Entering the workforce for the first time can be an intimidating prospect, especially when your job experience is limited because you've spent the past four years pursuing a college degree. The good news, however, is that today's job market is healthy and robust, and there are plenty of opportunities out there. In fact, recent grads are pretty optimistic about their job prospects, with 59% anticipating finding a job in less than one to two months after wrapping up their studies, according to Monster.
That said, a strong job market doesn't always correlate to immediately finding work. If you really want to get hired quickly, you'll need to approach your job search strategically. Here's how.
1. Tweak your resume as needed
It takes time to put a resume together, even with a limited work history. As such, you may be inclined to leave that document as-is when applying for jobs. On the other hand, if you're willing to tweak your resume to fit the specific roles you apply to, you'll have a greater chance of getting called in for an interview.
Imagine you're applying to a marketing job. Wouldn't it pay to list the marketing courses you took during college (especially the ones you aced)? On the other hand, if you're applying for a job at a financial firm, you're better off highlighting the accounting and finance courses you excelled at. Prepare to spend a little time making adjustments to your resume during the job application process, because the more tailored that document is, the more of a good fit you'll appear to be.
2. Invest in a solid cover letter
Many job applicants throw together brief, generic cover letters under the assumption that no one is reading them. But actually, your cover letter is an opportunity to showcase your personality and explain what you bring to the table. It's also a good way to prove to employers that you're interview-worthy, even with your limited work experience. Therefore, take the time to craft a solid cover letter that hits on these points. And, like your resume, be prepared to tweak it on a job-by-job basis.
3. Network like crazy
When you're new to the workforce, one of the most effective means of getting a job is having someone you know endorse you as a candidate. That's why it pays to spend some time networking once you graduate from college. Attend local meetups, reach out to alumni, and tap all the other resources you have, like family members, friends, and neighbors, to see who knows of a decent job opening for you. Also, don't hesitate to enlist the help of your former college professors -- chances are, they know a few people who might help you out, too.
4. Be open-minded
There's nothing wrong with mapping out the type of job you want in your head and applying to roles that meet your criteria. But, if after a number of weeks of searching, you don't seem to be getting anywhere, you may need to rethink your picture of what your first job will look like. The first role you land post-college may not be the exciting endeavor you initially wanted it to be, but if the work seems reasonably interesting, the pay is good, and the experience is useful, then it may be worth doing until you establish yourself.
The sooner you land a job, the sooner you can start chipping away at your student debt, saving money, and setting yourself up as a full-fledged adult. Following these tips could get you hired relatively quickly, especially in a booming job market like the one we're experiencing today.