5 Job Search Tips & Tricks – The Graduate Edition


If you’re a recent graduate let us be among the first to say congratulations! It can be the best and scariest of times to be sure and often those feelings are orbiting around your ‘first job’.

AT TZR we work with experienced candidates and C-suite leaders but know the power of building a network and are invested in setting everyone up for success from the get-go – so here are a few tips that we recommend as you dip your toes into your new career and we hope we will see you in a few years in our Talent Zone.

Keep an open mind

You’ve just spent the last few years preparing to work in a field of your choosing, so it might feel imperative that you move right into a position in that industry – but try not to get too caught up in that mindset.

Look for positions that may work in conjunction with or require similar skills/knowledge as your major. Every job you have, regardless of its perceived relevance to your exact course of study, will build your skills and add to your expertise. In the early years of your career, you are not only looking to build a resume but to launch your real-world education.

The World Economic Forum says “…you come out of college with a lot of knowledge, but what matters less is the knowledge that you have, than your ability to think critically about issues and continue to learn and to grow and to build new skills over time. You can feel really proud of all you’ve learned in your college education. That’s something to feel great about. But if you think that that means your education is done, you’re sorely mistaken.”

Think outside the box

Now, more than ever, the opportunities are truly endless for professionals looking to break into the business world.

Flexible work schedules/environments, the ‘gig’ economy, advances in technology and telecommuting have made finding a job a lot more interesting and accessible.

While you may be conditioned to seek a ‘traditional’ 9-5, consider the various alternatives available to job seekers today.

“Your first job doesn’t have to be a 9-to-5 office job. Today’s workforce is ripe with flexible work options. Consider a part-time job, two part-time jobs, freelance gigs, or a remote job. Expanding your search beyond a traditional full-time job will open you up to many more opportunities you wouldn’t find otherwise,” FlexJobs

There isn’t only one right job

It’s common for new graduates to keep a laser-focus on the ‘dream job’ only to get discouraged when you realize that the position requires more experience and/or skills than you’ve graduated with.

Additionally, there may be a target company or industry that you hope to break into right away.

Adhering strictly to one or both of these goals will unintentionally limit your prospects as well as overlook a number of incredible opportunities that will set you down the right path for career growth.

One recommendation is to focus on applying for as many jobs as possible even if they aren’t exactly what you thought you wanted. “It will help you become more experienced with the hiring process. Try applying to different types of jobs and different types of companies,” Recruiter.com.

And remember, rejections are just a bump in the road.

  • Write a resume that stands out and prepare for the interview

In most cases, your resume will be your first point of contact with hiring managers. It is worth the effort now to put together something they can’t ignore.

“Even if you don’t have much experience to put on it, you still need to create a standout resume. Remember that the point of your resume is to introduce yourself and prove to employers that you are the best candidate for a given position.

Work experience is not the only thing you have to offer. Think about hobbies you have that may have taught you skills related to this job and projects you worked on in school that are relevant to the role,” Recruiter.

This is a great time in your life and burgeoning career to foster one of our TZR mantras that character counts.

A person’s character influences every area of how they use their credentials. You can have solid credentials and still fail in a job if you have poor personal character.

Everyone may think you’re a hard worker, but do they want to be in the same room as you? Your new boss may appreciate how well you know the numbers, but did you show up to the meeting on time?

As a recent grad these are important lessons to learn and live by now.

Continue building a network

We’ve all heard the phrase, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know – which can be a bit daunting for new grads who haven’t had a chance to accumulate a robust list of business contacts.

But don’t fret – despite what you might think, you’ve been building a network for much of the last few years.

“Start with professors, mentors, and school staff to see if they can guide you to a company or job. Ask for recommendations from these people as well. And if any of them have a direct contact or connection to a job or company, ask for a referral. This will set you well ahead of those who apply without a personal contact or referral.”

And now that you’ve become an official ‘job seeker,’ you can start to add to your network of professionals with people you come across during interviews, networking events and social settings. Keeping an eye out for a mentor in your field during this time can be invaluable for your career future.

“Insight on your dream job never hurts. You get to build relationships with seasoned professionals while also learning trade secrets about a position you might hold one day,” Handshake.

While professional recruiters, like TZR typically work with more seasoned professionals, it is always worth exploring this option – especially if you’re pursuing a highly-technical career. Often recruiters can provide tips for your job search and, best case, they can serve as a valuable contact in your networking circle as you progress professionally. 

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