It’s an exciting time, but applying for jobs and getting your first job can be a challenge. How do you apply for jobs with little to no work experience? Good thing you found your way to this article! You’ll learn everything you need about how to get a job after college with no experience.
Why Is It so Hard to Find a First Job?
How hard is it to find a job after college? Getting your first job is challenging for multiple reasons. Let’s go over some of the biggest ones, and then we’ll talk about what you can do to overcome these problems.
A Small Network
A professional network is the best way to find new jobs and transition to different roles. Unfortunately, as a fresh graduate, you probably don’t have a very wide network. The reason why a network is so beneficial is that you’re much more likely to get a job if someone in the company refers you. If they do, your resume is put on top of the pile, and you are given more consideration.
A Mediocre Resume
Many people don’t understand the value of building an excellent resume, especially if they’ve never really looked for jobs before. Employers can receive hundreds and thousands of resumes every day, so having a resume that stands out is essential. Small mistakes in formatting, spelling errors, and grammatical errors will automatically disqualify you for a job, even if you’re the perfect candidate. Make sure you ask your friends and family to go over your resume and consider hiring a professional to give it a once over. Above all, make sure that you tailor each resume for a specific job. This will significantly increase your chances of landing that job and is a great way how to find a job after college.
Competitive Job Market
It’s no secret that there are more young people looking for jobs than there are jobs available. This basically means that there is a lot of competition, especially for the best paying and most sought after jobs. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can really do about it. Be aware that competition for jobs is fierce and let that motivate you to work harder on your resume and job applications so that you can find a good job.
Lack of Experience
It seems like a catch 22. Even entry-level jobs ask for some work experience, but without being able to get an entry-level job how are you supposed to get work experience? Most companies know that fresh graduates probably don’t have a lot of experience, so you can still apply to entry-level jobs that say they prefer candidates with work experience. Instead of titling your resume section as work experience, try titling it as relevant experience and include volunteer work, extracurriculars, and other activities that show that you have the skills that the job requires.
No Interview Skills
Companies aren’t just looking for students with a perfect GPA, internships, work experience, and extracurriculars. They want people with great communication skills since most jobs now require you to work in teams or at least communicate effectively with people around you. If you make it through the initial rounds of the job application process, but bomb the interview, the job will go to someone who did better.
The Wrong Major
Maybe an internship changed your view on what career you want in life, or maybe you just changed your mind over time. Now you’re about to graduate with a major that doesn’t match the career you want to pursue. This is a surprisingly common situation since most people have to choose a major early on in their college careers. While you should be applying for the kind of jobs you want, having a mismatched major can make it tough to get the perfect job. Try to make up for it by showing how your other achievements make you a suitable candidate for the job you’re applying for.
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Main Tips on How to Find a Job After College Graduation
Apply For What You Want
You may be tempted to apply for everything you can and just take the first job you’re offered, but resist that urge. Applying for jobs properly takes a lot of time and preparation, so rather than send out a lot of mediocre applications, it’s better to really think about what you want and send well-crafted applications only for those jobs.
Build a Network
Networking is one of the most important things in any job, but you probably don’t have a vast network as a college student. Don’t worry though, you can start developing your network while still in college. Go to job fairs and university events that let you meet potential employers and get their contact information. Use LinkedIn to start connecting with people online. Tap into your alumni network and see if anyone is willing to help you. The earlier you start developing a network, the better your chances of getting great jobs, and networking is one of the best ways how to find a job after college.
The more you know about the job market and particular types of jobs, the better your chances of landing the right job for you. Spend time finding information about the industry you’re interested in. Go over as many job applications as you can to understand what skills a majority of those jobs are looking for in a candidate. The better you understand the job requirements and the industry, the better your resume, interview, and overall application will be.
Use Social Media
LinkedIn is an absolutely essential social media platform for people looking for jobs and you should spend time creating a professional and optimized account. Think of LinkedIn as a resume that’s always available to potential recruiters. Every resume should have a LinkedIn profile mentioned in it and employers will definitely check your profile. If they like what they see, you’ll have an advantage over other candidates.
Traditional social media like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are also an important avenue to find out about potential jobs. More importantly, any potential employer will check your social media to find out more about you. Make sure you set your social media accounts to private, and it’s a good idea to go over them and edit them to reflect the person you want to represent. It might be worthwhile to create separate social media accounts for your personal life and for your professional life.
Growth Stage Companies
Growth stage companies are organizations that are growing at a rapid pace. They are always looking for talented people and often hire many people at once. This means that there is less competition for a single job, and your chances of getting hired are significantly higher. While many companies require previous job experience even for entry-level positions, growth-stage companies are happy to hire talented people with no work experience and train them, so this is a great way to get your first job. Google “Inc 5000 list” to find the fastest growing companies, visit their websites, and see if they’re hiring. This is one of the best ways how to find a job after college.
