Tips for new grads looking to land their first jobs

As graduation season continues, thousands of college students in California are preparing for their final big test: finding their first job.

Luckily, the economy is warming up. According to a recent survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, businesses plan to hire 9.6 percent more graduates from the class of 2015 than they did graduates from 2014.

But a brighter economic outlook doesn't necessarily mean finding that first job will be easy. UC Davis graduating senior Bernadette Lagman said it took months for her to get hired.

"I started looking ever since the start of my senior year, so that was basically September, and then I finally heard from Yelp in February," Lagman said. This fall, she'll be starting her first job in Yelp's San Francisco office.

Marcie Kirk-Holland, director of UC Davis's Career Center, said many college graduates have to readjust their vision of the "perfect" first job.

"I think one of the mistakes people make is they think that first job is going to be that have-all, end-all job forever, and sometimes expectations are really high," Kirk-Holland said.

Many students and recent alumni also don't take advantage of the free help available to them at college career centers.

At UC Davis, career center staff can assist students in writing resumes and cover letters, and they also do mock interviews to get graduates ready for the real thing. Kirk-Holland said this help can be critical in getting students their first job.

"Cover letters -- some people are [saying] they're not as important. I think for fresh grads, they're very important because it's also a way to demonstrate writing skills," Kirk-Holland said. She added the resumes and cover letters should be checked by a second pair of eyes.

Many college students, eager to be self-sufficient, are also reluctant to network. Career coach Andrea Weiss says recent graduates should talk to parents' friends, family members and their school's alumni to learn more about job opportunities.

"Alumni associations are a wonderful place to go to, both in terms of events they may have, but also to look for other alumni that are working in your field," Weiss said.

Your school's alums are also great targets for informational interviews. Weiss said many students are so eager to land "real" interviews that they overlook the importance of informational interviews.

Informational interviews are "not necessarily to go out and say, 'Will you hire me? Do you have a job?' But just to do research and gather information and to find out how that field works, what it looks like, where might be starting points," Weiss explained. Additionally, informational interviews can provide a great opportunity to ask about entry-level salaries – which will be invaluable information once a job offer is in hand.

3 tips to be an interview star
Meet Rob and his search for a better job
6 tips for getting hired at a job fair
How women can close the pay gap
How to transition to a high-paying tech career
Better Jobs: 8 job search and interview missteps to avoid
Better Jobs: 4 tips to make an interviewer want to hire you
Better Jobs: 3 tips to be an interview star
8 things to ask your boss for, even if they turned down your raise
Better Jobs: What are you worth? How to negotiate your salary
One of the fastest-growing industries pays $60,000 entry level, is based in the Sacramento area
Better Jobs: 4 ways to go beyond the online job search
The most important thing to have when negotiating a raise
Better Jobs: Putting mom skills to work
Better Jobs: Advice for working moms
Rehab your resume, and fill in job gaps
How to talk about the F(ired) word with future employers
Balancing work-home life with flexible jobs
Better Jobs: Finding affordable childcare
Better Jobs: How moms keep a balance
The signs of age discrimination in the workplace
3 ways to become your own boss
Better jobs: Temp work leads to a career
Why more companies are recruiting through temp agencies
On the Job: Finding work through a temp agency
Better Jobs: Train for high-paying tech jobs in four months
Better Jobs: Hiring for summer jobs
Feeling sick over job prospects? Sacramento's health-care industry is one place to look
On the Job: House cleaner
On the Job: Substitute teacher
Stockton HIREvent hopes to fill more than 600 positions
On the job: Collecting garbage
Where you can find hundreds of jobs in Sacramento
Better Jobs: How to use your age to get a job
Better Jobs: Republic FC coach give advice to grads
Better Jobs: Getting a job after college
How to turn a summer gig into a permanent job
Better Jobs: Former sheriff has advice for grads
Better Jobs: Working in private security
Better Jobs: At-home care
Better Jobs: Things to talk about in the interview
Better Jobs: How to break away from work
Pot business could create new jobs
Better Jobs: Layoffs at Sutter Medical, Bloodsource
Better Jobs: Bass Pro shops open new store
Sacramento chain's expansion means more jobs
Better Jobs: Beer industry brings jobs


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment