Nika Notes: How to Find a Job After Graduation | Faces of Black Fashion: Nika Notes: How to Find a Job After Graduation

Monday, June 23, 2014

Nika Notes: How to Find a Job After Graduation

How to Find a Job After Graduation

Congrats new graduate! You did it, you earned that degree, and you should be proud of your accomplishment. For some of you, you are the first in your family. I am proud of your accomplishment. For those of you who have already secured jobs, congrats again. In this economy, that’s a huge feat and a load off of your shoulders. For those of you who haven’t already secured employment, reality may have started to set in, and you may feel worried, but don’t fret! It can be done, it just takes tenacity and a little creativity on your part.

Below I am sharing tips on how I secured a job after graduating from both college and graduate school: 

1.  Have your career services edit your resume and cover letter. Yes,  you need a cover letter. Even if the job posting doesn’t ask for one, submit one, unless of course, the posting specifically says,  "no cover letters."  As someone who has  been on the hiring side, have another pair of eyes review your resume and cover letters. Mistakes happen, and a mistake on either document can hurt your chances of getting an interview. 

2. Sign up with a head hunter or a placement agency. I was fortunate to secure my first post-college job before graduation. Nevertheless 18 months later, the company where I worked felt the impact of the economic downturn. As a result, my hours were reduced. As a young adult living in NYC, I needed extra income to survive, so I got TWO other part-time jobs to supplement my pay cut. Working three jobs meant that I  had a limited amount of time to job search. I signed up with an employment agency that specialized in my area of interest. After meeting with the folks there and taking the requisite skills assessment tests, I got an interview and an offer for full-time employment within two months of signing up. Bye, bye three jobs!  Sign up with more than one agency if you can! 

3. Volunteer with an organization within your field of interest. I cannot say this enough, volunteer! I know this can be difficult especially for people without financial safety nets and/or support. I get it.  I am not recommending volunteering full-time. Work a part-time job  and volunteer at least two days per week. This will help you gain real life experience and build your resume while you seek full-time employment. After I left graduate school in 2012, I didn’t have a job right away. I volunteered at a legal services organization and loved it. It was my first post-law school experience and I learned a lot and expanded my network. Shortly after  I started volunteering, I found my current position.   

4.  Move if you must. My first post law school job came in an offer 3,000 miles away.  I jumped at the opportunity. Was I afraid? Yes, but it was a great opportunity for me to develop and grow professionally.  The truth is, some markets are hit harder than others or are more saturated than some. You may find more opportunities for employment away from home. If your life allows it, move.  

5. Tell everyone you know  that you’re seeking employment. We live in a world that’s powered by relationships. You never know who may know someone who is looking for what you have to offer. Don’t be shy. As my mom always says, “a closed mouth doesn’t get fed.” Additionally, stay in touch with your career counselors, let them know the jobs that you’re interested in and ask them to forward anything they come across that meets your interests.  

6. Don't get discouraged by rejection, simply see it as a part of the process. Stay in the game! You may get a lot of "Nos" before you get your yes. Brace yourself for possible rejection by realizing it's a part of the job hunting process. 

7.  Do mock interviews or practice answering common interview questions. As the quotes goes, "success is where preparation meets opportunity." Prepare in advance so that you can bring your A game to your interviews.

   Go and get 'em!

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Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts :)