6 Job Search Tips for New College Grads

Posted by Kate on May 13, 2009

New graduates face one of the toughest job markets we’ve seen in decades. New grads must take charge of their job search in a way past graduates didn’t need to.

Hiring and salary freezes are more common than ever and career fields that once almost guaranteed high salaries are among the most difficult in which to job search now.

As graduation nears, here are some things to consider to make your search a success and find a great career.

New Grad Job Search Tips

  1. Network. One of the most valuable things you can do throughout your career is to make contacts. Use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to your advantage or start your own website telling potential employers a bit about yourself and highlighting your skills. You become more than just a resume if an employer can learn more about you online.
  2. Visit Your Career Center. Each college is different but many have fantastic resources for fixing up your resume, finding out what fields may best suit you, and putting you in touch with alumni who are often very willing to help with advice or hiring contacts.
  3. Freelance. Freelancing can be a great way to make some money and build some experience while looking for a more stable offer. Craigslist is a great place to start when looking for contract jobs. You may find that freelance income can earn you more than a 9-to-5 gig or that you can even keep it up in addition to a steady job.
  4. Save Money. Remember to take a look at any tax deductions you can take for expenses incurred during your job search and to start planning your financial future even if you’re still searching for a steady source of income.
  5. Be Flexible. It may help to consider some occupations that may not have occurred to you in a stronger job market. Becoming a teacher, police officer, or firefighter can lead to careers that society will always demand. These can be lucrative options for those who want to really help others.
  6. Get Creative. Look in places that others might be leaving off the list and that offer unique perks. For example, your college or university is probably full of great contacts (professors, dorm staff, admissions personnel) that you haven’t even considered. University employees receive admission to great entertainment like sporting events, bands, plays, and interesting academic forums, as well as graduate classes, for huge discounts, or even free!

What other job search tips would you share with new college grads?

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Comments to 6 Job Search Tips for New College Grads

  1. Great set of tips! I found visiting the career center one of the best ideas when I was graduating, and the 30 minutes with a career counselor really helped put things together. I would probably still be lost without that short meeting!

    Your list inspired me to put together my own! I hope you don’t mind if I share the link:


    Briefly, my 6 tips were:
    1. Hone Your Online Identity
    2. Fix Your Credit
    3. Consider Relocation
    4. Read Wisely
    5. Mind Your 80/20
    6. Prepare for Unemploymemt

    Wojciech Kulicki

  2. With all of these many steps and the varied advice out there it’s important to use the power of small in your job search to stay focused and avoid getting overwhelmed. I find breaking my to do list down into “minitasks” that I can get accomplished in one day. And with online networking, don’t panic- start with the people you know and it will grow exponentially.


  3. i have had a hard time finding a job after being laid off and graduating college over 5 years ago so love finding these sites with pieces of advice. Also great stuff here: http://vjournal.com/compare-my-resume. She has good tips (esp for you ladies).


  4. My job search recommendations are pretty simple:

    1. Write a good resume. Don’t lie. Ask a couple of working professionals to review it. If you’re right out of college, there is no excuse for a resume longer than one page.
    2. Write a good (short – two or three paragraphs, tops) cover letter. Highlight the parts of your employment/volunteer/personal history that make you good for the job. If you’re looking for a job in a field where you don’t have experience, admit it and explain why you think you’ll do a great job anyway. (“I don’t have much experience with engineering/machining/etc, but I learn quickly/am great with numbers/have experience with woodworking.”)
    3. Be awesome in interviews. Answer the questions you can answer calmly and concisely; when you can’t answer a question, admit it and explain how you’d find the answer.


  5. In this day and age, I think that networking is one of the most important skills anyone can develop. There’s so much competition out there that who you know really can make all the difference. Susan Kennedy and Karen Baker have a great section on how to sell yourself in their workbook The Job Coach for Young Professionals. The more contacts you can make, the better your chances will of landing the perfect job will be.


  6. I really enjoy your posting, would you mine reviewing mine and give me some feed back?

    Momentum Specialized Staffing

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