15 Career Tips for Recent Grads

Those looking to get ahead financially should leverage their social networks and school resources.

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Recent graduates are facing an uphill battle when it comes to finding jobs. While the unemployment rate is getting better, landing a job is still very tough for those with little experience. Here are 15 tips for recent grads looking for work.

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Do Your Research

Before you go in for your interview, be sure to research the company you are applying to. By having an in depth understanding of the company as well as some background information on whoever is interviewing you, you will come across as prepared and interested in the company.

Practice Interviewing

Take time to practice interviewing before you go in for an interview. Have a family member or friend ask you the most common interview questions so you can be polished and know what you are going to say ahead of time instead of winging it.

Come Prepared With Questions

At the end of any job interview, the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions for them. Make sure you have a few questions to ask the interviewer. This can be anything from “what do you like best about your job?” to “how would you describe the work atmosphere here?” By asking a few questions, you show interest in the interviewer and the company.

When in Doubt, Dress Up

If you aren’t sure what kind of dress is expected of employees, be sure to go more formal than informal. By dressing up, you show that you are professional and that you are taking the interview process seriously.

Be Flexible

When applying for jobs, be flexible about where you apply. Don’t limit yourself to just one city or one company. Keep an open mind about all potential opportunities.

Keep Building Your Resume

While you apply for jobs, continue to build your resume. Take on an internship, volunteer, or take on a part time job. By continuing to build your resume and increase your skill set, you make yourself more marketable to potential employers.

Figure Out Where You Are Going Wrong

If you aren’t landing any jobs, take a look at where you are going wrong. If you aren’t getting any interviews, go back over your resume and spruce it up by getting more experience or adding information to it. If you are getting interviews but not jobs, practice your interviewing skills so that you can be more successful in your interviews and potentially get job offers.

Utilize Your Network

Reach out to the people in your professional network for their assistance in your job hunt. Oftentimes when it comes to getting hired, it’s not what you know but who you know. So send along your resume and have your contacts pass it along to anyone they know at their HR department. (See also: Networking Basics for Regular People)

Don’t Rely Solely on the Internet

When searching for a job, don’t depend solely on the Internet. Be sure to attend job fairs, industry events, and utilize other networking opportunities to get your resume out there.

Have an Elevator Speech

An elevator speech is a 30 second spiel about your experience and career goals. Having an elevator speech is not only a great way to quickly introduce yourself at networking events but is also a good way to answer the “tell me about yourself” interview question.

Sign Up for LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great way to get all of your professional contacts in one place for networking. Sign up for LinkedIn, add everyone you know, and make sure to fill out your profile completely. LinkedIn also has a job search tool, so take advantage of that.

Send Thank You Notes

After every interview, be sure to send thank you notes to each person who interviewed you. Sending a thank you note shows that you appreciate the interviewer’s time and gives you an advantage over candidates who don’t send thank you notes.

Do What You Love

No matter what, take a job that you will love. If you don’t, you will be miserable and probably won’t end up staying at your job very long. Be sure you are happy with what you are doing.

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Don’t Get Discouraged

If you are getting lots of rejections, don’t get discouraged. Remember that times are tough right now and getting a job is hard. Keep sending out your resume and stay positive.

Utilize Your School’s Resources

Most schools will give graduates access to their career center up to one year after graduation. So head on over to your career center to get your resume critiqued, practice your interviewing skills, and check out recent job postings.

Ashley Jacobs is the college correspondent for personal finance blog Wise Bread. Follow her latest tweets on @CollegeCents.