Summer was made for children. Study hard from September through May, and you’ll be rewarded with three long months of swimming, popsicles and freedom. That’s the way it is beginning with kindergarten.
For recent college graduates, this summer is different. This summer consists of prowling the Internet for jobs where that fancy new degree can be used. But it can be difficult to focus with the welcoming sun beaming through the windows and sounds of children’s laughter filling the air.
If you’re a recent grad who needs a little help staying focused on the job hunt, check out my list of job-hunting tips to help you land a new job successfully.
1. Update Your Personal Brand
Many recent graduates are so excited at the possibility of a great job, they forget this vital step in the search process. A strong personal brand is essential to landing an interview because it distinguishes you from the other applicants. Starting here is a great way to kick off your search because it’s fun and easy to talk about yourself.
To update your personal brand, develop a brand statement and “elevator pitch.” Both should clearly state what you do and why it’s important to X company. Also, ensure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and make private any personal social media accounts.
2. Define The Job You Want
Nothing kills job hunt momentum more quickly than unrefined searches. Unrefined job searches deliver unrefined job results, so take time to think about what you want to do and where you want to go. Once you have an idea of the job you’d like, tailor your search to reflect your position’s criteria.
Keep in mind that not all results will be your dream job. If the results you receive aren’t what you want to do, perhaps you need to re-define what you’re looking for.
3. Write Objectives
Job search objectives should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound). Think carefully about what you want to achieve in your job search, then write it as on objective. An objective may be, “To compile a list of three strong job leads before Friday.” Objectives help you budget your time and efforts.
4. Ask A Professional To Be Your Job Search Mentor
Mom may be the best at nagging you in your job search efforts, but her constant, “Have you found a job yet?” text messages can kill momentum quickly. Tell mom you appreciate her concern for your career, then try to establish a mentor in your desired industry.
A great mentor may be a former college professor who still has connections in the industry or a former internship supervisor. Email or call your mentor with your job search progress at least once a week, and ask if they have any tips or suggestions about where and how you’ve been applying.
5. Make A Schedule
While applying for jobs should be your first priority, many recent graduates are overwhelmed with other responsibilities, like paying the bills for the first time. Don’t overdo it when it comes to applying for jobs. Limit your time spent on applying for jobs to at least one hour and no more than three hours a day. Anything longer will feel like a lifetime, especially in beautiful summer weather.
6. Cut Yourself Off From The Outside World
Job search time should be wholly devoted to finding jobs you want. It should not be used to catch up on personal email, answer text messages or update social media sites. As impossible as it sounds, turn off your cell phone and close all Internet windows not devoted to the search during your scheduled hours.
7. Apply For Internships As Well As Full-Time Positions
It’s easy for recent graduates to become discouraged in the job search. Many companies require at least two years experience for entry level positions, and they won’t count internship experience toward those years. If you find yourself unable to find a full-time position at a company, consider applying for a paid internship. While internships don’t offer medical benefits, they may lead to a full-time position with the company.
8. Get Off The Computer
Job search engines are great resources in locating jobs you want, but they’re not the only resource. Look for jobs in person by attending at least one networking event every month. Also join your university’s alumni group. It’s bursting with professionals eager to help a fellow alumnus out.
9. Don’t Be Desperate
The job hunt can be difficult for everyone, but, no matter how difficult your search may be, always remain positive. Don’t complain online or in person about how hard things seem, and never let a recruiter know that you’ve been passed on by numerous other companies.
10. Don’t Take Rejection Personally
Rejection happens. You must acknowledge that there may be better candidates than you applying for the same job, but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying. Acknowledging defeat will deter your focus and hinder your determination. To keep your focus, ask the company’s recruiter if you can have feedback about your application or interview. If given, improve upon the suggested areas and move on to the next lead.