Tips On Getting A Job, From A Recent College Grad
Start writing a post
Student Life

Tips On Getting A Job, From A Recent College Grad

The job hunt is still fresh in my mind, so I'm sharing tips that helped me.

Tips On Getting A Job, From A Recent College Grad
Blue Sky Interviews

You’re studying to get a degree that will help you get a good job, but what happens when you’re about to finish your degree? Oh, yeah…the job application process. If you’re anything like I was during my senior year, this process is hanging over your head like a dark cloud – having to sell your skills in order to feed yourself is a daunting task for recent college grads.

It’s okay to be nervous - in today’s economy, finding and landing a job in your field right out of college isn’t always easy. However, there are plenty of factors that are in your hands. As taught to me by my parents, teachers, professors, career advisors, staffing agents and my own experiences, here are some dos and dont's of the job application process:



Thoroughly read the job description. This is key. A job title of “digital media consultant” may have a different initial meaning to you than your employer intended. Relying on the job title alone may result in you starting a job you’re not passionate about.

Use keywords and phrases in your resume and cover letter. Employers often use phrases such as “customer service” or “production management experience” in their job postings. They do this because they’re looking for applicants who have followed the above point, but more importantly they want to know that you have the skills they’re looking for. Even if your degree is in media communications and they would prefer someone with a degree in marketing or business, using key phrases provided by employers can show them that your skills are equivalent – if you’re being honest, of course.

Follow up with the employer’s contact person. Job postings often include a phone number or email address of who to contact. If you haven’t heard from a potential employer in a week or two, it is acceptable to follow up with them to let them know you are still interested in the position. Be sure to let them know when you submitted your application.

However, some employers do not want applicants calling them - for example, when acknowledging that my application was received, an employer once let me know they would contact me if interested and to assume they are not considering me further if they do not contact me.


Use the same cover letter for every application. This ties in with the use of keywords and phrases. Potential employers are looking for someone who will benefit them specifically, so a cookie-cutter cover letter that you give out to six different companies doesn't necessarily show how you will fit in with them. But in addition to using the words they are looking for, be personal and attentive to each company in order to attract them and leave them wanting to know more about you.

Ignore the employer’s application instructions. Some employers request specific information entered on their applications or have specific methods of submission. Follow the application steps they provide. Even if you know you are qualified for the job, missing a step in the application, such as forgetting to enter a request ID number or sending it via email when they wanted it submitted at their website, could keep you from even getting to showcase your skills to the employer.

Send in your application without proofreading. A professor of mine once told me that when initially screening applicants, he would toss an application after seeing more than two spelling or grammatical errors. How unfortunate would it be if you failed to get a job you might have excelled at when you committed one too many typos?



Ask questions. When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, they truly want you to ask questions. If you’re sitting there wondering what to ask, here are some good things to ask about:

  • -How long the interviewer has worked there (and what position changes)
  • -What the company atmosphere is like
  • -The interviewer’s favorite part about the job or the company
  • -Can the interviewer describe a typical day of someone in this position

Research the company. This may help you come up with more questions you can ask the interviewer, but more importantly, it will help you show them your understanding and interest in the company. For example, last fall I interviewed for a position in a nonprofit company that was known for its service projects in the area, so when the interviewer asked me to “tell me about myself,” I managed to throw in that I got my degree from a Franciscan university, where we prided ourselves in our service to the community.

Know the company’s dress code and kick it up a notch. Many companies have “business casual” as their dress code – that usually means no jeans and a dressy, modest shirt. For the interview, it’s better to err on the side of too fancy when choosing your outfit. My go-to outfit is usually a red tank top under my black blazer with white polka-dots, black slacks and black or silver flats.

That being said, not every company has a strict dress code, so it’s okay to dress accordingly. When I interviewed for a position in the marketing department of a newspaper chain, I wore a bright pink sweater and black capris (it was late April and the interviewer was wearing jeans and flip-flops.) Regardless, always look polished for the interview.


Be vague. This tells the interviewer that you don’t care about the company and that you really want to get out of there. While employers understand that you don’t want to starve (and you probably want to be able to go out with your friends or take a vacation in the mountains), they are looking for someone who will benefit them – it’s a two-way street. Many of the initial questions in the interview will be tied directly to your resume. Talk about specific projects, accomplishments, and skills and how they relate to the job you’re applying for.

