How to Land That First Job out of College
By Khadejah Stegall
Khadejah is a part of the TLC College Ambassador Program and attends North Carolina A&T University.
Searching for entry-level jobs can be a pain especially when most positions require you to have eight to ten years of experience. It’s hard to figure out where to look and determine which positions you should be applying for to reach your career goal. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you land that ideal entry level job out of college.
Filter out “entry-level” options when you search
When you narrow your options down for a company that is hiring for a thousand positions, you won’t waste your time looking for jobs that require years of experience. If you want to become more specific, filter out the department you are looking to work in as well. If nothing is available, sign up for an alert to be sent to your email when a position opens up.
Attend information sessions and career fairs
Career fairs can be overwhelming and loaded with people who want the same job you want. Some companies that come out for career fairs hold information sessions. This is a chance to be in an intimate setting with recruiters and really get your foot into the door. Ask good questions and articulate why you would be a great fit for the position you are seeking.
Fill the application out just as they ask
Many times applicants do not follow simple directions and automatically get counted out. You could have been qualified for the job, but because you didn’t follow directions or misunderstood a question, you lost out on the opportunity.
Clean up your social media
Recruiters become sad when they find an awesome candidate but head to their social media to see something they don’t like or doesn’t reflect the person you are on paper. Social media is starting to become a virtual resume. Your social media says a lot about the person you are and how you will represent the brand. Be careful what you post and what you like.
Have a strong cover letter
There may be a job opportunity that you felt fit you perfectly but you are shy a year of experience they are asking for. Your cover letter is your chance to sell yourself. Keep it short and straight to the point and highlight why you are a great fit for the job and company culture.
Let someone proofread your application
Four eyes are better than two. If you have a grammatical or spelling error, it could really hurt you. Set up a list of people who can proofread your application. Don’t rely on one person because people are busy and sometimes their schedule may not work out.
Let people know you are looking
You should start applying for jobs about six months prior to when you are ready to start. Put the word out to your mentors, professors, old bosses and let people know you are looking for a job.
Always be prepared for an opportunity
Keep your resume and portfolio on you at all times. You can keep a copy in your car or a digital copy that is convenient for you to get to if you meet someone. I went to a networking session once and a recruiter was really interested in a guy but he didn’t have his resume on him! You have to stay prepared.
Join communities that recruit
This includes your college career services and other young professional communities that send out job opportunities. Reach out to your mentors or people that are close in age to you and ask them about resources they used to find their first entry-level job.
LinkedIn is a must
If you don’t have a LInkedIn, you are automatically counting yourself out. Many recruiters look for candidates on LinkedIn and you can even apply directly to jobs using your profile. TLC gives tips on how to grow your LinkedIn and have a recruiter in your inbox.
The process is tedious, but with hard work, attention to detail and networking, you can land your first entry-level job out of college.
Khadejah Stegall is a college mommy blogger that inspires others to achieve the impossible through the power of Jesus. She enjoys family time, eating vegan meals when it's convenient and mentoring others on professional development. To be inspired by more post, follow her blog at khadejahstegall.com.