Perfect the Resume
Many job openings for recent graduates will be met with dozens, if not hundreds (or more), of job applications. College graduates need to make sure that their resume is not only free of errors, but that it also presents them in the best light possible. The resume should show, wherever possible, pertinent responsibilities and accomplishments at past jobs. Companies with jobs for recent graduates will be looking for competencies clearly spelled out on the resume-soft skills, in a down economy, become less important on paper (but very important in an interview!). The resume needs to be tailored to each and every job applied to; a generic resume in this economy is not favored due to the volume of resumes from both seasoned professionals and recent graduates that companies are receiving.
Many recent graduates don't have much real-world experience. Because companies can be choosy and don't want to spend a lot of money on training, this can be a detriment. If duties and responsibilities cannot be shown through past work experience, focus on what can. Involvement in university clubs and community service performed are noteworthy and should be drawn upon-it may just land a recent graduate their first job.
After tweaking your resume to be the best that it can be, consider drawing up a list of references to have on hand. While many companies indicate it's optional, a well-written cover letter also geared towards the specific job can set a recent graduate apart from the competition.
Use traditional job seeking tools as often as possible. With a completed resume, check out popular job search and employment websites such as careerbuilder.com and monster.com. Scour these daily to keep abreast recent graduate jobs. While many recent graduate jobs can be applied to online, don't forget the power of meeting face-to-face. Stop in to companies of interest and request to speak with the hiring manager. If they are not available, find out when they might be and try to set an appointment to learn about recent graduate career opportunities. Whether you submit a resume online or drop it off in person, be sure to follow-up with a phone call to ensure it got into the right hands.
Use All Available Resources
Throughout your recent graduate job search, be sure to take advantage of every resource available. Many alumni associations offer career resources to their members. Companies who traditionally recruit at the college or university may start their candidate search with the school's placement office. Log onto the alumni association website or call the organization to see if they offer graduates these perks.
Take advantage of trade publications. Every major industry has a variety of publications you can subscribe to, and most contain a section with job opportunities.
Studies have shown that most jobs today are filled by word-of-mouth and jobs for the recent college graduate are no exception. Sign up for a LinkedIn account, a social networking tool for professionals. Keep in touch with everyone you can as you never know how you can be connected to a job. Chances are, in college, you've met people from all over the country. Use this to your advantage. Don't be ashamed to call upon someone who graduated a few years ahead of you that work at a company you are interested in-remember, this acquaintance was a recent college graduate too, and may be able to give you some insightful tips about landing a job with the company. Or, they may be willing to pass your resume along.
Join your local young professionals clubs in your targeted job industry. These chapters can lead to a wealth of job connections and potential careers for recent college graduates. Should you join the board or partake in other chapter activities, you can rack up invaluable experience to use on your resume.
Ride It Out
While often unpaid, internships can be a great way for recent graduates to build experience into their resumes. In a tough economy, many businesses are quick to hire recent graduates for jobs as interns since they are eager, educated and frankly, commitment-free. However, an internship can often lead to a permanent job for the recent graduate once extra funds are freed up for hiring.
Even if you can't find an internship, try to get a job in the field you want to eventually to have a career in. If you want to get into the finance arena, consider getting a job as a bank teller. If corporate retail is what you aspire to do, get a job at one of the company's stores. If anything, it makes a great talking point when you do land that coveted interview.