6 Tips to Secure a Job One Month After Graduating College

This post is authored by Bobby Smith. Bobby Smith is a regular blogger at SelectAware, an online coupons site. Find coupons and savings tips like this Infographic, A Year in the Life of a Savvy Shopper at SelectAware.

If you’re reading this article, it’s clear who you are and the questions you have. You’re worried because you might not have a job waiting for you after you graduate college. Read through the end of this article, and I’ll outline 6 steps to almost guarantee a job offer comes your way one month after graduation.

Jim and Friends on Graduation Day

First, here are some statistics to put your worries at ease.

  • On average, it takes college graduates 3-7 months to land their first job.
  • Nearly 50% of college graduates move back home upon graduation.
  • The current average salary for college graduates is around $45,000.

If you did okay in school, then based on averages alone, you’ll have a job. But you’re reading this article because you don’t want to be average. You want a job now! Follow the six steps below:

1) Establish Your Strengths

Right now, write a list of 5 personal strengths that could be relevant to the professional world. Once you have this list, now ask yourself, “Would I hire me?” Develop a list of quality strengths that’ll make an employer say “I want someone like that as part of this company.”

Tip – I hope you didn’t write common, cliché strengths like “hard-working, motivated, team player, independent, and dependable.” Don’t think you’re the only applicant who describes themselves as the previously listed traits. Think of strengths that’ll benefit your employer.

2) Make a Superior Resume and Cover Letter

This is a commonly known step in the job-finding process. However, it’s under-rated by many applicants. A quality resume and cover letter is the key to getting your foot inside companies’ doors.Keep your resume to one page and cover letter to half a page.  Remember that employers and hiring managers get TONS of resumes and cover letters.  Your resume and cover letter need to capture their attention.

Write up a draft of your resume and cover letter.  If you don’t know how to, just search in Google for resume and cover letter templates. You’ll find lots of information that’ll help you. Once you have your drafts written, ask yourself these two questions:

1)    Did this cover letter and resume catch my attention?
2)    Would I consider hiring this person?

If not, make the proper revisions so that “yes” is the answer to the above questions.  Since you already figured out your strengths (as done so in Step 2), it’ll be much easier to create a quality resume and cover letter.

Tip – Crafting a resume and cover letter is a lot of work. But you only need to do it once, and you can pretty much use the same template for the rest of your professional, working life. However, be sure to always modify your resume and cover letter for each job. Fortunately, these modifications are typically brief and simple.

3) Find High-Status References

This is another commonly known step in the job-application process. College graduates are usually quick to just grab any teacher, parent, or manager from their previous jobs. Students – do not have reference letters written for the sake of having them. This is an under-valued part of the job-application process.

Have two reference letters in place that describe your character and strengths. The key here is not the content of the letter, but the reference instead. Have one reference from school and a professional reference. (If you don’t have a professional reference, then make do with two references from school). Aim for “high-status” references. Instead of asking your teacher, ask your Dean. Instead of asking your manager, ask the Director or Vice President. A high-status reference will illustrate that you were an integral part of the company. This is the type of employee that a company wants to add to its team.

Tip – By going for a higher-status reference, the reference “may” not know you very well. Nevertheless, don’t be afraid to ask. Simply asking is demonstration of determination and “high-status” professionals will think highly of you and be happy to help.

4) Clean Up Your Social Profile

It’s very common (almost expected) for employers perform a Facebook background check. Evaluate your social profile for any inappropriate posts or pictures. Don’t worry about going overboard with this. It’s perfectly acceptable to have pictures of you socializing and having a drink in your hand. Just simply put yourself in the employers’ shoes when they’re looking at your profile. Would they say “I don’t want someone like this to be part of this company.”?

Tip – This can also work in your favor. Have pictures of you participating in charitable or human events. This’ll illustrate positive character.

5) Look for Jobs in the Right Places

I’m going to share with you a secret here: Do not use sites like Monster or CareerBuilder.  Here’s why:

  • Too much competition
  • Lower quality jobs
  • The best jobs out there are not listed on these sites.

Instead, search for the type of companies relevant to your degree. If you’re a public relations graduate, simply search “pr companies city name.” Look for a “Jobs” or a “Careers” page, and you’ll find job listings there.

Tip – Use Google’s “inurl” operator to perform advanced to find relevant companies. Type “job industry city name inurl:careers” and you’ll be shown career pages for relevant companies.

6) Looking for a Job is a Full-Time Job

Keep this in mind: You’re going to be rejected a lot. Even if you’ve completed all the above steps to perfection, you’ll still probably be rejected. Once you accept this fact, it’ll be much easier to go through with this process. Applying for jobs is a numbers game. The more you apply, the greater your chances of getting a job.

Tip – Most college graduates don’t realize this fact. They place all their eggs on that first interview then get down on themselves once they don’t get the offer. Treat this process like a full-time job. Apply for 1 job an hour, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. That’s 40 applications a week. After one month, you’ll have 120 applications. I can say that with 99% certainty, you’ll have a job after 120 applications that included the process I’ve outlined above.

Follow this 6 step plan, and you’ll find yourself with a job far quicker than the “average” college graduate.

Photo by Jim, the Photographer.