As college graduation is just around the corner, we gathered some of our favorite tips for landing that first job out of college - a job that's actually related to your degree or field of study. As CNBC pointed out, many graduating seniors take jobs unrelated to their fields or, in many instances, jobs that don't require the degrees they worked so hard to earn. Before you get stuck in a job rut, consider these tips to get your feet in the right doors - right away.
1. START NETWORKING WITHIN YOUR EXISTING CIRCLES
Reach out to your contacts - current or former co-workers from part-time jobs, fellow interns or directors from any past internships, professors, student organization leaders, your campus career center and any people you may know in your field, through family, friends or volunteer work.
Share a little bit about your professional goals and see if they know of any companies or openings that may be a fit. You never know who has a friend or contact that has an opening for the exact type of position you're seeking. Even if there's not an immediate in, they'll hopefully remember the conversation for future opportunities.
2. START NETWORKING ON LINKEDIN
Many people don't consider bulking up their LinkedIn pages until they're established professionals. Some students make pages, but neglect them - keeping themselves listed as current students even long after graduation. When you land that first job, be sure to update it! If you recently graduated, update your page with your degree and mark that you are open to recruiters contacting you.
If you aren't sure what to put on your profile while still in school, or as a recent graduate, list any internships you've had, any relevant part-time work and volunteer work. Connect with classmates, former coworkers and friends, then make introductions to their connections (your second degree ones) to expand your network. Many LinkedIn members are open networkers and look forward to making connections with people in their fields - from all over the world. You never know where you'll find that dream job, but we know some folks that found their dream jobs - internationally! - through a thoroughly updated and professional LinkedIn page. Don't underestimate the power of this platform.
3. GIVE YOUR RESUME THE ATTENTION IT DESERVES
Many colleges and universities offer resume courses, either through the career center or individual student organizations. Take advantage of these. It is essential that you list the most important, relevant information on your resume - and there are key things you need to leave off of your resume, particularly for certain industries.
Take the time to write a brief and thoughtful profile (an introduction to you) for your resume. If you don't have any relevant work experience, list your internships and any part-time work or volunteer work - even relevant student projects. Try to tie in your responsibilities with your field or career goals - chances are, something you did in one of your prior gigs relates to the job you're trying to land.
No-nos: Keep your photo off your resume, unless you're seeking work in the entertainment industry or unless it's specifically requested in a job post, and don't list your GPA unless you graduated with honors and are applying to a graduate program. This isn't something an employer needs to see - they want to know which tangible skills you're bringing to the table. Leave your hobbies/interests off, unless you have a way to tie them into your profile in a relevant and thoughtful manner - or if you're applying to a company that encourages this sort of thing (they're out there)!
On that note, include your technical skills - not the obvious ones, but the ones that make you stand out or that are really essential in your field.
Lastly, always be sure to save your resume in PDF format so that it can be properly formatted and viewed on any device. Saving your resume in a .doc format can cause issues with Macs that don't have Office and recruiters could even accidentally remove a piece of information when viewing. Additionally, avoid sending resumes as image files as they can appear pixelated and don't print properly.
4. IDENTIFY YOUR DREAM JOB
Find some jobs you'd love to one day land - whether it's a specific position or something at a specific company - and find out what it takes to get there. Check out the experience required for your dream position, or what the culture is like at your dream company, and try to shape and tailor your experiences around this. This will help you figure out where to apply for that first job out of college as you want to make sure it's something relevant that will allow you to start learning and gathering the skills needed to get to where you want to go.
Have a tip? Let us know: @ch_threads