Job Seeking Strategies for Graduating College Students

Written by: Frank Furr

Graduating from your undergraduate program can be one of the happiest moments in your life, but also one of the most stressful. For many, you may rejoice that you are finally done with school, but that means that you need to start your transition into the workforce. This may entail networking, filling out job applications, updating your resume, and practicing your interviewing skills. 

Others may want to pursue a higher degree. This will require research. Research on schools and the programs offered, but also research on yourself and your interests. Undergraduate degrees, in general, are flexible but graduate degrees should reflect a clear path. 

Some undergraduates may take the third option of a gap year. This is a great option for those who want to travel or pursue some of their less profitable passions before moving onto a career or more school.

Let’s talk about getting a job. This is the most common choice because it is the quickest route to what youth call “adult income.” Before applying for jobs, you should edit your resume. There are people who edit resumes professionally and oftentimes, your undergrad program or university will offer this service to you, included with tuition. At the University of Maryland, Terps are provided these resources at the writing center and through the career center within each individual school (sometimes referred to as colleges at other campuses). 

Once your resume is in tip-top shape, you may start looking for job opportunities. A great way to find job opportunities is by networking with people in the field you want to enter. Lucky for you, LinkedIn.com makes this easy. You can go to the search and filter alumni from your university and by major. Connect with as many of these people as you can and start applying to recurring places that pique your interest. 

Depending on where you live, I highly recommend trying to find government positions. They are generally very stable and have great benefits. This experience will also open up doors in the private sector where you may be able to get paid more for government contracting work. The best place to find these opportunities is USAjobs.gov. This website will allow you to upload your resume, cover letter, and other documents and reuse them to instantly apply to as many openings as you wish in a very short time. 

Once you have applied for a position, you will hopefully be called in for an interview. One key part of preparing for an interview is researching the company and the position you are applying for. Interviewers love questions related to the position, their expectations for you, how the company can flourish, and other things that show that you are interested in the company. I would also suggest doing a mock interview. There are many mock interviews on YouTube and they can prepare you for some of the most common questions that potential employers may ask. To find more job seeking tips, check out the University of Maryland Career Center. Good luck!

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