10 Important Steps for Getting Your First Job after College (Guest Post)

If you’ve recently received your degree, or that milestone is looming in front of you, your next move is to find the ideal job. That’s no easy feat. You’re in competition with other graduates. On top of that, depending on your field or location, it can be difficult to gain a foothold.

The good news is that most graduates do find work eventually. The better news is that by following the steps below, you can get your first job after college.

Tips to Getting Your First Job after College

1. Stay Connected With Your School

Connected With Your School

Don’t let graduation keep you away from campus. Your school can be an amazing resource as you look for a job. As a graduate, you likely have ongoing rights to use the library, student center, and career resource center. Take advantage of this!

Then, stay connected with your instructor’s, department head, and other students. Get active in your alumni network as well. The people who you have studied with and learned from over the years know your talents and passions. They are great networking contacts for your job search.

2. Cast a Wide But Relevant Net

Multi tasking employee

Here are two important things to remember. First, don’t let the pursuit of the perfect job stop you from recognizing a great job. Next, don’t get caught up in job titles. Consider part time employment. If you are able, be open to the possibilities of working 2nd or 3rd shift.

When you search for your first job, keep skills development and learning opportunities in mind. For example, if you’ve just graduated with a degree in civil engineering, don’t limit your search to ‘civil engineering jobs’. Consider jobs that will help you to understand your field better, and make you more valuable to employers. In this case, that might be working in computer aided design or spending time on a surveying crew.

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3. Send a Customized Resume And Cover Letter For Each Application

Resume and cover letter example

You should never send the same resume out twice. Each job you apply for will be at a different company with a different culture, and a different set of needs. Take some time to identify these. Then, customize your resume accordingly. You might add or remove keywords, re-sequence your skill set, or provide more or less details on previous education or work experience.

For example, if you’re applying for a job that requires lots of hard, technical skills and little to no customer contact, you’re three years of retail experience may not be relevant. If the next job you pursue is a help desk support position, you probably want the hiring manager to know that you have customer service experience.

4. Focus on Your Skills

Focus on skills

It’s not likely that you have much work experience. Employers get that. Still, they want to be convinced that you can be productive from day one, or as close as possible. It’s imperative that you focus on the skillset that you have developed in both interviews, and on your resume.

If you are able to describe ways in which you’ve applied these skills in real life, that’s even better. Have examples in mind. These could be things you’ve done in internships, projects you’ve worked on in school, personal projects, even volunteer or side work. If possible, create an online portfolio and link it in your resume.

5. Don’t Stop Getting Educated

Always educate yourself

Impress employers with your passion for your field and willingness to continue to develop your skills. The day you graduate shouldn’t be the end of your education. There are so many opportunities to learn more, and pick up new skills.

If you don’t want to go the cost of pursuing more formal education, that’s fine. Check out open source learning resources like Khan Academy or Coursera. There are plenty of resources available to you for writing help and other academic assistance. See if your local community college or library system offers continuing ed courses. Are there certificates you can earn to make yourself more valuable to employers?

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6. Take Culture Into Consideration

Happy office colleagues

Company culture has a huge impact on employee morale. You can have a great job, but if you don’t fit in with your coworkers or work environment, you won’t be happy. Research companies before you apply for jobs. Talk about company culture and work environment in interviews. Use Glassdoor and other similar websites as sources to learn as much as possible from existing and former employees.

7. Be Prepared For Tough Interview Questions

Tough job interview

What is your biggest weakness? Where do you see yourself in five years? What interests you about actuarial science? Interviewers are famous for asking sticky questions. Some are the lame but obligatory questions that you’ll encounter in most interviews. Others may come as a result of your resume.

In any case, be prepared for both. Have an answer ready for those oh so common interview questions. Then, take a close look at your resume and work experience. Be honest with yourself. Are there things that may be seen as red flags that hiring managers may question? If you’ve done a lot of job hopping or have large gaps in your employment history, be prepared to explain that.

8. Find Job Sites That Focus on Graduates

Online job search websites

As a recent graduate, you have unique job search needs. On standard job boards, you’ll have to weed through jobs that you aren’t yet qualified for. Fortunately, there are job sites that cater to college students, recent graduates, and the companies that are interested in hiring them.

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9. Keep Your Finger on The Pulse

confident girl ready for job interview

Stay up to date on happenings within your industry. If there are organizations for professionals in your field, join them. Attend expos, webinars, and seminars. Subscribe to industry magazines. If you can converse with insight and intelligence about your field, interviewers are going to take note of that.

10. Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Linkedin app in smartphone

Your social media accounts can be a real asset to your job search. First, if you haven’t created a LinkedIn profile, do so right away. Then, reach out to friends, coworkers, other students, past employers, and industry influencers. Once you’ve completed that task, create other professional, social media profiles. Then, start developing relationships with others in your field. Share stories of your professional accomplishments. Post industry related articles, and broadcast your own thoughts and insights.

You can be certain that potential employers will look you up on social media. Take advantage of this, and provide them with something that is sure to leave a good impression.


It’s a challenging job market, and recent graduates have a unique set of challenges on top of that. Take the steps above into consideration, and you’ll significantly increase your chances of landing interviews. More importantly, you’ll be more likely to receive job offers using these strategies.

Amanda Sparks
About Amanda Sparks


Amanda Sparks, pro writer, and editor, who is currently working on essay writing service Essay Supply lifestyle writer at Huffington Post. I am fancy doing perfect things for this perfect world and help people make their life easier with my lifestyle tips.

This entry was posted in Career Advice, Guest Posts, Job Search, Tips for Jobseeker.