How to Get a Job After College – Part 2 – Search For Job Opportunities

In Part 1 of the series (see link below), I discussed several tips and techniques for creating a resume/cover letter and having it reviewed so that it is ready to present to potential employers.

My Money Blog – How to Get a Job After College – Part 1

Now that you have your resume all polished up, it’s time to find positions that you can apply for! But, where do you start looking? What sorts of job search strategies can you apply? It is shocking how some departments in universities do not provide much guidance at all in the job hunt for their students. So, don’t be afraid to do it on your own!

Places to Look for Jobs (ranked in order of liklihood to get you a job with #1 being most likely)

1) Ask your college professors for department alumni or other contacts they have that would be able to get you a job.

Why does this system work you might ask? The answer is very straight-forward. If I am an alumnus of the mechnical engineering department of a university that is currently working in the automotive industry, there will undoubtedly be professors existing in the department whom I trust. And, if they can tell me that in their professional opinion that they have a lead for me on a potentially promising candidate for my company, I am going to listen and be able to promote that individual much better than a candidate that applies in a random fashion.

2) Ask your friends and family for possible contacts they have in the field in which you are interested. (It’s always better to have some kind of connection with your employer than applying randomly)

3) Go to the career fair that your department/school holds for your area of interest.

Career fairs at your college are a great thing because the very action of the company showing a physical presence to recruit on your college campus indicates that 1) they are already interested in the college’s students and 2) recognize that college as a place where productive talent has been found in the past. Additionally, if you have good credentials, it is a lot harder for a potential employer to ignore you face-to-face than if you are merely a name on a resume.

4) Join a professional organization (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineering, Women in Engineering, etc) and travel to career fairs/expos they offer. This is how I got my current job.

These aren’t quite as good as career fairs at your college because the companies will not be specifically interested in your school’s students. However, it is still harder to be ignored in person vs. being only a resume.

5) Go to career fairs at other regional universities.

Before going, make sure to call the career center in charge of the career fair and make sure you will be able to get in to the fair without an ID from that specific university. It won’t be worth the drive if you are unable to get in!
6) Cold calling employers / unsolicited applying online at company websites (my least favorite)

In trying to find a job several years ago, I applied online to probably close to 75 companies. Not one of the applications turned out successfully. I have even heard that there is like 2% chance of success with submitted an unsolicited resume online or via email. I believe this chance increases to 10% with calling, but this is still not that impressive.

Note: do not be confused with the fact that nowadays, many employers require you to apply online as more of a formality after you have been connected through another route with the job for legal reasons.

While the odds are fairly against you for applying in an unsolicited fashion online, I have seen this method work with a fair level of success when you apply directly to positions available at smaller sites within a large company (not directly to the company wide internship applicant pool). Why does this work you might be asking? The key is that you want to get your resume looked at by someone other than Human Resources that will actually hire you.

Related Job Finding Topics

1) Do not settle for the answer, “Just apply online then we’ll move forward that way.”

One of the easiest ways for employers to professional reject you at a career fair is to tell you, “Everything looks great! Just apply online!” This is 90% of the time code for submit your resume to the resume vat, and we will never talk to you again. To reitterate, it’s OK to be asked to apply online because it is required for legal purposes, but it should be more as an afterthought/formality to the job connection process.

Instead, if the employer representative is interested, they take your resume from you personally and invite you back later for an interview at the career fair. No interview, just applying online = unlikely to get job. If they do not offer to take your resume and/or invite you back for an interview, at the very least, ask them for the rep’s contact information so that you can keep your name fresh in their mind.

2) Following up after meeting or interviewing with employers

After you meet a potential employer at a career fair or during an interview, it is important to ask them for their contact information so that you can follow up with them 1) to hear about the results of the job and 2) to keep your name fresh in their mind.

3) Start Small – Internships, Co-ops, and Starter Jobs

It is very likely that you will not be able to find your ideal full time job right out of college. However, there are several things you can do to improve your chances of this happening.

The biggest key here is to do an internship!

Why are internships so valuable? Easy! Internships are a no-risk opportunity for an employer to get an in-depth, temporary look at how you perform on the job and analyze whether or not you would be an effective full time employee. Additionally, internships do not for benefits such as health insurance, etc, thus reducing the cost of an intern by nearly 40%.

So, your goal should be to find an internship or co-op position while you are in school (either during the summer or during spring/fall semsester. Most companies that show up at career fairs will also be recruiting for interns/co-ops as well as full time positions.

Another good thing to attempt is to start working at a more local company in the industry in which you want to work. Several years ago, when I was on the internship hunt, I used the link below to search for smaller bio-tech/pharma companies in my college town, and merely called them and asked if they would offer me an internship. After I obtained an internship at the smaller company, I could then leverage that experience towards my next goal. See how that can work? – Search for a Bio-tech Company, by location

Well, I hope this post helps you on your job hunt success! Please let me know if you have any questions.

Keep on learning!


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  1. Beautiful post (as usual). I have been reading this blog for a while and I always learn something new.

    My recent post General Rules For Interview Dress Code

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