Do your homework – Candidates should prepare real life examples that demonstrate transferrable skills gained from coursework, group projects, extra-curricular activities, work experiences and leadership positions. These examples will support a candidate's value proposition. Job seekers should also research the industries, companies, and positions they are targeting, so they can come to interviews prepared with meaningful questions and learn more about the company and their potential roles. Informational interviews are a great way to break the ice with limited expectations. Use them to get your foot in the door and gain valuable interview practice in a low-stakes environment.
Network, network, network – Most entry-level professional jobs are not advertised. Why? Large companies with college recruiting programs often limit job postings since they recruit at a specific group of schools. Further, since small and medium employers don't interview on campus, they commonly identify applicants through referrals. Most college students have larger networks that they think. Parents of friends, professors, coaches, former work supervisors, volunteer leaders, and many others can all be helpful. Most importantly, alumni contacts should be pursued vigorously. Recent alumni connections can be contacted to learn more about their job searches and where they landed. Older alumni will be more than willing to help, especially if approached for informational interviews. Informational interviews often lead directly or indirectly to finding a job.
Use technology wisely – Technology has completely changed the game when it comes to job searches. More than half of college students use mobile apps when looking for a job and more than 90 percent of students use social media regularly. Social media networking – primarily via LinkedIn – is widely considered to be the best way for college students to identify and pursue job opportunities. Technology has empowered college students and new grads to tackle job searches on their own. However, students still need to develop a strategy to have success, and must ensure their social media profiles are up-to-date with current experience and connections. Technology can be a valuable tool for networking, too, so use it to your advantage. Set a goal to make at least five new connections every week during your job search.