Using Your Grad Enthusiasm to Find Your First Promising Job

14 06 2017

When you graduate from college, you enter a whole new world. It’s fun. The opportunities are practically limitless. Where will you head to? Whatever you want to be, you can become. However, you’ll have to go through a real struggle before you get there.

The moment you start searching for your first job, you’ll realize you were overly optimistic. During periods of labor market weaknesses (we’re still recovering from the Great Recession), the young workforce faces a disproportionate increase in unemployment. Currently, the unemployment rate for college graduates is 5.6%. Many of the employed ones (12.6% of them, to be precise) are underemployed.

Does this mean it’s impossible to get that ideal first job you were dreaming of? Wait, where did your enthusiasm go? That initial enthusiasm you have when you graduate from college is your factor of attraction.

Grad Enthusiasm Article

You’re Young, Smart, and Promising! Use Your Enthusiasm to Get into the Job Market!

If you start looking through job ads, you’ll notice most of them prefer experience. The entry-level positions are meant for applicants with no experience, but you feel like you’re overqualified for them. The lack of experience is a serious drawback when you compete on the job market. But let’s see: what makes you better than an older candidate with experience competing for the same position?

  • Your knowledge is fresh. You just took many exams and wrote outstanding projects. The academic writing standards are much higher today. If you’re a great writer, you can highlight that fact in the resume.
  • You have no fear of challenges. You know the real world is full of them. You know that college didn’t prepare you for all of them. You’re ready to face what you need to face and stay persistent through the challenges. A potential employer clearly sees that advantage in young applicants.
  • You can fully commit yourself to the job. Chances are, you still don’t have a family. Most recent graduates don’t have family plans in near future. This may seem discriminating, but employers would gladly accept such a candidate over someone who cannot stay overtime because they have a baby at home.

How to Show Your Enthusiasm and Get That First Job

  1. Start Your Search Right Away

If you still haven’t started searching for a job, you should start doing it before you lose your initial enthusiasm. Now is the right time to start sending applications! If you really need a vacation, don’t make it longer than a month.

  1. Highlight Your Skills and Knowledge

Since you don’t have much experience to brag with, you’ll have to balance the resume out. You can do that by writing a functional resume that highlights your skills and knowledge.

Maybe you don’t have any work experience, but you do have life experiences. Share details about your internships and volunteering activities. Employers are excited to see such experiences in a resume. They prove a candidate is a well-rounded person with interests and commitment.

  1. Meet as Many People as Possible

Tell everyone you just graduated and you’re open for opportunities. Show people you want to work and the opportunities will come to you.

  1. Nail the Cover Letter!

Where do you show your enthusiasm? The cover letter gives you that chance! Unlike the resume, it’s written in first person. It allows you to include details that don’t fit in the resume. Write about your interests and show your enthusiasm to work for this particular company.

Useful Tools for Career Search

You don’t know where to start searching for a job? Here are few tools for you to check out:

  • LinkedIn – If you still don’t have a profile, do it now! Start making connections. You can use the platform to search for open positions.
  • Indeed – A classic job search engine that leads you to localized results.
  • CareerBuilder – Craft a great resume and upload it. The platform will pair you with the right opportunities.

You’re at a turning point in your life. You’ll be under a lot of stress to get that first job, but don’t lose your enthusiasm. It’s exactly what makes you attractive to employers.

****For this post, Campus to Career thanks Chris Richardson!!****

Chris Richardson[162]

About: Chris Richardson is a journalist and editor at He is fond of traveling, sports, and playing the guitar. Chris finds his inspiration in writing. Meet him on on Facebook and Google+.



How To Get The Skills You’ll Need After Graduation

5 01 2016


Photo by Alex Jones

College is supposed to prepare you for the real world, so you can find a job and contribute to society. But that’s a big responsibility to expect universities to do on their own. While a 2015 report by Hart Research Associates found that 64 percent of employers feel colleges could improve graduates chances of career success, by helping them learn both field-specific and broad skills, it’s important for students to also find ways to develop these skills.

Communication skills, being able to manage and complete a long-term project, and experience working with a team, are some of the big skill sets graduates seem to be missing. It might seem impossible, but you can gain these experiences while balancing a full course load.

Many people would say that internships are the only way to go. But there are other options. Here are three skills you’ll need after graduation and how you can master them before entering the job market:

Communication skills

Written and verbal communication skills are important in both the classroom and the office. You’d think that what you learn about writing reports or giving presentations in college would, therefore, translate to your career — but it doesn’t.

The way scholars communicate is very different from how professionals do. Taking classes that focus solely on written and verbal communication gives you the chance to study and learn the differences. These types of courses have you read and listen to examples of communications and analyze what makes them effective in various settings.

Learning about all the different ways to express yourself will give you a diverse toolbox to pull from once you have a job. It’ll help you communicate appropriately with clients and coworkers, and allow you to produce quality project reports and presentations.

Experience working on long-term projects

A 2015 survey from Gallup found that graduates that had taken part in a project that lasted for more than a semester were 1.8 times more engaged in the workplace, something employers value highly.

Unfortunately, unless you complete an honors thesis, most projects you do in college only take a week to a month. Then you turn it in, get a grade, and move on. In the workplace, projects are multifaceted and ongoing, constantly undergoing changes at every stage. They require different organizational and management skills.

If your classes don’t offer you the chance to work on a long-term project, try joining a club. Whether it’s fundraising events, performances, or other types of enterprises, clubs balance multiple long-term projects at one time, just like companies do.

Research the different types of clubs your university has and what they do. Then get involved. Whether you jump in on an event that’s already being organized or you start planning a fundraiser from the beginning, juggling all the tasks involved will give you the experience employers are looking for.

