How to Proceed After Getting Your Degree

Posted by John Carroll on Monday, August 18, 2014 Under: Job Search
Congratulations, you’ve graduated!  Now is the time to really start focusing on starting a career.  Though entering the job seeking arena straight out of college can be intimidating, there are many steps you can take to help you stand out and find a great position.  Here are our tips for recent grads seeking to take that first step.

Focus on Presentation
Hopefully you took full advantage of being permitted to wear sweatpants and t-shirts to class for four or more years.  But now that you are looking for a job, it’s time to start working on your professional image. Before you begin applying for positions, make sure you have work-appropriate clothing ready for your interviews.  Some companies may mention their dress code policies before your interview so that you come dressed accordingly. Otherwise, you will need to have some basic, professional staples in your wardrobe to mix and match.  Of course, your presentation doesn’t stop there.  Often your online identity factors into your presentation just as much as your interview attire. Before you start applying, go through your public profiles and make sure they are squeaky clean for your future employers to peruse. Check out your facebook, Instagram, and Twitter profiles and eliminate anything that reflects badly on your professional persona.  You may even be interested in building an online portfolio that includes writing samples, information about your academic career, your resume, and links to your social media. Providing all of this information in a centralized, online location will help you stand out as a thoughtful, organized and tech savvy candidate.  And it may give the edge you need when competing against more experienced job seekers.

Customize Everything
Now that you have graduated, you probably have a few more achievements to include on your resume beyond part-time work.  If you have a limited work history, make sure you include your most impressive achievements from college.  Listing your degree, GPA, and related coursework will be helpful in giving your future employers an idea of how capable you are.  Create a general resume to use as a starting point for each resume you send out, but make custom changes tailored to each desired position. Research the company and pay close attention to the job description and requirements. Some positions may require more technical aptitude, so you should edit your resume to reflect your technical skills at the top of your list of skill sets. Other positions may require a proven history of great work ethic.  For these types of positions, be sure to include any information about clubs or volunteer work along with your work history to prove that you go above and beyond.  Cover letters should be customized as well, expressing your interest in the specific position and showing that you have taken time to research the company.

Stay Connected
The connections you make in college can sometimes be just as useful in your job search as your degree.  Stay in touch with the people who will give you a good reference down the line.   Make sure you ask for letters of recommendation now while your specific experiences with professors and mentors are still fresh in their minds. And don’t forget to set up that LinkedIn profile so you can continue networking throughout your job search.  A great recommendation can go a long way in the hiring process.

Make Goals
Unfortunately, your degree isn’t a magic ticket to immediately working your dream job.  You will most-likely need to start from the bottom in your field and work your way up. But remember to keep that end goal in sight. Continue to think about where you want to be and how you plan to get there.  The sooner you understand the next step in your career, the sooner you can start working towards it.  Understanding your goals is also an important aspect in navigating the interview process.  Many interviewers will ask you specifically about your professional goals with questions like: “Where do you see yourself in one year? Five years? Ten years?”  Make sure you know the answers.

Continue Learning
Your education isn’t over now that you’ve earned your degree.  It’s always important to keep adding to the skills that make you a desirable employee.  Don’t be idle; spend your down time while job searching to volunteer or intern for programs in your field.  You can also look into learning some general skills that are appreciated by most employers such as learning a new language or mastering commonly used computer programs.  While checking out the job market, you might find that a master’s degree or specialized certification will be necessary for obtaining your dream position, so why not start now?  That extra time and effort you spend will not only allow you to develop more marketable abilities, but will also prove that you are active in pursuing new challenges.

Be Flexible
Freedom is an asset.  If you don’t have any personal commitments keeping you from relocating or taking an unconventional schedule, keep an open mind about what you are offered.  Accepting these types of positions allow you to get your foot in the door and create a foundation for working upward within a company.  Temping is also a great option for kick-starting your career. Temporary agencies like Watson Dwyer allow you to test the waters in various positions in order to find the perfect fit.  And in the mean time you are given the opportunity to gain experience and learn new skills.  Our recruiters have solid relationships with their clients and are trusted to provide skillful candidates for open positions.  By meeting with a recruiter and talking with them about your history and employment needs, you are giving a skilled professional the tools they need to find the right position for you.  If you are interested in finding work through Watson Dwyer, you can apply online here:

In : Job Search 

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