Let’s be honest. Applying for a job can stressful for anyone, especially those doing it for the first time. The good news is the unemployment rate for recent college grads is lower than that is the overall workforce. So how can you find your preferred job upon graduation?
1. Start Applying Early
Depending on what kind of position you are seeking, it could be necessary to start applying before spring. If you are seeking a summer or post-graduate internship, you are encouraged to apply possibly as early as a few months before graduation. It could take a while to hear back, but beginning the application process early gives you more time to explore your options and send out applications to multiple different places.
2. Be Prepared to Handle Rejection
Nobody likes being rejected, whether it’s for a school dance, a team sport, or a job position. Unfortunately, rejections are a part of the job process and it is important to be able to quickly bounce back and try again. Rejection is not personal- it may just mean the position was not meant for you now. Always be willing to try again.
3. Avoid “The Black Hole”
When applying for a position, understand that your application is likely one of many, many applications that a Human Resources Manager is sifting through. Only a select few get a closer look, and the rest are discarded. For many job seekers, this means not hearing back from anyone, and it can feel like your application is being sucked into a black hole never to be seen again. To avoid the black hole, you need to make sure you stand out from the crowded field of applicants. Even if you do not have a personal connection with anyone within the organization, it is helpful to directly contact someone to let them know you are interested. Directly speaking to a person can help you stand out and increase your odds of hearing back.
4. Keywords, Keywords, Keywords.
Make sure your resume and cover letter are structured specifically toward the type of job you are applying for. Most job postings come with a list of “keywords”, or specific skills or traits held by an ideal candidate. Try to include as many keywords as possible in your resume, even if this means sending out a different resume for different positions. In several cases resumes are scanned by the number of specific keywords they include.
5. Don’t be Scared Away by Required Experience
It’s the ultimate paradox in job searching- I can’t get a job because I don’t have experience, but I can’t gain experience if I don’t have a job. It can feel like you are being set up to fail, but you should not let a lack of experience scare you away from applying to certain positions. Not all experience has to come from previous jobs or internships. Experience can come from class projects, extracurricular activities, or leadership roles. Furthermore, you can highlight experiences demonstrating traits including leadership, organization, or attention to detail, even if these examples come outside of an office setting.