Get Hired Post-Graduation: 5 Key Moves for College Students
Let’s face it, today’s job market is tough. We’re in an economic gray area where we’re not exactly struggling, but not booming either. This has companies very nervous. With some slowing their hiring pace and others downsizing.
Unfortunately, college students are taking most of the hits. According to The Washington Post, college students are among the most unemployed compared to other types of workers. And the jobs that are available? Well, they often don’t match the skill sets that students worked hard to develop.
If you’re a graduate or close to graduating, it’s time to switch gears. The old ‘spray and pray’ method of applying isn’t going to be enough.
Here we’ll walk you through five key moves you should be making in your job hunt, tailored to help you navigate this unpredictable job market.
1. Tap into the “hidden” job market (Networking)
Believe it or not, many jobs never even make it to public job boards. Sometimes companies want to hire internally or through referrals. It’s like a hidden job market that’s all about the right connections.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘That doesn’t seem fair.’ And you’re not wrong. In an ideal world, everyone would get their fair shot at an interview. But let’s face reality – companies often play it safe by choosing candidates vouched for by someone they trust.
The good news is, there are ways to get your foot in the door.
Update your LinkedIn to reflect your job search status
The first thing you should do is make it known that you’re job hunting. Your LinkedIn profile should be as detailed and polished as your resume. List all your work and academic experiences.
The second thing you need to do is to go public about your job search. Post updates, show you’re open for work, and stay active. Comment, share, engage – get your name seen by potential employers.
Reach out to your connections
Once your LinkedIn shines, it’s time to expand your network. Connect with former bosses, classmates, and friends. Every connection is a doorway to potential opportunities.
Then, take a more direct approach. Reach out to contacts in your desired industry. A simple message about your job hunt can go a long way. They might not have opportunities right away, but if something comes up, you’ll be on their radar.
2. Your resume needs to be perfect
When you’re competing with hundreds of other people for the same job, your resume needs to be absolutely spotless. Any mistake, no matter how small, could blow your chances up against someone else.
There are lots of in-depth resume guides out there but here are the main things you should consider:
- Tailor your resume to each job (use the job description as a guide)
- Follow general formatting rules. Your resume should be clean, simple, and easy on the eyes
- Make sure you’re including keywords from the job description. Many companies use AI to scan resumes for relevance.
- Highlight your achievements, not just your job duties.
- Quantify your achievements if possible, use specific stats.
- Use action verbs to bring those achievements to life.
If you need help, consider hiring a resume coach. They’ll take a look at your resume and make sure it has everything it needs. And hey, if you’re still finding the job hunt tough, at least you’ll know it’s not your resume.
3. Tap into your transferable skills
Transferable skills are the skills that can flex into another role. For example, if you’re a server, you likely have very strong communication skills from dealing with customers. Those skills are crucial in a sales, customer service, or public relations job and can easily be transferable.
Think about entry-level roles where you can bring these skills to the table. A lot of employers love the idea of hiring someone without specific experience, often preferring the fresh perspective and adaptability that comes with training someone new.
Here’s a tip. Next time you’re on Indeed, instead of typing in a specific job title, search using your transferable skills. You might be amazed at the variety of roles where your skills can shine.
4. Contact hiring managers directly (Template included)
Rather than spraying and praying on job boards, take it one step further.
Reach out directly to hiring managers. Let them know why you’re eyeing that particular job. Doing this not only boosts your chances when your resume comes across their desk, but it can also land you on a wait list for positions that are posted but not actively hiring yet.
Don’t know what to say to a hiring manager? Not a problem, here’s a simple template you can send to a hiring manager you find on LinkedIn. Just swap out the info in [brackets] to fit your own details, and you’re good to go.
This template is a great starting point to make that crucial first impression.
5. Use a staffing agency
Staffing agencies can be a real game-changer in your job hunt. The great thing about them is they’re free for job seekers and are a great tool to use alongside regular job hunting.
Take a look at staffing agencies in your area and find ones that cater to your industry. Some are more broad while others specialize in specific roles – find the one that aligns with your career goals.
The main types of staffing:
- Contract staffing: Usually temporary but many offer the opportunity to be permanent after the contract ends. Here, you’re technically employed with the agency but working in the role you agreed on.
- Direct Hire: In this case, agencies are hired to find candidates for permanent positions. Unlike contract staffing, you’ll be directly employed by the company with no ongoing ties to the agency.
SlingShot Connections can help
At SlingShot Connections we offer a variety of options, including both contract and direct hire staffing, to fit your specific needs. We specialize in a range of entry-level positions, perfect for those fresh out of college and eager to step onto the career ladder.
We offer roles in:
- Software Engineering
- Office Administration
- And more
Finding your ideal role is just a click away. Explore our job board to discover the latest opportunities we have on offer.
Prefer a more personal touch? You can call us or send your resume to email@example.com to get connected to a recruiter!