7 Tips for New Grads Entering the Workforce (Plus Resume for First Job)

7 Tips for New Grads Entering the Workforce (Plus Resume for First Job)

How to find a job after college graduation in 2020? Have I done my resume for my first job correctly, or is it my resume why I haven’t received any interviews yet?

These are some of the questions on the minds of new college graduates just about to enter the workforce.

With the realities of COVID-19, it will be even more challenging to secure a job offer right out of college. Companies are downsizing and laying off. Others are declaring bankruptcy and closing. The economy and job market, in general, seem upside down. So, it will be with fear and trepidation that many of our recent college grads will start the job hunt for their first professional job.

But despite all that, you still need to be prepared to find employment no matter the climate. After all, those student loans won’t pay for themselves. And while people will tell you that the best time to have started looking was a few months ago, the next best time is now. So, let’s get you ready to find that new job.

Here are seven tips for new grads just entering the workforce and what you can do to improve your chances of finding a good job.

1.      Get uncomfortable

You will be leaving your comfort zone of a familiar environment and the friends you’ve made. Yes, there will be fear of the unknown, but it pays to get out of your comfort zone. Know that discomfort is the arena of growth, and where you see uncertainty, there just may be an opportunity. So, embrace the job hunt as a new college grad.

2.      Be flexible

The job you would have been looking forward to may not be in the cards right now. So, consider applying to other fields that are hiring to get the necessary experience. You’re not abandoning your career goal. You’re instead pivoting to take advantage of available opportunities and to gain skills and experience that could get you closer to that ideal job.

3.      Be guided by your skills

Instead of focusing on the career you want to pursue, why not look at what skills you have that are now in-demand. Review what skills you’ve learned through your courses, volunteer work, internships, and college work experience, etc.

Then, look for jobs aligned with your skills, which will make it easier to transition to a job in this era. Again, the experience you gain from this job can be used to help you move into the type of job you want in the future. Or, you just might find another career path that you love.

4.      Get ready for remote working

Expect remote working may be the order of the day. The effects of the novel coronavirus have shifted the day-to-day operations of many companies. Some of embraced these shifts and have declared that they will continue remote working into the future.

So, you should expect that remote working may be the order of the day for the foreseeable future and plan and retool for this possibility.

5.      Be ready for remote hiring

In addition to expecting that the jobs you get may be remote, you may have to go through a virtual interview and hiring process.

So, practice speaking on camera or delivering an interview by phone. Remember to keep your energy up and watch your facial expressions if you’re practicing for a video conference interview. Also, plan where you’ll take these interviews. Look for areas without a messy background and which can reduce noise interrupting your interviews.

You should also expect slower than normal hiring processes. Hiring and onboarding may be a lot slower than normal in most companies. So, try to exercise patience as you wait for confirmation, and if confirmed, to start working.

6.      Continue to network

Even as you continue to practice physical distancing, this doesn’t mean you can’t be sociable. Find online networking alternatives to get your name out there and find opportunities. You can meet other professionals in your target field.

Create professional social media accounts. These will be your defining brand features as more companies consider remote working, and other professionals seek to stand out online.

7.      Stand out from the crowd with a tailored resume for first job

Use your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile to stand out from the thousands of other graduates entering the job market. These resume best practices are essential for new graduates trying to find employment.

·       Identify potential employers

Find values-driven companies that can inspire you. Yes, it will be tempting to grab the first offer that comes your way. But, if the company values are opposite to yours, you’ll find that it will weigh heavily on you. And in little to no time, you will become miserable at this job, even if it was your perfect job.

It is much easier to start and fulfill a successful career if you are in an environment that supports your passions and also your core values. So, just like how the companies will be screening you, you should do the same to them – big or small.

So, in shortlisting companies to apply for, review them online, in the news, and what current and former employees have to say about them.

·       Update your resume according to the job

One of the mistakes most college grads make in applying for a job is using one generic resume for all applications. If the jobs are in the same field, you may be able to get away with this. But even then, you should still tweak your resume according to the job. Your resume for first job should be tailored as much for the position as possible.

·       Use relevant keywords

Most resumes today go through an automated applicant tracking system (ATS) that filters through the hundreds of applications received to shortlist candidates.

The process looks for specific skills that are aligned to the roles being advertised. So, as we discussed above, about searching for jobs based on your skill set, your resume should also follow those patterns.

Make sure the types of skills you have to offer, or the skills requested in the job ad are visible in your resume.

·       Get help to write your resume for your first job

You can read the many website resources about how to write a resume and try to tackle it yourself. But certain best practices can easily make a difference in whether your resume even makes it past the initial review stages. And this is where the eyes and skills of an expert resume writer can make a difference.

Ensure you have someone knowledgeable in resume writing look over or draft your resume for your first job before submission.

·       Don’t Forget Your LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a powerful networking and job search tool. So, you should ensure that you also optimize your LinkedIn for job search. And use the platform to actively network online.

Now that you know what to expect in this current job climate, ensure your resume is ready to pass the gatekeepers (ATS) and that you have been practicing your video conference and phone interview skills. There will be quite a few noes before the yeses. So, learn to handle rejection and keep preparing and adjusting as you move forward.

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