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Landing your dream job: 5 tips for recent graduates to consider

May 20, 2019

If you are a recent graduate, or are approaching graduation, you are probably thinking about your new life adventure: landing that first big job in your industry. It can be daunting, especially if you don’t know where to start.

Here are five things recent graduates should do in order to land that first serious job.

Networking

Networking is one of the most critical things you will need to do throughout your career. You will never be perfect when you start, but with practice, your skills will quickly improve.

One thing to consider when networking is to not think of it as a transaction. Go in with the objective to meet people that are like-minded, spend time getting to know them and see how you can add value to what they are working on. Remember, it’s not about the quantity of people that you meet, but the quality.

Not sure what events to even go to? Meetup is a great tool that can help you narrow down your search as it will show you what’s going on around the city.

Freshen up that resume 

While expanding your network is important in a job search, updating your resume is equally significant as it’s your main selling feature. To have a resume that stands out, you need to make sure it is clear and concise; leave longer explanations for your cover letter and interview.

Write about your achievements, not just what you did. For example, if you helped grow a social channel’s following by 50%, make sure you include that.

Example: “Grew _______’s Facebook page by 50% through consistent paid advertising targeting an interest-based audience in Canada.”

            Or:

Spearheaded the ________ campaign which saw 57 new applicants sign up to the monthly newsletter.”

Before submitting your resume, make sure that there are absolutely no grammar, formatting, or spelling mistakes. One spelling mistake can deter an employer from giving your application serious consideration. Even if you have looked over your resume numerous times, have a second pair of eyes to look at it, just in case you missed something. 

Volunteering

If you are a Millennial, or even part of Generation Z, you know the struggle with employers: they want you to have experience to qualify for an entry level job. But if you’ve spent your undergrad career studying and working part-time at a coffee shop or restaurant, you likely don’t have “enough” experience for what you are looking for.

This is where volunteering is a useful tool to help supplement your resume with vital skills and experience.

A great resource to check out is Go Volunteer, which lets you view volunteer opportunities based on interest, position type, and distance. Find something you are passionate about, and that could go a long way.

Volunteering also presents valuable opportunities to expand your network. You never know if someone you meet volunteering will end up wanting you for a job position one day.

Interview prep

It’s never a good sign when you interview for a company and you don’t know what they do.

Do a lot of research, speak about your findings, give feedback and show companies how you will add value to their organization.

You are not being interviewed to see if you can do the job, but rather to demonstrate the value you will add to the business. Keep a list of questions ready once your interview comes to an end. You should ask questions about the team you would be working with, the culture around the office, what exciting things they are working on, and what the interviewers love most about the company.

Do not ask about compensation in your first interview, bad idea. 

Mentorships

This might be one of the most powerful resources you have at your fingertips. The opportunity to learn from people that are already successful and credible in the industry will be one of the biggest catalysts for growth in your career.

There are many factors you will want to consider when looking for the right mentor, but one of the most important things to consider is aligning yourself with people that carry the same values that you do. This can be in your work or personal life, and will tremendously help you connect with the other person. It also means that the advice and guidance that you do get from them is going to point you in the right direction.

Although graduation signals the end of your academic experience (depending on where you want to go), there are many things you can do to help prepare yourself for your job hunt. These things include networking, freshening up your resume, considering volunteering, and preparing for interviews with the help of a mentor.

Finishing school doesn’t need to be scary; it can be a great time to reorganize yourself, and get prepared for what lies ahead. Put the time and work in now, and you’ll thank yourself later.