Writing your resume, sending out applications, networking, prepping for interviews – all necessary steps for figuring out how to land that first job out of college. The process can be stressful and overwhelming, but hearing what employers are looking for may help you narrow your focus.
Experience Doesn't Always Have to Be Job-Related
Figuring out what to put on a resume can be hard, but recruiters and potential employers know you're straight out of college and might not have lots of relevant work experience yet – and that's okay! Any small jobs you had in high school or on campus are important because they speak to your motivation and hard work.
Were you involved in any clubs on campus? Include those too! Rising to leadership positions in any of your extracurricular activities is something all recruiters love to see because it illustrates your potential to grow and lead in a company. Even if you weren't in a leadership position, you might have led a project or taken the lead on a committee. Any involvement is good involvement.
Balance Your Networking
Networking can be tricky – you want to find a potential employer, but don't want to seem pushy or overbearing. So how do you navigate that balancing act? Just ask for time! If you meet a friend of your family in your career field or an alumnus from your school, ask if you can grab coffee or have a brief meeting with them about their experience. They were once in your shoes and chances are they'd love to share their journey with you. You never know when someone can open your eyes to a new path, and learning about their pitfalls could help you avoid making the same mistakes.
Ace the Career Fair
Career fairs are great opportunities to get your name out there, but sometimes it's easy to get lost when there are hundreds of students participating. Have your 30-second elevator pitch down pat. Make sure you're dressed professionally and have multiple copies of your resume and/or business cards. Do your research on the companies attending and ask questions about recent projects they've done. Most importantly, ask for the best way to follow up with them – and do it! Showing your genuine interest in the company will only help you down the road.
Before you schedule an interview, ask the recruiter or hiring manager what type of interview you should prepare for. Having an informative or behavioral interview is totally fine too -- it's all part of the networking and job application process. See if your school's career center has mock interview sessions or interview prep seminars. Research the company as thoroughly as you can -- don't just skim. Read articles about the company, look at recent projects and most importantly, have thoughts and opinions on the firm. There are no right or wrong answers, but having some ideas on the company shows your determination, skill sets and how you can play a part in the company's future successes.
There's a lot to prepare for once you're ready to leave college and start your career. Knowing how to highlight your accomplishments will leave you confident, prepared and ready to conquer the workforce!