How to Find a Job After College With No Experience
It’s normal to be a little scared and nervous about applying for jobs and actually starting a job, but there’s nothing to fear. As long as you’re well prepared you’ll be sure to land a job. Spend time working on your resume and research as many companies and job platforms as you can. Have coffee or a zoom call with friends and family who work in the industry you’re interested in. Most importantly, stay calm, just the fact that you’re reading this article means you’re serious about getting a job, and if you keep at it and prepare well, you will.
Apply For Internships
Applying for internships is a great way to get some more work experience before you apply for the job you really want. Applying for internships also let you get a taste of what working in a specific industry could be like, so if you haven’t really made up your mind, working at a few internships after college is a great way to test the waters and how to find a job after college.
Don't Forget About College
You might feel tempted to focus all your energy on finding jobs, but don’t forget about college. Many job offers are conditional, which means that they are dependent on the results of your final semester. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you land your dream job, but the offer gets taken away because you didn’t get high enough grades in your last semester.
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How to Find a Good Job After College
Build a Portfolio
Depending on the kind of job you’re applying for, a portfolio can be a crucial way how to find a job after college. For a job in creative industries, like graphic design, film, art, journalism, etc, employers will want to see a sample of your work. A portfolio can even be helpful for more traditional jobs in marketing, finance, or engineering. Put together a collection of presentations and papers you’re particularly proud of and build a portfolio. Any extra information that showcases your skills and talents will be beneficial when recruiters are making their final decision.
Work On Your Resume
This is one of the biggest mistakes fresh graduates make. The last time many of them might have had to use a resume was when they were applying for college. What worked for college isn’t going to work for jobs. Of course, you have to update the education, experience, and achievements sections, but you also have to tailor each resume to the job you’re applying for. Job descriptions list out the responsibilities, skills required, and expectations for the job, and you need to analyze them and build a resume that highlights how you match the role.
Work On Your Cover Letter
The cover letter is the first thing a potential employer sees. It’s an opportunity to tell them a little about yourself in a written format. You don’t have to write a completely new cover letter for every job you apply for, but you should change certain things based on what the job requirements are. Do some research about the company and find out what its core values are and include those values in your cover letter.
Do Interview Practice
The interview is usually the final challenge to overcome before getting a job offer. After weeks of work, you don’t want to mess up at this final step. A job interview can be a very stressful thing, especially for fresh graduates who may not have much experience with formal interviews. A good way of getting over your nerves is practicing answers to the most common interview questions so you are prepared when they are asked. Many colleges offer courses or extra help with interview preparation, or you could just ask a friend to run mock interviews with you.
Include Your Passions
Many fresh graduates are under the misconception that companies only care about grades and experience, but that’s not true. Your hobbies and passions show them what extra elements you could bring to the company. If you love sports, the company might have a sports league they participate in. If you debated in college, it shows that you’re not afraid of public speaking. If you’re a gamer, companies know that you can think strategically and make split-second decisions. If you have hobbies you are passionate about, make sure you include them on your resume.
How to Stay Busy While Waiting
Develop Soft Skills
How long does it take to find a job after college? Sometimes it can take a while, but there are many ways you can improve yourself and your employability while you’re waiting to get your first job. Soft skills are going to help you throughout your life, both professionally and personally, so take this time to work on your conversational skills, friendliness, leadership, teamwork, etc. You can do this by signing up for courses, joining new social groups, starting a new hobby, or doing anything that challenges you in a new way.
Courses and Certificates
One of the best ways you can increase your employability if you have time is to sign up for professional courses that give you some kind of certificate. You can sign up for many free courses online, either from universities, or professional companies, or even websites like Skillshare. Start a social media course if you’re interested in marketing. Start a trading course if you’re interested in finance. Graphic design, programming, writing, all of these, and many other courses will help you in life and with landing jobs.
As a fresh graduate, you already have skills that are in demand. Freelancing allows you to make some money with little to no official work experience and gives you something more to put on your resume. Look at micro freelance websites like Fiverr and Upwork for potential freelance jobs, and go through job forums and platforms to find other opportunities. Freelance jobs offer you the flexibility to work when you want to, so you can continue applying for jobs while making some money and gaining experience.
Getting your first job out of college is both exciting and nerve-wracking. Most people agree that job hunting is one of the most stressful things they ever do, and as a fresh graduate, you face issues that others don’t. That being said, there are many things you can do to improve your chances of getting a great job right out of college. Think about why it’s so hard to get the first job and find ways of overcoming those challenges. Make sure you’re doing everything right when you send out job applications. Tailor every resume and cover letter for the particular job you’re applying for, make yor resume perfect with resume builder or resume writing service. Make sure you’re spending your free time in productive ways. Above all, do your research and stay calm. If you follow all the advice in this article, you should now know how to find a job after college with no experience!