How To Get a Job After College

How to get a job after college

The graduate job market is challenging and not easily accessible. You aren’t alone in your efforts to stand out from the crowd. Though the road isn’t easy, if you’re searching for your dream graduate job, have faith. 

Implementing the tips and advice below will change the way you approach applications. You could secure your ideal position before you know it!

Need help getting a job? Check what re:work training can do for you.

Why You Might be Having Trouble Landing a Job

Finding a job may be challenging for several reasons:  

Poor Preparation 

Develop your resume early on, and gather the necessary supporting documents. Brush up on your interviewing skills and have a clear idea about the clothes you’ll wear.

Don’t Know What You’re Looking For 

College graduates should start looking around for what kinds of jobs are available before graduation. You don’t need to start applying yet, but have an idea of what’s out there. 

Not Starting Early Enough 

An entry-level position search can take as long as six months. Depending on your field of study, don’t wait until after graduation to begin the search. Start applying about three or four months before graduation.

Not being proactive 

After you apply for jobs, don’t forget to follow-up. It might be necessary to apply for as many as ten jobs at a go. Keep track of the applications you’ve made so that you can follow-up in five working days.  

Lack of experience 

Internships & work-force training programs like re:work are an excellent way to gain experience & skills that employers value. Often auxiliary experience makes all the difference in the employer’s choice. A resume showing relevant hands-on training, internships, co-op, externships, and work experience can impress a prospective employer. 

Forgetting it’s about them, not you 

The job search isn’t about you; it’s about the employer. During the interview, your responses should be about the job description, the company values and mission, and what they do. 

Related: How To Fill Out A Resume With No Experience

12 Things to Do

Despite the issues above, you can still land a great job. Here are a few things you can do to be successful:

1 Invest in Career Development as early as possible


You can’t have too much experience. It doesn’t always feel like a step forward to take an internship, but more employees find that it’s a great way to sharpen existing skills and learn new ones. Forbes suggests getting an internship with a company with a widely recognized brand.

Work-force training

Unlike an internship, programs like re:work prepare candidates for real life work situations while actively working to get them placed in a full-time position with a livable wage. They also set themselves up as a life-long career resource.


This isn’t just about helping your community; volunteering is an effective way to meet new people and develop new skills. You might even meet potential employers. 

2 Remember LinkedIn

Many recruiters use LinkedIn to find prospective employees, so prioritize connecting on the site. Complete your profile, find other alumni from your college, and participate in industry-related groups. 
Forbes suggests building a LinkedIn profile when you’re a senior in high school – even if there isn’t much to it. Include awards, extra-curricular activities, and any work you’ve done. Babysitting jobs, a lemonade stand, or summer camp can all demonstrate that you are enterprising, have a strong work ethic, and that you are reliable.    

3 Do your research 

Research what your target companies are looking for in new hires. You can do this by gathering at least ten job descriptions and highlight all of the keywords and phrases that appear in all. This will give you a good idea of what you need to offer to prospective employers. These can also be highlighted in your resume, cover letter, and emphasized in your interview

Do this with specific job applications as well as generally. Tailor your application to fit the particular role you’re applying for – every time. It’s more work than just sending out a standard cover letter and a non-tailored resume, but it will yield more results. 

Tip: Instead of writing a new resume each time, try saving the different variations of it under the specific role name for which it’s been tailored. Then you’ll have one ready for the next time. 

4 Network

Your social contacts can lead to excellent jobs. It’s been said that up to 80% of jobs are never advertised. They go to people who are socially, or otherwise, connected. Other networking can happen among friends, family members, neighbors, professors, and coworkers. Join professional organizations and attend the meetings. 

5 Find a mentor

Consider using the advanced search in LinkedIn to find someone doing what you want to do and working in your target company. Send emails and see if anyone will meet with you. Getting advice from someone already successful in your area could make all the difference in your plan forward. 

If you’re a forward-thinking company, who cares about diversity and creating economic opportunities for Chicagoans, contact Re:work today. 

6 Use a computer, not a phone

Make job applications, inquiries, and follow-ups by email. You can type your message into Word or Google Docs and screen it for typos, grammatical errors, etc. Then copy and paste it into your communications. Making a phone call may be quicker, but it can look unprofessional, and phone messages often don’t get to the desired person. 

7 Expand your search 

If your local search hasn’t been fruitful, you may need to expand your search to another city or state. And if your search for a particular kind of job isn’t turning up great results, consider expanding your search into other fields. 

8 Find the employers

Do all you reasonably can to get directly in front of prospective employers. Take advantage of job fairs, networking events, and campus interviews. Your resume can only say so much; an in-person meeting will give you a chance to shine – if only briefly. 

Related:  10 High Paying Tech Jobs You Can Get Without A College Degree

9 Create a personal website

Going the extra mile to create a personal website will make you stand out to employers. You can blog about industry-related issues, display class projects, and share your resume. 

10 Get a part-time job

Of course, you need a full-time job, but taking a part-time job will bring you an income in the meantime. It will also demonstrate your strong work ethic. 

11 Take a class

You might not want to hear this, but taking additional classes can give you the edge you need. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) like on Coursera,, or edX can fill in knowledge gaps and make you more attractive to potential employers

12 Get advice

Your college career center is a source of useful advice, even after you’ve graduated. Make an appointment with a career advisor to discuss your career plans. Show them your resume and cover letter for feedback. They can redirect your job search, if necessary, and give you access to resources to prepare you for your future career. They can help you figure out a job-search strategy to guarantee success. 

Staying motivated during the job search process

Not to put too fine a point on it – job searching can be a soul-crushing experience. Getting negative results or no results at all can drain your enthusiasm, leaving you without the energy you need to continue. 

Here are a few tips to keep you motivated:

  • Make a job out of finding a job. Consider a 9 to 5 schedule that leaves you with your evenings and weekends free. 
  • Set measurable goals. Have a daily or weekly goal of how many applications you will make, the follow-ups to applications you have already made, and research into companies for who you’d like to work. This will keep you consistent and will benefit your mental health as well. 
  • Keep your head in the game by doing freelance projects on sites like Fiverr.  
  • Remember your achievements. When it seems that ‘everything’ is going wrong, it’s helpful to have a reminder of all that you have achieved, the skills you’ve learned, and the connections you have made. 
  • Schedule motivational activities like podcasts and online classes. Remember, fitness, sleep, and healthy eating are all still important, even at this time.   

Related:  Why Sales is a Great Career

Final thoughts

The right job does exist. It might not seem like it when you’re trudging through the searches and the rejections, the frustration, and the pressure – but the right job does exist. Consider getting part-time work in the meantime to relieve some of the financial stress, and keep looking forward. Do all that you can to protect your energy and your positive outlook. 

If you’re a part of Chicago’s untapped community, we can help you to improve your outcomes and have a brighter future. Contact Re:work today!

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