You may have all the right buzz words on your resume
, and your GPA is stellar, but you still don’t have a job lined up after graduation. Getting your first “real” job is not always as simple as submitting your resume to a company online. You must frame your experience and goals in such a way so that employers will want to hire you, despite your inexperience.
1.) Draw on All of Your Experience.
Your resume and interview answers should emphasize all of the relevant experience you have for the job. Skills you think are useless from previous jobs can actually be very relevant for the job you want. Volunteer work, extracurricular activities, internships or other forms of unpaid experience are also valid sources of professional experience. For example, if you were a member of a student club committee and led one of its decision-making teams, you have developed leadership skills. In a volunteer stint in a food pantry, you demonstrated your passion for helping to relieve poverty by working there and learned organization skills.
2.) Get Experience.
Contact targeted companies within the industry in which you want to work to ask about internship opportunities. If the companies don’t offer an internship program, they may let you create your own internship if you come to them with a specific way you can benefit their bottom line. For example, you might say you will work unpaid for three months in marketing.
You can also get experience by volunteering. Pick a cause about which you are passionate or volunteer in a capacity that you like. Even if you’re not all about saving the whales, you may find a valuable volunteer opportunity in social media by handling that aspect of a save-the-whale nonprofit’s marketing strategy.
You might also consider temporary/project-based work. If you have a particular skill, such as social media marketing, you can capitalize on it and gain work experience by working on a short-term project that focuses on that skill. In the process, you will also meet many people and gain job-related references.
When you intern, volunteer or serve as a member or officer in a particular club, you will meet people who can hire you or refer you to job openings. Meet as many people as possible as you gain experience, and ask for more responsibility in each position to gain introduction to more people. Remember to help others out as well in your job search. When you hear about a job you know someone might be interested in, pass the word along.
Proactive job searchingis more than just submitting resumes to a dozen online databases. Make opportunities for yourself to get experience and then include relevant skills you developed from them in your resume and job interview answers. Job offers may not come overnight, but with persistence and some creative thinking and action, they will come.