As a relatively recent college graduate myself, I know firsthand how hard it is to find a job in this current market. All we hear about in the media is how tough the job market is for new graduates, since most employers are looking for someone with prior experience. However, there are a few things I have learned since becoming a recruiter that I share with all new graduates I meet. There are several things you can do to help secure an interview and ensure you are well prepared.
How to secure an interview:
1. Apply to jobs you’re excited about and/or companies for whom you would love to work
I know it sounds pretty simple, but it’s a lot easier to interview for something you’re passionate about or an organization where you could really see yourself working for the next 5, 10 or 15 years.
2. Tailor your resume
So many people send generic, run-of-the-mill resumes to me every day. Those resumes are destined to get lost in the pile. Take the time to write down everything you have accomplished in school, clubs, activities, and professional experiences / internships. Think about some metrics or goals you were able to achieve / exceed. Then, sort out what information is relevant to which jobs. As a new graduate, you need to do anything possible (within the laws of our land) to get an interview, so taking a few minutes to customize your resume is well worth it.
3. Network. Network. Network
It’s simple…find people who work for the company that you want to call your place of employment. Utilize LinkedIn! If you know someone who works there, ask them how they got hired by the company. Ask them if they know people in the department for which you want to work. Ask if they can introduce you to them. See if you can shadow an employee for a day. Networking is an extremely powerful tool and one of the best ways to get your foot in the door.
4. Follow up on the introduction
Send a thank you note a couple days later after the introduction, but never right away. Give the person the chance to get you in front of the right people. However, sending a note a couple days later is a friendly reminder for them to follow through with what they promised.
Sometimes the little things are the difference between getting an interview and having an employer take a pass on your resume.
Check in next week for part 2, where I discuss how to prepare for an interview to ensure success.