How New Graduates Can Get Their First Adult Job

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7 Job Search Tips For New Grads

You’ve graduated, or are just about to graduate, and you are enthusiastic to get your first “real” adult job. It can seem daunting, knowing where to start, what should go on your resume, if you should write a cover letter… 

But how can you land a job you’ll love showing up to every day? And how can you stand out from the crowd?

Here are 7 things you need to do to land the great first job. 

1 | Back to Basics

Start by polishing up your resume and writing a cover letter. Chances are, you’ve taken a class that had you build a resume already. One of the big things many new grads feel is lacking on their resume is job experience. Not everyone had a high school job flipping burgers, a college work-study job, or an internship (though we highly recommend doing that last one–it’s never too late). Don’t panic! Employers know that what grads lack in on-the-job experience they make up for in enthusiasm, passion, and fresh thinking. So feature the skills you do have on your resume and include how passionate you are and what you can bring to the table in your cover letter. 

To learn more about writing a stellar cover letter, check out this article.

To learn more about writing a great resume, check out this article

2 | Network Star

We are talking about becoming the next network star of a TV show or news program here. We are talking about networking. The biggest part of landing that first job is finding where the jobs exist. Not all jobs are advertised. There’s an old saying that is still very true in today’s day in age: “It’s not always what you know, but who you know.” And networking is still one of the best ways to find a job. 

Start by talking with friends, family, and teachers if they know of any opportunities or leads. You can also join a professional development group or industry-specific group. This is often an untapped resource. 

Also, build a LinkedIn profile. Not only is it a great way to showcase your skills, but it can help you network with people in the industry you want to work in. You can even use LinkedIn to help find a mentor. While this might seem scary or a long shot, many adults view reaching out to them for such a possibility as impressive. And you only need one person to say yes to change everything for you!

3 | Online Presence

We mentioned LinkedIn, but you should strongly consider taking your online presence a step further. Build a professional website, especially if you need to show off a portfolio. Include your skills, degree, a head shot, and contact information. And building a website is so easy today! There are lots of options out there, but WordPress is one of the biggest and easiest to use. We do recommend buying your own domain name through a service like GoDaddy.

Another option is to establish a presence with your own blog, which you can also do through WordPress as well. Zero in on a professional topic related to your field, but if you are unsure about your path, then write about a subject that interests you. Either way, you’ll stand out as a thought leader in the area you are writing about–just remember to keep it professional. 

4 | Volunteer Work

Potential employers like to see job candidates with initiative. So get up off that couch and go volunteer for a cause you love. It’s a great way to help those in need while gaining new skills and keeping yourself busy. Also, you never know who you might meet while volunteering that could lead you to your first job! (Don’t forget to list your volunteer work on your resume too.)

5 | Expand Your Search

Some people know exactly the position they want and in what city, but it isn’t always available. So expand your requirements to find your first adult job. This may mean looking in another city or a slightly different job title. In fact, you might even have to look outside of your industry, depending on the job market. It may not be your first choice, but it can be a great starting point and you’ll learn plenty of new skills to add to that resume. 

6 | Don’t Wait

A lot of new grads probably hear the phrase, “Wait.” But our advice is to not wait. Don’t wait to hear back from a job you applied to–send that follow up email! In fact, after applying to a job or an interview, stick a note in your calendar to follow up 5 days later. 

7 | The Personality Puzzle Piece

Finally, employers are looking for more than just a warm body to fill a position. And you probably want more than that too. As a new grad, it can be hard to know if you’ll end up loving your first job or despising it, but we all know that the later is no fun and we want to avoid it if we can. But how can you avoid working in a job that you end up not loving? By working for a company that fits your personality! When your core values and personality match that of the company, research shows that you get more personal fulfillment out of it. Yes, paying off those student loans is great, but a paycheck can only make you so happy. To help you match up with companies that fit you well, try Workzinga! Our proprietary algorithm combines soft skills and personality insights for both job seekers and companies. We like to think of ourselves as the Tinder of the working world. Are you ready to swipe right?