You’ve walked the stage, have thrown your cap in the air and now you gear up for the job hunt. Your friends keep boasting about their offers, but nothing pops up in your inbox. It may feel easy to give up and decide to live in your parents’ basement forever, but don’t lose hope quite yet. All the classes you took related to your major, the study groups you took part in and the clubs you participated in have given you the knowledge to land this job.
If you feel stuck, here are 10 ways to help you start your job-searching journey.
1. Make sure to create multiple resumes
Don’t confuse your resume for a super soaker and spray the same one on every job. “What I would consider to be the number one killer of a successful job search, is sending the same application material to many different companies,” University of California, Berkeley career counselor Katie Crawford said. “You should be tailoring your resume each time you apply to something, making sure you are drawing direct lines from that job description on to your resume.” For instance, if you plan on applying to a publishing house, don’t include that you worked as a research assistant in the media studies department. The title might look good to some related positions, but it won’t have any relevance to what the publishing house wants. Take it out to make your resume clean and concise. Keep your resume under one page, to make it quick and easy for the recruiter’s eyes to scan.
2. Part-time jobs will get your foot through the door
Moving your way up from that summer job at your favorite trendy retailer as a part-time sales associate may end up working out in your favor. Don’t look down on part-time jobs; they can build up your network and teach you the dynamics of how a company works from the inside. Getting promoted from a sales associate to a position in the corporate office will give you a deeper and better understanding of the brand; whereas, hopping between different retail businesses you may not fully understand the values of each company and lack loyalty. As an insider, you will have a leg up on any external candidates who want the same position you have your eye on.
3. Intern your way into that permanent position
For any introverts out there, you can’t find a better way to get over your social anxiety than to intern over the summer and gain experience in your job field. You will learn useful skills while interning, such as how to communicate effectively and how to collaborate well. Learning competencies like communication at the level of an intern will help you for the rest of your career and sway your employers. Impressing your bosses at your internship might persuade them to give you a permanent position.
4. Your friends might know about a job opening
You’ve networked in college and have established many friendships along the way, ask around and see if any of your friends have heard about an open position. “If you have friends at every type of job then you can be like, ‘Hey next time there is an opening, I’m down for the job,’” University of California, Los Angeles graduate Gabriela Marquez said. “That’s how I’ve gotten all the jobs I’ve ever had. Every single one of them in LA has been because I knew somebody.” This may also increase your chances of getting hired, since the recruiter already associates you with the person recommending you.
5. Clean up what you don’t want your employers to see on social media
For employers, screening your social media account has turned into the 2018 version of a background check. Before calling you in for an interview, employers screen every detail of your social media in order to get an understanding of you. While you may feel tempted to show off a crazy night out with friends on your social media platforms, your potential employer will develop their first impression based on what you post. Save your wild nights out for Snapchat and keep all other public platforms PG.
6. Campus organizations also help you gain experience
Let’s say you couldn’t do any internships for whatever reason. Experience can come from the organizations and clubs you participated in at your university instead. “There is a lot of talk out there about the internship being the new entry level job, and it’s impossible to get a job without an internship, and that’s not necessarily the case,” Crawford said. “It is definitely the case for marketing yourself effectively and knowing what experiences employers do care about, in addition to internships.” You can still buff up your resume by listing relevant experiences, coursework, projects or leadership positions, such as treasurer of a club. How you used your time as an undergraduate will act as an important part during your hiring process.
7. Ask insightful questions about the job posting at the end of the interview
Employers give you a cheat sheet to their ideal candidate, so why not use it? Their job postings list all the qualifications they seek, such as prioritizing responsibilities to decision making. Go to your interview prepared to answer questions that relate to the position. Your prior research will get you prepared to give specific examples; this will show the interviewer you have the qualifications they want. At the end of your interview, you should ask questions back to show you have invested time in learning more about their company. Ask about specific details you read while researching and spark up an interesting conversation.
8. Hunt down your mentor
Do you have a professor who you find inspiring and whose steps you aspire to follow? Go to their office hours and ask them if they can mentor you. Mentors can give you helpful advice on what direction you want to take or stop you from making terrible decisions they might have made themselves. If you feel lost, or don’t know where to start, remember they have gone down the same path as you. Networking with your mentor through social media can result in meeting new people and finding more job opportunities. “I’m always throwing myself out there and going the extra mile of finding people on LinkedIn within the job market, and I send them my resume because you never know who’s going to see them,” Marquez said. “That’s how I got the Universal Group call, because I sent my resume to five people and one of them sent it to HR.” Websites like LinkedIn stand as a perfect example of where you can use networking to the best of your abilities.
9. You have nothing to lose by applying for jobs you don’t completely qualify for
Applying for a job you may not have all the qualifications for might increase your chances of landing one. “We still encourage those students to apply, because sometimes a qualification list is still a wish list rather than a requirement list,” Crawford said. Even if you don’t have all of the qualifications recruiters have listed, you might have others that make up for what you lack. For instance, if recruiters have posted that they seek someone with at least two years of experience in the working field, they might appreciate that you interned for a few months in a relevant position.
10. Put the knowledge you already have to the test
Think about all the accomplishments you have achieved leading up to this point as you walk in for the job. “Make sure you give yourself the credit you deserve,” UC Berkeley graduate Evelia Noriega said. “And feel comfortable talking about yourself.” Everything you have done leading up to this day has prepared you for the job you want. Remain positive in your ability to get the job you desire because how you carry yourself will impact the recruiters’ decision to hire you. Before you know it you’ll have a job offer in your inbox and enough saved up for a security deposit to move out of the basement of your parents’ house.