5 Tips For Recent Graduates Entering The Job Market

Apr 14, 2024

Graduating and entering the workforce can be one of the most exciting and nervous times of your life. You can finally celebrate years of hard work and start your full-time career.

But every now and then, global events come along that can make this transition scarier than it should be.

We’ve found that it helps to know what your options are, so that you can take control of your situation.

With this guide, our goal is to help you do just that. 🙏🏼

We’ve highlighted questions, along with resources, that’ll ensure you’re thinking through all your options while looking for your first full-time job.

So, take a deep breath and recognize that you’ve got support. 💪

Now, let’s get started.

How do I know what jobs to apply for?

Research what industries and jobs are still in demand. We’ll discuss this further under question #3)" "Identify where your skills can be utilized." "Use that knowledge to guide your job search." >}}

A lot of recent college grads don’t know what they want to do with the rest of their life, and that’s okay. For now, you just need to identify what skills you have that you can offer a company.

That will give you the clarity you need to focus your job search efforts. You can follow these steps to help you figure out what you want to do if you don’t know which roles to apply to.

What is my financial situation?

Getting a handle on your finances will help you feel more in control of your situation, and allow you to focus on your job search.

How long can you go financially without an income? Which expenses do you consider necessities and what can you live without for the time being? We’ve outlined additional resources for you to consider and encourage you to do your research.

  • Monthly Bills - You may be able to postpone payments for your credit card, mortgage, student loans, rent, utilities, and more. Call your bank, service providers, landlord, etc. and ask what type of policies they’ve put in place for deferring payments or interest for the next few months. Many companies are offering lower interest rates with smaller monthly payments. Consider this option and identify if it makes financial sense for you, both short-term and long-term.

  • Budgeting - Look into different ways you can reduce your expenses—you can see some examples here.

  • Student Loans - Do your student loans have a grace period after graduation? How long is it? If you’re worried about making loan payments, look into administrative forbearance and keep an eye on any changes to federal student loan payments policy.

How do I know what companies are still hiring?

  • Live updates - Companies like Candor and StillHiring have put together live lists with updates on companies and their hiring processes. Crowdsourced lists of jobs and internships, like this one on Airtable, are also a good place to begin looking.

  • Monitor job trends - Indeed created an analysis you can view to track job market trends. To find the best opportunities, ask yourself: what industries are suffering due to the current climate and which companies have seen rising demand for their services? Those are the companies you want to target!

How can I gain work experience to impress employers?

There are still plenty of ways to get experience as a recent college grad, even if you can’t find a full-time job right out of school.

  • You’re probably most familiar with internships, but you can also volunteer or even begin freelancing on general contracting sites like UpWork or platforms that are industry-specific.

  • Check out remotegrad.io, weworkremotely.com, and Remote Woman to get you started!

  • Apply to part-time jobs that allow you to develop crucial skills employers look for—like communication, collaboration, time management, etc. These are all transferable skills that you can highlight during interviews.

Finally, check out this video from Madeline Mann that’s specifically for students and career-changers trying to find work right now.

How can I make the most of my current network?

  • Play the “recent grad" card - Networking is the most effective tool you have for getting a job, pandemic or not. And good news: as a recent college grad, you have an advantage over everyone else! People are more inclined to help out when you’re just starting your career. Our CEO, Shireen Jaffer, played the “recent grad" card for 4 years after graduation and shared some advice on how to go about it!

  • Ask yourself: Who do I know? - When you’re thinking about who to reach out to, ask yourself who you already know. Professors, mentors, LinkedIn connections? A warm connection and introduction will open the doors to more opportunities. This guide will take you through a few steps on how to get a referral.

  • Tap into your alumni network - Check out Shireen’s tips on how to reach out and build your network through alumni.

  • Build your digital brand - When employers Google you, what do they see? LinkedIn has emerged as one of the best places to network and build a brand virtually. Your digital brand will be a representation of who you are now and who you want to be in the future. Curious about how to build one? You can start your search here.