Careers

4 job tips for recent grads from people who've been there

The end of May is right around the corner, and for many college students about to graduate, that means the pressure to find a job is greater than ever.

If you're just weeks away from getting your diploma but haven't found a job (or the job you want), follow these four tips from career experts who focus on millennials.

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Stop beating yourself up

"We're trained to look outside for validation. We're always looking to other people to build up half of our confidence. When college and school ends, we don't have that thing to lean on. So if we don't get a job right away, then we feel like a failure," millennial career and life coach Jenn DeWall said.

Comparison is the envy of success.

"When their friends get their dream jobs...that inner dialogue will turn into 'Oh, they're better than me' or 'Well, they just have connections,'" DeWall said.

Instead, she recommends writing down a list of skills and strengths.

"Give yourself a daily acknowledgment that you are good enough," she said.

Make a specific ask

Adam Smiley Poswolsky, now a 32 year-old millennial career coach, had a quarter-life crisis of his own. He was working for the Peace Corps, when he realized that he wanted to change paths completely so he moved to San Francisco and started blogging. Reaching out to people for help was important to his own journey.

I think a lot of times young people and recent grads think we're on our own. It's almost like 'Good luck, go get a job, pay your rent in New York!' But you're not alone. People want to help," Poswolsky said. "If you can make a specific ask of what you want to learn, then people can help."

When looking for opportunities, don't limit yourself by only pursuing jobs in an industry's biggest companies.

"There are way more companies out there than you might think," said Liz Wessel, CEO and co-founder of WayUp, a job and internship platform for millennials. "For example, students going into finance often only consider the top five or so banks, but there are thousands of of boutique banks and funds with incredibly smart people doing interesting work."

Have a clearly defined goal in mind when asking someone in your social network for advice or help. It could be learning one skill from them, shadowing them for a few days or seeing if they know of any specific opportunities in an industry, Poswolsky said.

Get a job or volunteer

If you didn't find a job but still need to pay off college debt or pay the bills, having a job is better than not having one. Why? It gives you experience, and not only in the resume sense.

"Learning what's not the best fit is very important," Poswolsky said.

If you can't find employment in the industry you want, designate time to volunteer at an organization that will put you in contact with people in the field, experts said.

"Volunteering is a great way to get a sense of something. It doesn't pay, but it helps you learn," he said.

Pursue your passion in the meantime

Just because you're unemployed or are working at a place you don't love, doesn't mean you should lose your drive and passion.

"Whether it's reading articles on the industry or going to an industry or networking event, position yourself and treat yourself as a thought leader," DeWall said. "It doesn't matter your past experience, it just matters that you're committing yourself as a thought leader in that industry."

A thought leader is someone who is very knowledgeable on a certain topic, whose stays informed on the latest trends and whose insight is sought by others.

So how do you show that? Make a personal website as a first step.

"All you need is your name, mission statement, who you are what you care about, photos, a few testimonials from a previous boss, professor, or even a friend to speak to how great you are, and a couple logos of your college, where you worked or volunteered, even if it's a local program," Poswolsky said.