Great Jobs KC

Job Search Toolkit

A GUIDE TO THRIVE AFTER GRADUATION

How to Handle the Job Search After College

Congratulations! You’re nearing the end of your undergraduate journey and you’re thinking, “What’s next?” For most, that means trading in your textbooks for a job application. This process is full of ups and downs and can be stressful for many, so we put together a guide to help you get through it.

Inexperience: Friend and Foe

One of the biggest obstacles that our young scholars face in the job market is their lack of career experience. Many companies want candidates to have experience that they cannot gain while in college.

There are several things that you can do to combat this inexperience:

Make sure your resume is flawless

Creating a perfect resume is an art. Include all your experiences in chronological order, highlight skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for and more.

Become a seasoned interviewer

Interviewing is probably the most important part of the application process and, fortunately, a skill that can be improved upon with practice. Take time to hone your interview skills with anyone willing to help so you’ll be ready!

Try to pick up experience wherever you can

The only way to gain experience is to get it. Look for internships, apprenticeships, courses or anything that you can put on your resume that would be enticing to an employer.

If You Want To Go Fast, Just Apply. If You Want to Go Far, Network

Building connections with people can sometimes take you further than the skills you’ve learned in the classroom. Go to job fairs and make connections, stay in touch with any professors, classmates or co-workers you meet, especially in your desired career field, because these people can serve as an invaluable resource when applying for jobs.

According to HubSpot, 85% of jobs are filled through networking. (HubSpot, 2023)

If You Align Your Expectations With Reality, You Won’t Be Disappointed

While you want to jump right into your career and start earning a great amount of money, that may not always be the case starting out.

The job market is extremely competitive and it is unlikely that you will find yourself at the top of the ladder without climbing first. If you are having trouble finding your ideal job right out the gate, it may be best to adjust your expectations and figure out what steps you need to take to get there. Look for similar positions that may have more flexible qualifications as a way to gain the experience needed for your ideal job. Don’t think of it as a step back but as a stepping stone in the career progression path.

Play Your Hand and Let the Chips Fall Where They May

The job application process can be intimidating because there is so much on the line. You’re basically auditioning to start your career and earn a living. Sometimes people are so worried about the outcome that they lose focus on the process.

Who to hire is a decision that the employer has to make and live with and is out of your hands after you interview, so don’t spend too much time worrying about it. Focus on controlling what you can (giving a great interview, having an up to date resume and providing any requested references and materials). Present yourself as the best candidate you can be. Your best is the only thing you can offer.

Success Isn’t the Absence of Failure; It’s the Persistence Through Failure

Finding the right job is a long and winding road. Some people may secure employment before they graduate, but that isn’t always the case. For many, it’s a grind that includes many interviews, assessments, references and rejections.

The most important thing to remember in all of this is to never quit. Lean on your support system when you are feeling sad and frustrated, ask for feedback but, most importantly, don’t give up. You will eventually get a job and be on your way during your career path.

Remember, it’s darkest before dawn. Keep going.

It takes graduates an average of 3-6 months to find a job after college. (DO-IT, University of Washington, 2021)

Are you a KC Scholar? Want more advice or help in finding the right job after college? Reach out to our Career Resource Team at:

ABOUT GREAT JOBS KC

Great Jobs KC is a Kansas City-based nonprofit that provides access to college scholarships and tuition-free job training, along with job placement assistance for individuals from low- and modest-income families in the metropolitan area, providing a pipeline of talent for a strong regional workforce. Please join us on our mission for economic

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