The job market looks a little tough right now. If you want to find employment after you graduate from university, you need to stand out. This means that you need to showcase your value — and you might even need to be willing to do a little hard work for little to no money. If you are looking for a job after university, here are some things you can do to improve your chances:
One of the best things you can do while still at university is to participate in an internship. An internship can provide you with hands-on experience in a career, as well as help you make contacts that could be part of your career network later. An internship can provide you with skills, opportunities, and more. Even doing an internship after college can be helpful. The important thing is that you are gaining experience, and that you are making connections.
Clean Up Your Social Media Profiles
Increasingly, your social media profile is becoming part of your job search. So you have questionable information and images on your profile? While you do want to make sure appropriate privacy settings are observed, you should still be aware of how it’s possible for others to see what is posted. Remember to tone it down on social media. It’s also possible to create a social media profile on sites like LinkedIn that are aimed at professionals.
Realize, too, that what you post on social media can show up in search. So including key words about what you do, and posting about news in your desired industry, can help you get noticed by recruiters. It can also help you stand out if a company decides to search for you online after receiving your resume. Consistent social media profiles that show you as a professional can be helpful.
Part of cleaning up your social media profile is getting a professional email address. Your first and last name, or some variation, is always a safe choice. If you are still using BeerBong69 as your email address, you are likely to find yourself in the reject pile when you are looking for a job after university.
Attend Networking Events
Many university career centers hold networking events that can introduce you to alumni in various career fields. Take advantage of these events, and of other opportunities offered through your university career center. You can also attend networking events in your town, such as those put on by the local Chamber of Commerce or other business group, or attend conferences in your industry. These are opportunities to make connections and meet new people.
Another form of networking is to use the Internet. Identify people at companies you would like to work for, and then connect with them online. Start out by following them on social media outlets, and then occasionally re-posting what they say when it makes sense in terms of your industry. You don’t want to be heavy-handed about it, but you can get noticed if you are careful about it. The goal should be relationship-building, though.
A lot of successful job hunting has to do with building relationships and making connections. If you can start doing that while you’re at university, and make an effort to engage people online and offline, you will have more success in the hunt for a job after university. It is also a good idea to attain a highly marketable and recognized credential from a reputable university before beginning your job hunt. The more marketable your degree, the better luck you will have with your job hunt. Remember that some degrees are more adaptable than others are, so earning a degree that can be applied to multiple industries could also maximize your chances of finding employment. Many universities provide you with access to a network on well-connected alumni and experts in the industry during your time there, which can also improve your job prospects.
23 thoughts on “Looking for a Job after University”
I was very lucky and landed a job through an internship. It isn’t always the case, since I had two internships previous, but I’m happy I don’t have to job hunt!
How did you get your internship(s) Daisy?
I too got an internship. 30 positions and 1400 applicants (2004). Pretty brutal competition.
I definitely recommend getting experience in your industry while in school. For me that came in the form of a co-op program that required three “work terms” in order to graduate. The experience I gained was irreplaceable – and I got paid!
I didn’t get paid for the co-op but the skill set I learned was invaluable.
I wish I would have used these tips when I was in school. I guess it doesn’t matter now since I’m trying to make a career out of being a blogger.
Volunteer. I know this may seem like a waste of time, but it can lead to things. Also – actively let people know you’d like *help* finding a job. When I was job hunting (not after university – more recently), my in laws had connections at a great company, but it didn’t seem to occur to them to put me in touch. If you know what area you are looking in, ask everyone if they know anybody in that area!
It’s very difficult I know but all these things are good ideas. With layoffs and downsizing the market is competitive but don’t forget, if you are offered a job, ask yourself the question if this company is one you would be proud to work for because you need to believe both in yourself and the employer. Of course if it is just a temporary position to pay the rent that is different and here I think the US is much more flexible than Europe because losing your job over here is a big no-no and the labour market is less flexible.
Good point John. I keep reading the super low employment rates for youth in Europe. If I had a job there, and even if I hated it, I would hang onto it with a death grip.
Depends on the field, but IMO it comes down to experience and contacts. Reach out to everyone you know, get active on social media, and do internships, volunteer for work experience, etc. I got my first job through an internship. My current job originated from going in to interview for an internship, which didn’t pan out, but was recommended to another magazine in the same company, which led to some regular paid work, which eventually led to a job offer that I left my first job for.
An internship is how I ended up working for a company for 7 years and learning a great deal about the mobile industry… so, I would say it was great option for me. I highly recommend it for all students.
Ditto IIW. I was ecstatic to get into the Ontario Internship Program. The only other call I got during my brief job search was doing database work for clinical trials in New Jersey.
While in college I had an internship in the Controller’s office. The fact that I had practical experience that I brought with me to the interviews made all the difference.
As mentioned, I went to college after I did my degree. Part of the 3rd year was spent doing a co-op 1/2 days for the year. While many of my peers went for positions that got them a well paying summer job I went for the placement where I would learn skills my diploma would not provide (working with Oracle). This was key in my landing my 2 year internship w/ the public service. I had a job tending bar so making more money was not an issue thankfully.
Thanks for chiming in with your experiences! It really does seem like internships are worth it, paid or not.
And now for the comment I meant to write on Monday :)
Networking is critical in finding a job as most jobs are not advertised (the so-called “hidden job market”). I got my first after university job through a personal contact – my girlfriend’s Dad knew a guy who knew a guy who worked at a company I was interested in, and that guy put my resume into the hands of someone who was hiring. Did you follow that?
The other thing I would add to this list is make sure your resume package is well written – I’ve tried to help several people find jobs in the past and the biggest thing that hits me right away is always a lack of attention to detail in the resume package.
The resume is key. Mine was awful coming out of university – it is not a skill they teach or promote. I do think you can go to a career office to get help but most kids won’t bother.
Great tips. These can be applied to job hunt regardless to where you are in your career.
Do not presume that a university degree prepares you for the labour market. Some do: e.g. engineering. Many others, of the liberal arts and science variety, help to make you an “educated” person. Following such an intellectual pursuit with some career training makes perfect sense, particularly in a country with a a desperate and growing shortage of technically trained people. I have in mind the guy who takes care of my car – a mechanical genius with a degree in political science.
This is a great point Graham. Personally I got a degree in Poli-Sci and Sociology but went back to school (college) for 3 years to learn programming (diploma). My degree led me to jobs in call centres while my diploma provided me the skills to get a job with the provincial government in IT.