By Jim Wong, CPA | June 1, 2016

Wherever you go, go with all your heart. –Confucius

It’s that time of year again. College graduates are throwing up their caps, saying good-bye to the thrills of university life, and making their way into the real world. Whether, they are embracing adulthood head-on or dipping their toes in the corporate water, one thing is certain—they will all need to find jobs at some point.

Now, some college students are lucky enough to have a job offer in place even before Graduation Day. That is a great feat! However, the majority of students are not necessarily as fortunate. Whether you begin your career with an internship or an entry-level position, the key is to start somewhere.

For accounting, finance and information technology (IT) graduates, and many other professions, you are entering a relatively healthy labor market. Open positions are widespread and wages remain competitive. This means that recent graduates should take advantage of these in-demand positions because you never know when the labor market can turn.

So, what type of advice is out there for recent graduates when starting off their careers? I came across an article on Business News Daily that discusses the topic. I’ve shared some of their tips, along with a few of my own in the 5 Job Search Tips for Recent College Graduates below.

1. Have a plan.
Throughout college, knowing what you want to study is crucial for your future career. Many colleges and universities have specialized programs for accounting, finance and IT majors. Therefore, having an idea of the path you want to take before you enter the workforce is important. Do you want to go into public or corporate accounting? Do you want to be an IT consultant or look for a permanent opportunity? Having a clear plan early on will help you make the appropriate choices to set you on your desired career path.

2. Look for internships.
Often times, even entry-level positions ask for a certain amount of work experience. If you’ve just graduated, it may be difficult to produce those qualifications. So, if you work through an internship, whether paid or unpaid, it can give you the on-the-job skillsets you may need. Some students do internships while they’re still in school. However, if that’s not an option for you, taking on an internship right after graduation is a good solution.

3. Utilize your online presence.
Social media can be a great tool for recent graduates when looking for a new position. Many hiring managers and recruiters use various social media platforms and online job boards to seek out potential hires. Be sure to clean up any content on your personal profiles that may not shed you in the best of light. Also, create and optimize your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is the number-one professional social platform and a great way to search for a new position. Lastly, update your resume and post it to the major job boards. You can catch a hiring manager or recruiter’s eye there, as well.

4. Use your college resources.
Many colleges have programs in place to advise students on how to enter the workforce following graduation. Be sure to take advantage of these resources. Set up meetings with a career advisor and see what they recommend. Search for any published materials that may give you valuable career tips. You can also speak with your professors and ask them how they approached their careers.

5. Network.
Entering the real world can be a little intimidating. Get a feel for what you’re getting into by talking to like-minded professionals who are already in their careers and ask them questions. Attend a networking event or an alumni event and have conversations with those in a similar field. Be sure to prepare a short elevator pitch that tells your story. That way you can get the advice and feedback to help you along in your career. You may hear about available job opportunities, as well.

What are some other tips for recent college graduates who are in the midst of their job search? Comment below and let us know!

Need help finding a new opportunity following graduation? Contact a Brilliant Recruiter today! Email or call 312.582.1813 and mention this blog.

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