How to Find a First Job After College

It’s a day you’ve been working toward your entire college career. But now your job search is making Organic Chemistry seem like a walk in park. So what is it going to take to find your first job after college?

How to Find a First Job After CollegeIf you’re a recent college graduate or plan to be one in the near future, you know that the job outlook is looking pretty bleak these days. With only 55% of the 16-29 year old demographic gainfully employed, the recession and job crisis has taken the hardest toll on young people, many of whom are anxious to apply their college degrees in the workplace.

Although you will be competing with record numbers of career veterans in the job marketplace, the good news is that a college degree significantly increases the odds that you will eventually land a good job. Going into 2012, many employers are reporting that their campus hiring targets will return to pre-recession levels. Here’s what you need to know as you attempt to transform your degree into a profitable career.


Get Organized

Organization is the golden rule of any job search. Clutter and disarray might have gotten you through four years of college, but it won’t help you launch a career. Before you do anything else, sit down with a career center representative to devise a strategic plan that includes action items and reasonable timeframes.

Start Early

 The best time to begin preparing for your job search is freshman year. Internships (paid and unpaid) can be gateways to employment, especially in fields that are difficult to break into. If you haven’t done an internship yet, don’t panic. Work with the experiences you have and if necessary, delay your job search by a few months so you can intern in your field.

Leverage Assets

We get it – you’re broke. But cash isn’t necessarily the most important resource in a first job search. Chances are you have friends, acquaintances and alumni contacts in thousands of companies. Start shaking trees and look for contacts that can be leveraged to help you get your foot in the door with targeted employers.

Be Realistic

It took you four years (or more) to get your degree. Hopefully it won’t take you that long to find a job in your field. However, you can’t expect a job to materialize overnight. Job searches take time, so settle in for the long haul and put in the work it takes to land a good offer.

Think Out of the Box

Within limits, out-of-the-box thinking can be useful in a first job search. Too much creativity (e.g. tweeting your resume to employers) can be dangerous. But in general, don’t be afraid to innovate when it comes to identifying great gigs and networking with employers.

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