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How to find a job as a new graduate: 10 tips and tricks

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes 

Getting your first job after graduation takes time and patience. It can be difficult to know how and where to start your job search. 

If you’re wondering how to find a job as a new graduate, here’s my advice as a recruiter that will make the entire process of finding a job smoother, faster and less intimidating. 

Best ways to search for your first post-grad job

1. Make a LinkedIn profile.

Recruiters and professionals use LinkedIn to network and search for job candidates, making it a great way for college graduates to find new job opportunities. 

Connect with previous coworkers, professors and classmates and write them a short note on how you know them in the connection request. These connections can help you build your professional network and communicate with potential employers. 

Once you have your profile up and running, it is important to start building your brand on LinkedIn so you can make yourself stand out from others. 

2. Reach out to people you know.

Another new graduate job search tip is to tap into your personal network. Reach out to people you know who are already established in the industry you are interested in, and ask if they:

  • Know of any job openings.
  • Can connect you with people at their company.
  • Are willing to introduce you to other professionals in the field.

If you learn about a position you are interested in from someone you know, consider asking them for a job referral. This can be intimidating, so do some research on the correct way to ask for a job referral.

3. Use job boards.

Many companies use job boards to advertise their open positions. As a job seeker, you can use job boards to filter:

  • What type of job you’re looking for.
  • What companies you’re interested in.
  • Where you’d like to work/live.

I recommend college graduates check out these job boards when searching for their first position:

  • Handshake.
  • Indeed.
  • LinkedIn.

4. Attend on-campus events.

Universities and colleges often host job fairs, career expos and networking events that allow graduates to meet with potential employers and explore various industries. 

Campus events also give you a chance to showcase your skills and make connections with professionals in your field of interest. 

5. Check out your college’s career services center.

Your college's career services center can be a valuable resource in helping you find your first job. These centers are designed to assist students and recent graduates in their job search by providing:

  • Job listings.
  • Mock interviews.
  • Application help.
  • Resume and cover letter services.

It doesn’t hurt to check this resource out – it may even have some opportunities available that you haven’t thought about.

Best advice for graduates and soon-to-be alumni 

6. Start looking for a job now.

Job searching can be a time-consuming process. Instead of waiting until right before graduation, start looking for a job now.

It’s best to start applying for jobs two to three months before you get your diploma. This will give you enough time to lock in a job around the time you enter the "real world.”

During your interviews, have a conversation with the hiring manager to let them know:

  • When you graduate.
  • When you can start working.

Most companies are flexible and will work with you if they feel like you’re a good fit for the job.

7. Research companies before you apply.

Do some research on the company before you apply for a role there. This will help you get a sense of if the company is a place you’d enjoy working at.

Check out each company’s website and social media channels to learn about their:

  • Values.
  • Mission statement.
  • Culture.
  • Benefits package.
  • Community involvement.

Knowing this information will also make you more prepared when you start interviewing.

Pro tip: You can also schedule informal meet-and-greets with recruiters to learn more about the company you’re interested in. Connect with recruiters on LinkedIn and see if they’d be available to meet with you over coffee or on the phone. 

8. Have your resume ready to go.

Make sure your resume is up-to-date and ready to submit at any time. You never know when an opportunity might present itself, so it’s essential to have a document that highlights your 

  • Skills.
  • Work experience.
  • Achievements.

Cater your resume to each job you apply for by weaving key aspects of the job posting throughout.

Pro tip: Call out extracurriculars and jobs you worked in college – it speaks to your work ethic and shows off your soft skills.

9. Work on your interviewing skills. 

Many employers ask mostly behavioral-based interview questions, which are often daunting to job seekers.  

Spend time brushing up on your video interview skills and in-person interview skills by reviewing your resume and considering real-life examples that you could use as answers. 

10. Have an open mind. 

Don’t skip applying for a job just because you don’t have experience. Even if you don’t have every single qualification for a position, it doesn’t mean you won’t get the job. A lot of employers will hire people for entry-level roles based on their soft skills and willingness to learn. 

Consider every prospect with curiosity and an open mind – you never know where it will lead you! 

Ace your first job interview.

Your first job interview can be nerve-wracking. Be prepared and impress the hiring team with these 11 tips.  
About the author
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Ashley is a Senior Campus Recruiter who started her journey at Schneider in 2015. Over the years, she has been involved in many special projects and operating plans that have helped the company's recruiting efforts. Ashley also oversees Schneider's Summer Internship Program: She enjoys working with colleges and students all over the country! Outside of work, Ashley is very busy attending her four children's sporting events and activities. She also loves biking, gardening and going on supper club dates with her husband.

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