I graduated from the University of Georgia in May 2020. And finding a job during a pandemic was tough. But, now working as a recruiter, I’ve been able to pick up some helpful job hunting tips along the way. Here are some things that I wish I had been told when I was first looking for a job.
Where to begin your job search
Graduating college can be scary. It’s the end of one chapter and the start of another exciting journey. When looking for your first job, here are some good places to start:
- Attend your school’s career fairs: It can seem intimidating, but this can really pay off. Career fairs allow you to meet with hiring managers from a bunch of different companies at once. And they’re a great opportunity to network.
- Ditch your middle school email address: If you haven’t already gotten rid of your first email address, do so right now. Change it to something professional and easily recognizable. If you have a common name, try first name, middle initial and last name.
- Connect with people on LinkedIn: Connect with people you know, people at places you want to work and people doing the job you want to do right now. Expanding your network is one of the easiest ways to do this and LinkedIn makes it easy.
- Have different versions of your resume, cover letter and references for different career paths: Make sure that you have a resume, cover letter and references that are tailored for different job opportunities and specialties. Keep them up-to-date and ready to go so that you have them at a moment’s notice. You never know when you might need to send them to someone. Putting them together ahead of time can save you lots of time.
- Add a personalized voicemail: If you miss a call from a hiring manager or a recruiter you want them to know that they have the right number right off the bat. So, ditch the automated voicemail message that comes with your phone and make your own.
- Use your network: Talk to friends, family members, really anyone you know who works in the field that you want to work in. Talk to them about their job, what they like, what they dislike. Put yourself in their shoes and see if it’s something you’d like to do. And they may even know someone who’s hiring.
Let’s talk LinkedIn
You need to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is not only up-to-date, but also filled with as much detail as possible. You can do that by:
- Adding descriptions under your job experiences: You can pull these from your resume. Descriptions help hiring managers and recruiters really get the full picture of your experience.
- Updating your location: Make sure that you change your location to where you’re going to be living after your graduate. This will help your profile come up in the right search.
- Updating your email: Make sure that your email is up-to-date. For example, if it’s currently your school email, you’re going to want to change it since you won’t have access to it forever.
- Including buzz words in your bio: Make sure you include things like “open to work” and other terms that are popular in your industry of choice. If it’s something you might hashtag in a LinkedIn post, include it.
- Customize your LinkedIn url: When you first create your LinkedIn profile it’ll populate a URL that’s filled with numbers and letters. Customizing your LinkedIn URL to just be your first and last name makes it look clean cut and is easier for people to find and remember.
- Add a cover photo: This is something easily overlooked. But it can really make a difference and allows for you to add personal branding to your LinkedIn.
- Include and update links to your portfolio/work samples: Triple check that all your links work and that they’re your most recent body of work. You always want to make sure your LinkedIn profile is polished. Links that don’t work or outdated samples look unprofessional.
Once you start applying, you probably won’t get the first job you apply for and that’s okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Every interview you have is a valuable experience you can use to learn something new about yourself and the industry. And remember, the more lines that you have in the water, the more likely something will catch.
To sum it up
At the end of the day, graduating college can be scary. But it’s also exciting. Have fun with your job search. This next chapter is fun, and it really isn’t as intimidating as you think. Use every experience to talk to someone and put yourself out there and soak it all in. It really will pay off.