Increase Your Chances of Getting Hired After You Graduate from College

Get Jobs After College Graduation

I’m often surprised at the numbers of college graduates who have no idea how to search for and secure employment. At professional associations I’m a member of, students ask what they can do to get a job. I’ve given the graduates tips and advice only to step away wondering how college students can go four to five years without knowing, or thinking to ask, what they can do to increase their chances of getting hired after college. And I understand; school is a busy time.

College Students Should Start Taking Action to Increase Their Chances of Getting Hired

Sporting events, musical performances, lively debates and day trips can create hazy thinking amongst college students, finding them forgetting why they enrolled in college in the first place. College is a hodgepodge of fun, excitement, study and learning. It’s also a time when students should start taking action to increase their chances of getting hired after graduation.

Organizations like the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and Community Colleges Career Services associations conduct college graduate salary surveys, workshops and roundtables. Salary surveys conducted by these and other organizations can be used by college students to measure how salaries, across industries, are trending compared to previous years. For example, in its executive salary survey summary, NACE reports that 2011 college graduates earned approximately $41,701. This represents a 2.3 percent increase over what the previous year’s graduates earned.

College students can also review salary and job outlook information provided by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for positions they are interested in working after they graduate from school. The BLS provides data on careers such as average national salaries, top employers, requirement training and licenses and average weekly hours worked.

Action Steps College Students Can Take to Increase Their Chances of Getting Hired

Students are encouraged to do this before they declare a major as spending a few minutes conducting this research will help them to identify high paying career fields. It will also help college students identify careers that are vanishing or slowing down.

Other steps college students can take to increase their chances of getting hired after they graduate with undergraduate and graduate degrees include:

  • Meeting with career counselors or advisors as soon as they enroll in college (students are encouraged to meet with career counselors several times a year, asking them about internships, fellowships, etc.)
  • Signing up to participate in internships that give them experience working in their major
  • Contacting area employers and asking how they can participate in summer job programs
  • Submitting their resumes to area employers so they can start gaining entry-level job experience
  • Considering contractor, consultant or temporary jobs in their major until they land permanent, full-time jobs
  • Asking business leaders to mentor them so they gain additional skills to land high paying jobs
  • Working with established entrepreneurs to start their own businesses
  • Submitting their resumes to multiple job boards (and including occupational “keywords” in their resumes so their resumes pull up when employers, hiring managers and recruiters search for candidates online
  • Reading trade magazines, etc. in the industries they want to work in after they graduate from college
  • Joining professional industry associations, attending networking events and developing relationships with other attendees, including hiring managers at reputable firms
  • Asking their parents to keep them informed of jobs where they work they can apply for the jobs
  • Being willing to relocate to areas that are hiring in their major after they graduate
  • Networking with friends and classmates to learn about new job opportunities
  • Creating email job alerts at private and public companies (these can generally be set up through career sites at companies)
  • Creating email job alerts at major and industry-specific job boards (e.g. Indeed, Monster, Media Bistro)
  • Searching and applying for jobs several times a week
  • Following up on jobs they apply for 4-7 days after they submit a job application
  • Attending college and community sponsored career and job fairs
  • Attending resume writing, interviewing and networking seminars (some colleges and universities offer the training free of charge through their career services departments)
  • Maintaining contact with college career counselors after they graduate to learn about newly developed job opportunities

The sooner college students start connecting with prospective employers and human resource managers, the better their chances may be of securing employment as soon as they get their college degrees. In fact, if college students start taking action to increase their chances of getting hired, they might secure employment before they graduate, while they are in their junior and senior years of school. This is a win for all college students, especially students who took out hefty student loans.

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Sources: (National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)

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