5 Tips for College Grads

June 14, 2021

While 2021 graduates are celebrating receiving their degrees, graduation can also bring anxiety about entering the workforce. The job market is beginning to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic but navigating the job market still provides many challenges for graduates.  Job seekers will need to be adaptable, driven, and resilient. Even though the pandemic offers new difficulties, it also provides the opportunity for continued growth. For recent grads, job hunting is not about landing your dream job but about finding your first position out of college that will act as a stepping stone to your future career.

Graduates in 2021 have vastly more opportunities than those who graduated in 2020. With many companies re-opening their doors, they are looking to bring on multiple new hires; this is an excellent time for recent graduates to build their resumes and expand their portfolios. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the last month, May 2021, the nation added 559,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell from 6.1% to 5.8%.

5 Tips for Recent Graduates

1. Review Your Resume

For recent grads, your resume is how companies make their first impression of you. Before applying for a position, take the time to review and edit your resume. Your resume should be:

  • One page, if possible, to provide the most recent and relevant experience.
  • Personalized to each job you are applying for while carefully reading the job description and requirements to tailor your resume to fit.
    • Be wary of using objective statements. Tailor your objective statement to fit the job you are applying to or omit it altogether.
  • Free of grammatical errors
  • Easy to read and visually appealing. Many resume templates can get you started!

2. Improve Your Skills

Take the time to learn new skills or improve yours. There are many opportunities to improve your skills: free online courses, reading books, gaining experience through work, etc. The top skills that employers are looking for from new grads are:

  • Analytical skills
  • Project management
  • Customer service
  • Marketing
  • Time management

3. Always Read the Job Description

With the unemployment rate at a high, many people are mass applying to jobs. Although some websites will let you “apply all,” this is not the best way to find the best position. This strategy will result in various organizations contacting you about jobs that do not match what you desire in your next role. Instead, be selective about the jobs you are applying to by ensuring the job description is a good fit for you.

4. Be Respectful and Professional

It is easy to get overwhelmed when searching for jobs. When scheduling calls, interviews, or meetings with prospective companies, keep track of all your appointments. Furthermore, if you are in the interview process with a company and decide you are no longer interested in the position, reach out to let them know – you never know if you may want to work with them in the future.

During the interviewing process, remember that presentation is critical. From your resume to your attire to how you conduct and present yourself, always exhibit professionalism. If you are scheduling interviews, video or in person, ask what the expected dress code is and always dress to impress.

5. Consider a Wider Variety of Jobs

Students tend to have a dream job in mind by the time they graduate, or at least a few jobs they are considering. Unfortunately, this mindset can make it difficult, especially in today’s market, for you to find a job that ticks all your boxes.

Finding your perfect career straight out of college is every graduate’s dream, but it is not always a realistic expectation. With the state of the economy and constant unknowns caused by the pandemic, it has been increasingly difficult for recent graduates to find a job in their field. However, keep in mind that short-term and temporary positions can be an excellent opportunity to build your skill sets, improve your resume, and earn money while searching for the right job for you.

There are many occupations that you could be qualified for that you may not be considering. First, take the time to inventory your skills and research positions that will help you build on those skills. Then, focus on finding a job that will set you up with these fundamental skills needed to transition into your dream career in the future. If you have a hard time thinking of jobs outside your original occupational path, you can search for jobs that fit your skillsets.

Moving Forward

The Covid-19 pandemic has created many difficulties for 2021 graduates, but it is nothing you cannot handle. With the job market in recovery, this is the perfect time for you to continue building your skillsets and further your knowledge. The Covid-19 pandemic was a time of continual learning and growth; graduation does not mark the end of that. You can take the time to improve upon and build up your resume, be selective in your job search, and find a position that can act as your stepping stone to your dream career.