Network, network, network!
Networking begins in college, by compiling a list of graduates with the same major, asking your professors if they can write recommendation letters and/or introduce you to contacts in the field. Exploit the network of alumni from your school as active contacts. Attend career and employer fairs at your college, collect business cards, and hand out resumes. If you have had a successful internship, contact people with whom you’ve forged a relationship for job leads. Use job sites and social media to identify and target companies. Visit their websites and postings at Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Though networking is an effective method of finding employment, it only helps if you do it right. Manciagli describes a bad example of networking in this way:
“I recently met a college graduate-to-be at a large event. She was quite engaging, and I mentioned that I was a job search coach (implying I might have some insights). She quickly reached into her pocket and said ‘Oh, good, here is my card, will you contact me?’ The good news is, she had a personal business card and didn’t whip out her device to connect with me on LinkedIn. The bad news is, she did not take ownership of collecting my information and I never heard from her again,” Manciagli said. “Learn how to prepare for networking events and list out your steps for things you will do before the event, at the event, and after the event. The more thought you put into it, the more results you will get out. The same holds true for career and job fairs.”
Think outside the face-to-face box.
If you’re not a social butterfly who feels comfortable going around the room talking to strangers, that’s okay—you can still network in a manner that makes you comfortable, Manciagli says.
“If you would rather have a tooth extracted than go to a networking event, then don’t go!” she said. “Find LinkedIn groups, local organizations with a Facebook group, online forums, and virtual career fairs. Either way, the same principles hold true: Have a clear goal, do your research, prepare your elevator pitch, and ask great questions.”
Promote yourself on social media.
Complete your profile on various social media platforms to build a post-college network. This can be done through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or even field-specific platforms like GitHub. Be sure to scrub any negative postings you have made on social websites as employers review them.
Need help cleaning up your social profiles? Check out our step-by-step guide for college students and recent grads who need a little help making their profiles ready for professional success.
Conduct an Informed job search.
Don’t wait for recruiters to come knocking at your door or an offer to fall into your lap. Search for relevant openings on job boards like Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, Dice, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor and commit time every day to finding positions. Also, you can create email alerts that notify you when pertinent jobs become available.
Don’t commit random acts of applications.
Although it’s important to apply for jobs, it’s also imperative to be strategic. Sending applications to any and every job post on a board is not going to improve your chances of landing a job.
“Some college grads are just flipping through job postings, not reading the full job description, then pressing ‘send’ with their resume attached,” said Manciagli. “They may send 25, 50, or even 100 per month then wait…and continue waiting.”
Look for a suitable temporary job or internship.
When all else fails, find a temporary bridge job or paid internship. Depending on your finances and the length of time it takes to land the right position, consider taking a bridge job where you can gain useful experience in marketing, information technology, communications, customer service and other in-demand skills. Forbes Magazine points out that unrelated bridge jobs may have appeal such as dog walking, pumping caffeine as a barista or serving on a restaurant’s wait staff. The magazine cites benefits of a bridge job, including regaining your confidence, fueling your desire to actively search for the right job, and making sufficient income to tide you over.