5 Best Ways to Land a Job After College
Embarking on the overwhelming journey of finding your first job out of college? Don’t worry, overwhelm is a natural feeling at this stage of your life. I certainly felt this way when I graduated and had gone 5+ months without landing a job. Now, 6 years later, I look back and realize I was doing a lot of things wrong between my resume, outreach, networking, and just spending time in areas I shouldn’t have been. Here’s a list of best practices that I now know works and I wasn’t doing right out of school...
Include Numbers on Resume!
Quantifiable results… It’s a term all recruiters tell candidates to include on their resume. The biggest mistake I see from students fresh out of college is that they aren’t including enough numbers on their resume. I’ll see experience listed as, “Raised money” or “gathered data, resulting in vendor investments to increase sales” or “selected out of group to train new hires at internship.”
How to make that sound better? Back it up with numbers..
“Raised $28k as marketing intern”
“Gathered data, resulting in 6 new brand investments to increase sales 21%”
“Selected by VP out of 12 interns to train new hires, developed onboarding plan”
Very slight adjustments but this adds so much color to your experience and accomplishments. Also, hiring manager’s eyes are naturally drawn towards numbers. With the average hiring manager spending 10 seconds on a resume, they are going to be skimming it for some impressive numbers so make sure to include them! When in doubt, numbers speak louder than overzealous adjectives.
Reach out to Hiring Managers directly
Email your potential boss directly? This is something I never imagined doing right out of school… Truth is, not a lot of people are thinking about doing it either and that is exactly why it’s a great idea. It’s a strong way to make yourself stand out. Hiring managers find it more flattering than “annoying” or “creepy” if that’s what you’re thinking. There is NOTHING weird about doing your research on a position/company, finding out who your potential supervisor would be, and sending an email directly to them expressing your sincere interest and why you think you’d be a great fit for the job. Sometimes you need to be bold, and rise above the noise (aka the hundreds of resumes sitting in HR’s email).
If you think about it - the person that has the most urgency to fill the position is your future boss. They’re the ones that decided they needed someone for this role, not HR. The hiring manager always has more urgency to fill the position so they wouldn’t be upset at all to see a young, eager and compelling candidate’s resume drop into their inbox.
Include “highlight” section towards top
Make sure your resume and experience speaks to the job you are applying to know. This is generally common knowledge, but a good thing to do is to include a “Highlight” section towards the top of the page. In this section, include your biggest accomplishments or “bragging points” that’s relative to the job you’re applying to. If it’s for a writing position, include number of publications with perhaps a link to your work and the best thing you did at your internship. If it’s for an engineering position, again include a highlight at an internship or any type of relevant school project and may have won an award for. (If you did, share out of how many participants..remember, numbers!)
Utilize Professors/Everyone possible to Network
Once you’re ready to graduate, you should shift your mindset that professors exist simply to teach you a course and give you a grade. An excellent way to find a job is to leverage a professor’s network outside of college to help you get a foot in the door. Most professors have impressive careers outside of teaching and more than likely have connections at places you want to work. You don’t know until you ask! Also, don’t be afraid to throw yourself out there and seek any and every connection you have between your family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. Attend seminars, career fairs, seminars, etc. Get creative with it!
Don’t spend too much time on cover-letter
The rare truth is not many companies look at your cover letter. I remember spending so much time adjusting my cover letter so it spoke directly to the job I was applying to, thinking that it would win me the job. Companies are first drawn to your resume and if it looks good enough they maybe...maybe, will glance at your cover letter. Spend more of your time tweaking your resume and on strategic outreach to these companies.
More than happy to help walk you through this on a personal level .. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and get 1:1 attention to make sure you’re on the right path with your resume and getting a job! :)