.

Second thing to know: You’re not alone in this! Monster can help. If you’re trying to find a job after college, follow these steps to launch your first job search and kick-start your career.

Five Steps to Finding a Job After College

1. Tailor Your Resume for Each Job

Many employers today use applicant tracking systems to scan resumes for keywords. Meaning, if your resume doesn’t contain the right keywords, your application could get tossed out automatically.

To prevent that from happening, make tweaks to your resume to mirror the language that appears in the job posting (The same goes for the cover letter.)

If the job requirements include hard skills (e.g., JavaScript or Python for programmer positions), make sure those terms appear as-is on your resume. Cover your bases by checking out Monster’s resume critique checklist.

2. Check New Jobs Postings Frequently

The best time to apply to a job is within the first 48 hours after it’s posted, so you’ll want to check for new job postings often. To get into a good routine, start off your day by searching for new job openings each morning. Monster’s job board enables you to search by job title, city, company, and skills; and to streamline the process, you can sign up to receive email alerts for new job postings.

Another way to get a line on job openings is to monitor prospective employers’ social media feeds to see if they plan on adding any positions or host any virtual recruiting events in the near future.

3. Leverage Your Alumni Network

Getting a job after college isn’t magic. It’s expected that you’ll reach out to other people for help. To learn more about your industry or about a particular company, tap your college’s alumni network. Most colleges maintain an online alumni database that grads can use to get contact information, Hewitt says. In fact, some schools have already set up relationships with alumni, who are eager to offer job advice to new grads.

However, you need to be strategic about how you approach alumni. Simply ask people if they’re available for a quick chat on the phone so you can learn more about what they do. If the conversation goes well, the person may be willing to help you get a foot in the door.

If you’re making a cold introduction by email, try this template:

“Hi, my name is ­­­­_____, and I graduated with a degree in _____ from _____ university. I found your contact information through our alumni office. I’d love just 20 minutes of your time to hear more about what you do at ______ on a daily basis, your career path, and what it’s like to work in the field. I’ve attached a copy of my resume just so you have a frame of reference of my education and experience.”

4. Keep Up with Industry News

Learning how to get a job after college involves something you’re plenty familiar with: research. Even though you don’t have a job yet, you need to stay on top of what’s going on in your field. There are three basic things you should be doing to keep up with industry news:

  1. Read trade publications and industry journals
    2. Join professional social media groups
    3. Follow social media feeds of companies and industry influencers

The news can clue you in to trends in hiring, companies on the rise, and companies going through rough patches.

Social media is also a great resource. Check out what leading companies are posting about

5. Prepare for Job Interviews (Yes, Now)

To actually snag a career after college, you obviously need to ace the interview itself. You’ll get a boost in confidence by preparing answers to common interview questions, such as “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Check out Monster’s list of 100 top job interview questions, and spend time developing your answers.

Then, you want to go into detective mode and learn more about hot topics in your industry as well as the company that’s interviewing you. Thoroughly research the company so you can answer questions that concern them directly, such as, “What’s your favorite product that our company makes?” or “Who do you think is our biggest competitor?” Smart answers will show them you’ve done your homework.

To gather information on potential employers, read the company’s website (specifically, the “press” section), follow them on social media, set up relevant Google alerts, and, if they’re a public company, look at their annual reports.

You can also get the inside scoop by checking out company profiles on Monster and employee reviews to get a sense of culture, pay, and benefits.

Lastly, don’t discount the importance of a professional appearance. Appropriate interview attire, a mature voicemail greeting, and social media profiles that don’t throw up red flags are all must-haves for finding a job after college. Leaving this stuff to the last minute is such a freshman move.

Find Jobs After Graduation—Fast

There’s no magic formula that will show you exactly how to find a job after college (believe us, we’ve checked). You need to set up a strategy that works around the clock. Could you use some help with that? Monster can make your job search easier—free of charge. Let us help you go from new grad to new hire in less time than it takes to unpack all your boxes of dorm stuff.

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