Landing your first job after college might seem daunting, but making the right preparations can make the search faster and more effective. More importantly, finding the right job can help you in many ways. Apart from having a steady paycheck, you want to make a positive difference through your job, build relationships with co-workers and find personal fulfillment by doing a job you love and enjoy.
A CareerBuilder study showed that about 66% of employees have taken a job and realized it wasn't a good fit for them; half of these people quit their jobs in six months or less. Another engagement survey of Millennial and Gen Z applicants revealed that 72% of respondents were surprised to find out that the role or company they found themselves in was different from what they believed it would be. Where there’s a poor fit with the job or company, problems such as anxiety, poor performance burnout, and disengagement at work are bound to arise.
So, how can you make sure that you find the job that’s the right fit for you?
Create a professional online presence and use online platforms
Companies today are always looking for great talent, and they want a pool of candidates they can choose from whenever there’s an opening. Be active on the same platforms where you find desirable employers, such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and Monster. These online job boards are great places to learn about employers from the content on their pages. You can learn about their product and services, funding, people who work there, and if they have job openings.
Present your authentic self
In your job search, it’s essential to present yourself in a way that will attract potential employers. Let your authentic self shine through in your online profiles and be real. You can share your stories and experiences in school and other areas and explain how these have shaped who you’ve become. Share content that aligns with your core values. Highlight your skills and strengths and how these can benefit a future employer. Showcase these on your resume, online profiles, and other platforms where you can find jobs.
Get involved in your community and student associations
Find a way to participate in your community. If you’re still in school, get involved with student associations. Companies today are collaborating with communities and student associations to create employment opportunities. For example, Micron, a semiconductor manufacturing company, is developing educational resources and infrastructure in the Syracuse area and central New York to train a new workforce for its new plant, which will provide almost 50,000 jobs in New York.
Take on internships
One of the ways you can get your foot in the door in your job search is to take on available internships. With such opportunities, you can get on-the-job training and the chance to work on projects that develop new skills. Internships also create networking opportunities where you’ll meet people and make contacts who might connect you to opportunities elsewhere. There are internship programs targeted at women, minorities, people with disabilities, and other categories.
Look for companies and organizations that align with your values and interests
When you look at a company website, you’ll get an idea of what matters to them. You can look out for their vision and mission statements, diversity and inclusion policy, work or impact in the community, or if they have a policy on climate and environment, depending on what’s important to you. Research the company’s culture by checking reviews about the company, reviews from employees, and looking for news about the company and its leadership. All these can help decide the companies where you’d feel comfortable working.
The job market today has many opportunities despite recession fears and layoffs. Bear in mind that the search for the ideal job isn’t a frantic, rushed journey but a carefully planned process that will land you a role in a company that will be an excellent fit for you.
Prepare for your job search
Part of finding the right job is applying and interviewing different places. Having an ATS-friendly resume can be the difference between getting past the initial application process and being lost in a large pool of applicants. Keep your resume’s font, design, and layout clean and simple, and you’ll be off to a great start. If you get an interview, confirm what type it is and prepare accordingly. If you’ve never done a virtual interview, learn how to ace your video interview beforehand. Always come prepared to live interviews with questions to ask your interviewer(s) to ensure the job, company, and corporate culture align with what you want.