Ability to work with a team

If you need to gain professional experience working with a team, try starting a business with a group of friends. Work together to find ways to get your business going, manage the finances, and solve problems along the way. This will teach you how to brainstorm with others and resolve disputes that may arise.

Keep the idea small, so it doesn’t interfere with your coursework. And remember that this is a project, not your life’s work. Come up with a start and end date for the business, so that possible employers realize your business was about gaining experience, not an endeavor that failed.

What other skills will you need after graduation and how can you get them?

****For this great post, Campus to Career thanks Val Matta!!****

Val Matta

About the author: Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.

Top 4 Career Choice Tips for New Grads

22 05 2012


By Annie Favreau, Inside Jobs

With graduation season in full swing, I’ve been thinking a lot about new grads who have put off career planning until the very last second. Not too long ago, I was in the exact same boat. During my senior year, I had been completely focused on my classes. By the time I raised by head out of the trenches after finals, I realized I didn’t even know where to start in terms of choosing or building a career. And the clock was ticking.

It worked out in the end (I was lucky enough to find a job I love a few months after graduation) but not until after some serious heartache and awkward trial-and-error.

From this rocky beginning, here are some of my favorite, and hard-earned, career choice tips:

Volunteer: If you haven’t had any real world experience, now is the time. Even if you have to work as a barista to pay the bills, set aside time for an internship or at least some volunteer hours at an organization that interests you. Don’t get too hung up about where you choose to work first. The simple act of being in a workplace—any workplace—is useful. It can teach you about your own work values, what kind of environment you’re best suited too and more. Even if you don’t find your dream job, you’ll at least have cut out some options.

Build a Wide Network: Not having a specific career focus is no reason not to build a network of contacts and friends. Reaching out to people working in many different areas can open your eyes to the sheer range of career possibilities. Plus, once you do find a career area you want to pursue, chances are you’ll know someone who knows someone happy to help you get a foot in the door. BONUS TIP: Networking is a two way street. You will have much more success if you approach people with the pay-it-forward mentality of “How can I help this person?” instead of “How can this person help me?”

Do Your Research: It’s been my experience that an informed job seeker is a more competitive job seeker. From informational interviews to career exploration sites, now’s the time to buckle down, commit to in-depth research, and put in the effort to get the facts you need.

Stay Strong: Everyone takes a different path. Yes, some people have known exactly what they wanted to be since they were ten years old. But many strong, accomplished people have taken much more circuitous routes to success. Never apologize for the path you’re on. It’s yours, be proud.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about choosing a career?

About the author: Annie Favreau works for, a site that helps people make career choices and build strong, successful futures. Join the career conversation on Twitter at @InsideJobs.

Congratulations! Now What??

15 05 2012

It’s graduation season.  Droves of eager 20-something college seniors are lining up in their caps and gowns, ready for pomp and circumstance.  In the good old days, graduating with a degree meant that you most likely had a job waiting on you.  Employers were hungry for new talent, providing most graduates with multiple offers to entertain upon graduation.  Unfortunately, the good old days have come and gone.  This isn’t a post about the doom and gloom of today’s job market – you’ll find plenty of those out there.  No, this is a post to help you figure out what to do after graduation because odds are, you’re still looking for your first career out of college.

Congratulations!  Now what??

Update your résumé.  Now that you’re done with your formal education (for now, anyway,) it’s time to make sure everything is updated.  Still have your dorm address listed as your permanent residence?  You might want to change that.  Email address still  Some universities are moving towards an email system that will allow you to keep your email address as an alumnus, but to be safe, consider nailing down or any of the other free accounts out there.  Why?  You don’t want an employer to be emailing your school email and get a bounce-back with an undeliverable status.  Believe me, it’s usually a signal to move on – most won’t investigate further.  The easier you make it for recruiters, the better!  BONUS TIP: Update the verb tense to reflect past experience on your résumé.  Also make sure to update the dates of experience.  Detail is important!

Update (or create) your LinkedIn profile.  Why is this separate from the first point on résumés?  Because LinkedIn is NOT your résumé online.  It’s an extension.  Use LinkedIn to add work samples (, presentations (SlideShare,) recommendations from peers and supervisors, and connect with others in your industry.  LinkedIn remains THE place for recruiters as they seek top talent (after Google search.)  Make sure your profile is updated.  Here’s a great article that helps you make the most of LinkedIn: If You’Re Not Linked In, You Might Be Left Out.

Keep networking.  Regardless if you have a job or don’t have a job, keep networking.  Let people know you’re still looking.  Help others first.  How do you do this?  Just ask.  Instead of rambling all about what you’re qualified to do, the jobs you’ve applied to, and the skills you possess, ask how you can help your network.  Why do this?  It’s the right thing to do – you shouldn’t have ulterior motive.  However, paying it forward always comes full circle.  That person you just helped will help someone else, who will help someone, who will help someone…see where I’m going with this?  BONUS TIP:  Reach out from time to time, via LinkedIn, email, or phone call and just ask what you can do to help.  Don’t wait until you need something.

Keep calm and carry on.  Whatever you do, make sure it gets you closer (even if it’s just a baby step) to your ultimate career goal.  Keep your goal in mind, but also keep calm.  Chances are you’re going to be searching for a job for a while out of college.  This can be very frustrating, but don’t let it get you down.  Stay focused on the end goal and remember, take time for yourself.  Surround yourself with friends and family who support your goals and let loose every once in a while.  The job search can drive a person insane – don’t let that happen.  Breathe, then keep moving toward your goal.

Congratulations on successfully completing your college education.  Whether it took 4 years or 40, I’m proud of you.  I know others are as well.  Hopefully, these tips will help you along the way as you land the job of your dreams.  You can do it.  Now, go get ‘em.