Gearing Up for Graduation: The Job Hunt

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Finding a job after college is hard, but the questions that come with it? Even more frustrating. We soon-to-be graduates are always hearing, “What are you doing after graduation? Do you have a job?” So, for those of use who have not yet secured a full-time post-grad position, the job application process is in full swing. That’s why I turned to Jill Jacinto, millennial expert and associate director for WORKS by Nicole Williams, to get some tips on finding a job. Here’s what she had to say.

Network. College was the time to gain valuable experiences through internships and jobs — now it’s time to see the hard work pay off. Reach out to former bosses and colleagues, Jacinto said. When you reach out, do not explicitly ask for a job. Instead, try and set up informational interviews to learn about possibilities in the field. Ask for advice and tips that they may have for a soon-to-be graduate in your position. Be accommodating to their schedule and be grateful that they are taking the time to speak with you. Furthermore, utilize today’s technology, especially LinkedIn. It is a valuable source where you can connect with alumni, apply to jobs, and learn about different types of professions.

Apply smartly. When you find a position that you are interested in, do not just send in a resume and cover letter blindly. If you see that it is a generic email address, such as jobs@­­_____.com, try and find an actual hiring manager, Jacinto recommends. This will reduce the chance of your application being lost among hundreds of other candidates. It will also show that you are dedicated enough to take the time to ensure that your resume is found.

Stand out in your interview. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Jacinto said that an interview is your opportunity to demonstrate what you can bring to the table. You need to set yourself apart from other candidates, so you need to show that you are knowledgeable and reliable. Study the company and its history. Perhaps they have recently been mentioned in the news and you can mention it in your interview. Make sure that you know the details of the position you are applying to. Come up with relevant examples to your work experience so you can demonstrate how you are a perfect fit. Come prepared with questions, but not housekeeping questions. Asking about upcoming projects and company goals shows that you are thinking long-term.

Present yourself appropriately. Many applicants assume that you must wear a suit on a job interview. However, different jobs have different environments, Jacinto said. Someone applying to an accounting position may wear something different than someone interviewing for a position in an art gallery. While you must look presentable, you are allowed to get creative and show your personality. Interviewers are looking for someone who can bring a fresh perspective to their work environment.

Stick up for yourself. There is no denying that finding a job is difficult and you may feel pressured to accept your first offer. If that’s the case, what should you do? “Go with your gut,” Jacinto said. The worst thing you can do is settle for a job where you know you’ll be miserable. If you see red flags during an interview, and you do not feel comfortable, then keep looking for a better position. On the other hand, if you have been interviewing for a while, and you are not receiving offers, then maybe you should be less picky.

When it comes to salary, you can negotiate, even though it may seem awkward. Try to avoid the conversation until you have been offered the position. While your first job will probably not be paying a lucratively as you would like, you deserve a fair salary. Once you receive an offer, be realistic. Research what other salaries are on websites such as Salary.com and Glassdoor.com, Jacinto said. You can also reach out to your LinkedIn connections to see what their starting salaries were or what entry-level positions are offering.

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