Give irrelevant answers. The interviewer will often say, “Tell me about yourself,” or ask you, “What’s your biggest weakness?” Even if these things are true, do not say, “I like to go to the bar with my friends on Friday nights,” or “My biggest weakness is that I get the urge to check Twitter every 15 minutes.” These statements do not give the interviewer a good impression of you, let alone have anything to do with the job opening.

Instead, make your descriptions something that will make the interviewer believe you are still a good fit for the position, such as, “I enjoy accomplishing important tasks that often go unnoticed but tie large projects together,” or, “I sometimes lack self-confidence despite my proven ability to [insert skill here], which makes it hard for me to be a self-starter, but I respond well to direction and encouragement.” Check out this article for other ways to answer the weaknesses question.

Act overly fake. The interview is a way for the employer to get to know you as a person. Who you are on paper only shows the employer your qualifications and accomplishments – not you. While you need to be specific in answering questions about your job history and expectations, don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. When the interviewer knows your personality, he or she will get an idea of how to treat you as an employee – what makes you tick, how you will perform your best and how you will interact with your potential coworkers.

And remember, not every application or interview will lead to a job. But don't give up - a company out there is looking for someone just like you!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

6 Things Owning A Cat Has Taught Me

This one's for you, Spock.

6 Things Owning A Cat Has Taught Me
Liz Abere

Owning a pet can get difficult and expensive. Sometimes, their vet bills cost hundreds of dollars just for one visit. On top of that, pets also need food, a wee wee pad for a dog, a litter box with litter for a cat, toys, and treats. Besides having to spend hundreds of dollars on them, they provide a great companion and are almost always there when you need to talk to someone. For the past six years, I have been the proud owner of my purebred Bengal cat named Spock. Although he's only seven years and four months old, he's taught me so much. Here's a few of the things that he has taught me.

Keep Reading...Show less

Kinder Self - Eyes

You're Your Own Best Friend

Kinder Self - Eyes

It's fun to see all of the selfies on social media, they are everywhere. I see pictures with pouty lips, duck lips and pucker lips. I see smokey eyes, huge fake lashes and nicely done nose jobs, boob jobs and butt lifts. Women working out in spandex, tiny tops and flip flops. I see tight abs and firm butts, manicured nails and toes, up dos and flowing hair. "Wow", I think to myself," I could apply tons of make-up, spend an hour on my hair, pose all day and not look like that. Maybe I need a longer stick!"

Keep Reading...Show less

Rap Songs With A Deeper Meaning

Rap is more than the F-bomb and a beat. Read what artists like Fetty, Schoolboy Q, Drake, and 2Pac can teach you.

Rap artist delivers performance on stage
Photo by Chase Fade on Unsplash

On the surface, rap songs may carry a surface perception of negativity. However, exploring their lyrics reveals profound hidden depth.Despite occasional profanity, it's crucial to look beyond it. Rap transcends mere wordplay; these 25 song lyrics impart valuable life lessons, offering insights that extend beyond the conventional perception of rap music.

Keep Reading...Show less

21 Drinks For Your 21st Birthday

Maybe don't try them all in one day...

21 Drinks For Your 21st Birthday

My 21st birthday is finally almost here. In honor of finally turning 21, I thought I'd share 21 fun drinks since it's finally legal for me to drink them.

Some of these drinks are basic, but some of them are a little more interesting. I thought they all looked pretty good and worth trying, so choose your favorites to enjoy at your big birthday bash!

Keep Reading...Show less

Ancient Roman Kings: 7 Leaders of Early Rome

The names and dates of the reigns of the first four kings, as well as the alternation of Sabin and Latin names, are more legendary than historical. The last three kings, of Etruscan origin, have an existence which seems less uncertain.

inside ancient roman building
Photo by Chad Greiter on Unsplash

It is evident that all this is only a legend although archeology shows us little by little that these kings if they did not exist as the ancient history, describes them, have at least in the very Outlines were real as chief of a shepherd’s tribe. The period when kings ruled Rome could estimate at 245 years.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments