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About to Graduate College? 5 Tips for Lining Up Your First Job

With college graduation right around the corner, countless seniors are no doubt eagerly looking forward to getting their diplomas. At the same time, many are likely stressed at the notion of leaving campus life behind without a job lined up. If that's the situation you're facing, here are a few steps you can take to increase your chances of landing an offer quickly.

1. Narrow down your choices to a specific field or two

It's hard to lead a focused job search when you have no idea what sort of position you're seeking. Now if you've yet to spend time in the workforce, it's understandable that you may not know exactly what it is you want to do. But you'll help yourself out tremendously by focusing on a specific industry, or a few related fields. Doing so will make the application process more efficient, as you won't have to completely rewrite your cover letter every time an opportunity pops up.

2. Network aggressively

Many new college graduates don't have a ton of work experience to show for. If that's the situation you're facing, you can compensate for a lack of experience by getting endorsements from trusted sources. And that's why it's crucial to network extensively during the latter part of college. If you reach out to professors, grad students, or former students who graduated a year or two ahead of you, you might find someone who will not only vouch for your competence, but help you uncover opportunities you might otherwise not discover.

3. Create a compelling resume

Your resume is your ticket to landing a job interview, so you'll need to get that document just right. Now at this stage of your life, your work experience is probably limited, so don't waste time embellishing your responsibilities at the campus bookstore or cafeteria. Instead, paint a more comprehensive picture of who you are and what you're capable of. This means highlighting the courses you took that are relevant to the jobs you're seeking, talking up your skills, and, yes, showing off your stellar grades. Remember, the fact that you held down any sort of job during college is an accomplishment, so don't go crazy trying to spin your stint as a soda vendor as something more than that.

4. Brush up on your interview skills

If things go well, you might manage to line up some interviews immediately after graduation. And if that's the case, then the last thing you want to do is risk botching them. To this end, be sure to hone your interview skills to improve your chances of landing a job offer. If your college has a career center, you might pick up some great tips there. Better yet, see if someone who works there will run through a few mock interviews with you so that you get a better feel for them.

5. Be open-minded

Some people graduate college and expect the workforce to welcome them with open arms. Unfortunately, that may not happen, especially if there's lots of competition in your particular field. Therefore, do yourself a favor and take an open-minded approach to getting hired. The first few offers you get may not look like the jobs you pictured yourself doing, but if the roles offer a decent salary, benefits, work culture, and opportunity for growth, you should consider saying yes, even if it means adjusting your expectations.

Lining up a job post-college is no easy feat, but following these steps will make it easier. At the same time, don't fret if you're still unemployed a few months after graduation. Landing your first job takes time, and the last thing you want to do is settle for the wrong role out of desperation and regret it after the fact.

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