Career Advice

So You’ve Graduated & Still Not Employed—Now What?!

Adulting is hard. After being in control of scheduling, classes, and extracurriculars, this time of unpredictability is intimidating. Believe it or not, there is good news. In the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2016, 42 percent of employers described the 2016 job market for college grads as very good or excellent.

With job outlook predictions on the rise, why haven’t you gotten a job yet? You might be missing a few key factors needed to take you off the after graduation unemployment track.

Here are five ways to help you land a job after graduation.

1. Characterize your resume.

If you’re new to the job market, it’s impossible to create the long job history list you think employers are seeking. However, many companies are looking beyond past work experience and are considering personality traits. They want to know if you have the right leadership and teamwork skills, as well as a personality that matches their culture.

Give employers more details into your previous work/volunteer roles. Rather than generating a long list of the tasks you were in charge of, explain how these experiences have shaped you into a leader and taught you the value of teamwork. Use projects or leadership roles to show your attitude toward completing goals.

[Related: Search Jobs Hiring In Your Area!]

2. Search within your skill level.

It’s so enticing to look at high-salaried careers and all the possibilities accompanying them, but these lofty careers aren’t always the best place to start. While it’s important to stay positive about the goal of one day achieving a big salary and fancy title, applying for these jobs you don’t qualify for greatly hinders your chances.

Search for jobs with listed expectations closely matching your experience and skill level. Applying for jobs in your skill range heightens the chances of getting your first job out of college, gives you much-needed experience to grow, and continues to boost confidence as you begin to apply for more jobs.

3. Look for a “for now” job.

When entering college, you had a clear path set to reach the final destination of your dream career. Now you’ve graduated and are holding out for nothing less than what you had envisioned.

College gives you the opportunity to look at a grand picture, but it’s time to scale the big picture back and look at smaller stepping stones. Consider what jobs you can apply for in order to gain experience toward your final destination.

What skills and level of experience does your dream career require? What jobs can you apply for now to get you a step closer to these skillsets and experience?

[Related: How To Use Your Skills And Connections To Get A Job]

4. Connect through social media.  

Everyone knows someone who knows someone, and there’s no shame in using your resources. Recruiters are ramping up their social media efforts, according to Jobvite’s 2015 Recruiter Nation Survey. Out of 1,404 recruiting and human resources professionals, the survey found 56 percent of recruiters are using social media to find quality hires.

If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, it’s time to sign up. Look for profile examples from professionals in a similar field to get a format idea. Just like a resume, use all of your prior experiences to show responsibility, teamwork, leadership skills, and organization.

[Related: How To Clean Up Your Social Media Presence and Get A Job]

5. Define yourself.

You worked hard for your degree and want to show it off by putting it to good use. The freshly-printed degree in your hand has defined you for years and you’re excited — as you should be. But don’t let the degree title limit your chances of securing your first job.

Your college career and courses have prepared you for more than just one career, so it’s time to apply all of your talents. Write down all of your interests, goals, and jobs you wouldn’t mind doing until the perfect one comes along. Use this list as a guide to open up your application possibilities. Who knows, you might end up finding a job you never knew you wanted.

TELL US: Now that you’ve graduated, what are you doing to heighten your chances of getting a job? Let us know in the comments below!