Finding your dream job often requires understanding what employers are looking for and a bit of patience, plus some of your own proactive steps. Following these tips can help you get started to find that first job.

Prepare your resume

To write a good resume, gather information on your graduation status, skills, volunteer work, internships, and job experience that would be relevant to prospective employers. Also, consider customizing your resume and its layout for each job opportunity, so that your relevant work experience, education, and abilities are noticeable for the reader. It’s also a good idea to closely review your resume for spelling and grammatical errors.

Take advantage of your college career center before you graduate

Getting ahead of the game is important in your job search. Most schools have career counselors and services that can show you how to prepare a resume and cover letter, and to find job leads. Practice interviews with a counselor can also help increase your confidence and improve your interview skills.

Attend recruiting events

Local companies will sometimes visit college career centers to recruit new talent. It can also be helpful to attend on-campus recruiting events, company presentations, and job fairs, and to introduce yourself to representatives from these companies even before you graduate. Making a good impression at these events might benefit you while you are in school or when a future job opens up.

Build your network

The further you extend your network, the greater the chance you’ll hear about new opportunities. Create a network with family, friends, professors, academic department heads, and former bosses to help in your job search. They may offer suggestions, recommendations, or introductions to people they know who might be hiring. Even if they don’t know of someone hiring right now, they might be able to introduce you to someone who would be willing to talk about their experience or their industry. By making that connection now, you will be fresh in that person’s mind if they hear about a future opportunity.

Make social media work for you

Many recruiters research candidates via their social media profiles, so it can be beneficial to update your online profile. You can start by creating a profile with your relevant experience and educational information, and joining networking groups in your field of interest. Asking questions and posting appropriate links on the group’s page can demonstrate that you’re interested in and knowledgeable about what’s happening in your field. Look for online sites that specialize in jobs for recent graduates to see what is posted and to also post your resume so others can find you.

After graduation, the “real world” will offer many exciting, educational experiences. Finding your first job can be tough, especially in today’s environment, which makes the right tools and preparation all the more important towards helping to land the job of your dreams.

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