Approaching my college graduation, I was terrified. Think: nightmares, genuinely terrified that I would never be the successful young professional I wanted to be. Stepping onto that stage, I was not only nervous to leave school and start a new life, but I also wanted to find a job that paid well where I could be independent. Even if I was starting with an entry level job!
That combined with the fact that my mom said I would have to pay rent in my own home if I didn’t have a job within three months after graduation (still not sure if she was kidding), I was ready to go into the workforce.
The worst part? I never felt like my college prepared me for finding a job. Sure, I knew statistics and all about my college major, yet, I had no idea what a job consisted of that used the skills, or even how to go about finding a place of work in the first place. Can anyone else relate? Even years later, I truly think this is why so many people feel lost in their early 20s.
If you’re a college student, no fear, I’m sharing exactly how you can prepare yourself and get a job QUICKLY after you graduate from your university.
Students: How You Can Get An Entry-Level Job Right After College Graduation
Do Research On The Different Types of Roles
I remember watching a movie and seeing a brand name on the screen (like a Coke bottle in the background) and wondering, whose job is it to make those deals? There’s definitely a job for EVERYONE!
If I was trying to figure out what your first job should be in starting your career, brainstorm your dream role! Then think about all the people who probably work to make that role happen. I also wrote a post on how to figure out your life if you are ever feeling stuck to get started.
I was a journalism major in college and knew that after graduation, I didn’t want to work at a magazine or newspaper – because I truly didn’t think those types of jobs would pay well. I didn’t realize that I could use my same skills in advertising.
Part of the reason I loved journalism was because I loved storytelling. Eventually, I found a job in advertising that allowed me to exercise that passion!
Understand What Entry Level Jobs Are Available
When you’re first starting out, you’ll likely be in an entry-level job. Now, this may not be the ‘sexiest’ classification of your job title but it’s the job you’ll likely be starting out with. My mom always says to simply understand that you can learn something from EVERY situation, so embrace the situation you are in! Also, how AWKWARD is it that my mom was right about so many career things (I’ve mentioned her twice in this post alone…!)?! *I can’t*, let’s hope she’s not reading…
Plus – there are advantages to being in an entry-level job – it gives you a chance to start in a situation where you’ll be on a career path and move up the totem pole.
Start networking with people whose jobs
don’t make you want to hide under the covers sound like fun. Work?! Fun?! Did she just say those two words in the same sentence?! YES.
The crazy part about jobs is: we don’t really know what people in those roles do all day. Sure, you can ask during your interview what the “day to day” is like and you may get a general answer, but there’s SO much you won’t know until you actually talk to someone in the job. Like, you don’t know if the job requires coffee runs until you’re actually in it, you know?!
If I were you, I’d write a quick LinkedIn note (or by email guessing, detailed in this post) to people in a job that sounds like something you may want to do. If you’re in the same city, ask for a coffee. Or else, ask for a video conference via Google hangout, or even phone call! Simply say you want to understand their job so you can potentially be in that role one day!
If you need a quick networking email template, see here:
So nice to meet you, I found your name on LinkedIn and wanted to connect. I’m a [year you are in college] and looking to understand different career opportunities before graduation. I’d love to hop on a call to understand more about your role, in addition to the skills I would need to be in your position one day.
Are you free for a quick [call/coffee] on [date]? I’m looking forward to connecting and learning from you!
[Your name here]
Go On Informational Interviews
If you’ve never heard of an informational interview, now’s the time! An informational interview is basically a setup time to “interview” for a company or a job, without an actual role on the table. Basically, this is a time for HR to get to know you or your experiences. AKA, show someone how awesome you are. K!?
Information interviews are amazing for a few reasons:
- You’re able to learn more about the company for you
- You’ll be top of mind in any upcoming jobs
- You are networking & creating a contact
Similarly to networking, you can always email HR from your dream companies and ask to informationally interview. Companies will WANT to have a steady stream of candidates in their pipeline.
Create Your Resume
I have a pro tip for you: when you are available to apply for jobs (i.e. a senior year or close to graduation), you’ll need to have your RESUME READY!
All of a sudden, you are going to be networking and someone is going to say, “actually, we have a job available in my department that you should apply for”. The company won’t want you to wait 10 days to apply, so you’ll need to have a buttoned-up up resume on hand when you start networking!
College students – I’m SO excited for you to get a ton of job interviews right after your graduation!
If you follow these tips, I know you’ll be good to go!
Let me know if you have any questions and comment below.