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Searching for your first job out of college can be both frustrating and exciting. On one hand, you’re starting a new chapter of your life that will, hopefully, find you working in the field you love; on the other, it can feel discouraging when the job search doesn’t go as planned, especially if you notice your former classmates getting their first jobs before you do. Here are a few tips to help during this stressful time:

 

Leverage your connections with former classmates.

If several of your former classmates land their first jobs before you, you could let it hurt your self-esteem, or you could leverage these connections. Your classmates with new jobs could have inside scoops about other positions at their companies, and using them as references when applying to their respective companies could give you an upper hand, especially if these classmates had already been at the companies a while as interns.

Don’t wait to start applying to jobs.

Throughout your senior year of college, especially the final semester, apply to jobs that interest you. You should also take advantage of any job fairs that your college or university hosts. If these employers are trying to fill entry-level positions, they will understand that many of the applicants could be seniors in college who are getting ready to graduate, so don’t let the timing stop you from applying. Simply add your expected month and year of graduation to your resume.

Use every interview as a learning experience.

Not every interview will go smoothly, and even the ones that do may not end in a job offer. After each interview, consider what you did well and what needs improvement. Even if an interview is not the one that leads to your first job, it can help you improve your interviewing skills so that you will be more prepared. If you receive a rejection after an interview that you thought went well, you could email the interviewer to ask for some feedback about what you could have done better. The interviewer may not reply, but if he/she does, you have some helpful information for next time!

Beef up your resume.

Most recent college graduates worry about their lack of experience, but there are ways you can make your resume look better. In the experience section of your resume, you should include your internships, but you can also include relevant classes you took in college, especially if those classes involved large projects that you could show to potential employers as proof of your ability and skills. If portfolios are common in your industry, take the time to create one; you could create a free website showcasing your work or a well-made pdf that includes examples of your work and include a link or QR code for your portfolio on your resume.

  

Just remember that it’s normal for your first post-college job search to take a while, so continue improving yourself, your interview skills, and your resume and don’t get discouraged! If you need a little help getting started, we’re here for you. Visit AtWork.com/locations today to find an AtWork branch near you!

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