Job hunting post-college can be an exciting yet daunting task, and often comes with a mix of emotions. You’re one step closer to closing another chapter of life and entering the workforce. However, you may feel anxious and left with uncertainty, wondering what path is right for you. If you’re looking to start your career, there’s good news. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is low, currently at 3.6%. If you find yourself stuck while looking for an entry-level position, here are a few things to consider when searching for a post-college job.
Start Planning Early
College graduation is quick to come and go, so it’s important to start looking for jobs early on. Utilizing school resources is a great way to begin your search. Many colleges hold in-person or virtual job fairs, along with resume writing workshops. Attending job fairs allows seniors to get their foot in the door with companies early and makes their name known to employers. Along with job fairs, your college career center is a great resource for practicing mock interviews. Take advantage of professional organizations in industries that align with your career goals, as they host events that help professionals develop their careers and find jobs.
Looking for a job can feel like a full-time job, so treat it like one. Understanding what you’re looking for in an employer can help narrow down your job search. Taking the time to research what companies prioritize mental health in the workplace, who offer a competitive benefits package, and if they work in-person or remote can help you navigate what company is best for your needs. Blocking out time on your calendar will help you keep focused, as well as make a to-do list with what goals you’d like to accomplish.
Focus on Networking
Developing your online professional profile is an excellent way to begin your post-college job search. Throughout college, your social profiles may have been exclusively for connecting with friends and family. However, now is the time to use social networking for professional purposes. Take time to learn job search etiquette, as well as optimizing your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is an excellent way to showcase your educational and work experience to recruiters, as well as meet people in the industry.
Networking is a powerful tool and takes time and commitment. Connecting with strangers may seem intimidating at first, so start small. Reaching out to fellow alumni, friends and family, people from clubs you were in, and past professors can easily help you grow your network.
Research Hot Markets
When looking for a job, you may be looking for a new adventure and have the desire to move somewhere new. We’re currently in a job seekers’ market, which may lead people to take risks and move to a new city or state. When relocating for a job, there are key factors to take into consideration, such as wage and job growth, the unemployment rate, and housing affordability. Depending on your career path, some cities may offer higher wages and lower living expenses compared to others, so it’s important to do research on each city that interests you.
With moving comes finding a place to live, whether that’s through renting or buying. Renting gives you the flexibility to move around and discover where you want to live, along with the fact that it doesn’t require much upfront equity. On the other hand, owning a home gives you a sense of security you can’t get with renting. Understanding how much house you can afford is beneficial as it allows you to prepare your finances prior to making a large financial investment. If you choose to own, renting out your spare rooms to roommates can help with paying down your mortgage while saving your money. No matter what you choose, it’s always important to weigh your options.
Create a Budget
The decisions you make right after college, like paying off student loans or setting up your 401(k), can help set you up for financial success and reach desired milestones. The earlier you set yourself up for financial success, the more likely you’ll be able to do things like purchasing a home or becoming student debt-free.
Utilizing the 50/30/20 strategy is a relative guide to how you should budget your money. Determine what your fixed costs (rent or mortgage, student loans, utilities, etc.) and variable costs (shopping, eating out, etc.) are, and ensure your expenses don’t exceed your income. Aim to budget 50% of your income on essentials, while putting 30% towards your wants, while the leftover 20% can go towards savings and investments.
Searching for a job is an exciting stepping stone post-college. You’re able to celebrate your achievements and step out into the workforce. While this can be exciting, it’s important to prepare yourself early on in order to achieve your short and long-term career goals. By starting early and networking yourself out, you’re preparing yourself for a life of endless opportunities.