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Advice for Recent College Graduates Entering the Job Market

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I was recently approached by a client whose son would soon be graduating college.  He was seeking advice on what actions his son should be taking to improve his chances of landing an entry-level role at a desirable company.  This blog is a result of that conversation. If you’ve recently graduated college or know someone who has, chances are you’ve already discovered it’s a very competitive job market.  Here are some tips for getting your foot in the door to get that first interview:

  1. Flattery is a Great Icebreaker

Seek out companies you see yourself working and follow them on LinkedIn.  Cyberstalk the hiring managers on LinkedIn/Twitter.  Research and follow their careers.  Were there any press releases or blogs that impacted you?  Use this all as fodder when you reach out to them and introduce yourself.  Apply through the company career page to the attention of that hiring manager and reference said blog/article.  Follow up with a LinkedIn InMail (see below).

  1. Maximize Your Network

Whether within your Alumni or from internships, spread the word that you’re ready to join the job force.  Ask for introductions.  Tap into your parent’s network.  Create the context and compelling reason why the introduction should be made on your behalf.

  1. Tailor Your Resume 

For every single position you want to apply, make sure your resume is tailored so that it is “speaking into the listening” of the hiring manager.  Make it easy for them to correlate your experience to their immediate need.  Some people want to fill up their resume, cramming in as much information but that is actually distracting for the person on the other end.  Hiring managers and recruiters spend about 6-8 seconds on a resume.  If it’s too busy, chances are it will go into the “no” pile.  Also, be sure that your work history is written in the proper tense and with proper spelling/punctuation.

  1. Keep the Cover Letter Brief

Keep your cover letter brief and to the point.  Again, here, make sure your cover letter is tailored to the company/job you’re applying to.  Avoid generalities and make sure your spelling and punctuation are perfect.

  1. Update Your LinkedIn Page

Have a strong headline to get attention.  Make sure you use keywords in your summary and in your employment history.  Be sure to notate any “internships”, “contracts” or “freelance” work as such.  Short-term employment can look like a red flag otherwise.  Make sure your dates of employment match your resume and include the months, not just years.  You may also consider signing up for LinkedIn Premium in order to expand your available network and be able to send InMails directly to hiring managers.

  1. Register with Recruiters

Reach out to recruiters who specialize in placing entry-level talent.  For example, https://www.collegerecruiter.com/ is a great starting point.

  1. Social Media

Make sure all of your social media pages are on point.  Hiring managers and HR departments will cyberstalk you too.  If your cover photo is your last keg stand at the fraternity house, chances are you will be passed up.

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