The Grad’s Guide To Receiving A Job Offer Before Receiving A Diploma
If you think it’s too soon to start looking for post-grad jobs if you’re graduating in May, you’re sadly mistaken! Getting started early is the key to staying ahead of your peers – most of whom are in the same position. If you can do each thing listed in this post, you’re on a perfect track to receive a job offer before receiving your diploma.
Make a professional email address that’s not attached to your university.
Some universities shut down student emails one year post-grad, so it’s best to save yourself the trouble and grab a personal email address just for work happenings. Avoid using any unprofessional email addresses (like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org) and get a simple one like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Employers won’t look too far into what your email address actually says, but you might as well save them the second thought of deciding whether or not to hire a “princess.”
Familiarize yourself with job posting sites and download their apps.
Use your new email address to sign up for job sites. Job sites like Monster, Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkedIn should become your new best friend, and all four of them have mobile apps! Instead of mindlessly scrolling on Twitter or Instagram, use your thumbs to do some good. Figure out what kind of job you’d like after college, narrow it down to a few broad key words, set a big city as your location (using “Austin” instead of “Pflugerville” or “Houston” instead of “The Woodlands” will bring you more results), and search on! Many job sites and apps have a way for you to bookmark the listing to revisit it later. You may find it easier to apply to them as you see them, or spend a few hours curating some jobs and applying to them all at one time.
Get your resume updated – probably not by your school’s career services center.
Depending on your university, oftentimes career service center employees are students who don’t yet understand what it takes to craft a career-building resume. Career centers have many different reference points for crafting students’ resumes, meaning none of the advice they’re consuming will align. If your career center suggests adding a “hobbies” section, focusing chiefly on your extracurriculars, starting your resume with an objective statement (not a summary – those are good!), or – arguably most importantly – writing you a resume that’s over a page, turn the other way and run! Although some resume companies can be extremely pricy and employ very limited collaboration, our Graduate resume package is designed with a price break in mind for college students and new grads, and we’ll write as many drafts of your resume as we need to until you’re happy.
Tailor your cover letter – not your resume – to each job specifically.
Read last week’s blog post about how to write a killer cover letter. Resumes should be all-encompassing documents of your professional/academic experience, and typically shouldn’t need any tailoring from job-to-job, because they should focus on your strengths no matter what position you’re applying for. Cover letters become slightly more personal, and serve as an opportunity to discuss some strengths you have that may not have fit well on your resume.
Round up references, but leave them off your resume.
Think of two or three people that could convince someone to give you a job – that’s why references exist! Make sure your references can speak about you in a positive professional light, because that’s what companies considering hiring you want to hear. However, references do NOT belong on modern resumes, and neither do “References Available Upon Request” statements. It goes without saying nowadays: the company will contact you for your references if they’re interested in pursuing you as a candidate. One important tip – be sure to let your references know when you’ve been applying for jobs, so they know to answer a potentially unknown number, and can prepare a bit for discussing your strengths with a stranger.
Prepare for phone interview calls out of nowhere.
Speaking of calls from potentially unknown numbers: once you start the application process, you’ve got to start answering them! There’s no way of knowing how the company prefers to contact you (and even if you stated you’d rather correspond via email than phone, they may still choose to call you), so for all intents and purposes, you should generally always be interview-ready during business hours. Odds are, it won’t be a full-length interview, just a short phone screening to gauge who you are. And it’s not the end of the world if you miss a call from a potential employer or recruiter – read the linked post to find out why. Take a few minutes one day to prepare a bit, so you’re not caught too off-guard.
Set aside an interview outfit or two.
Take a look at this infographic to learn how to cultivate a few professional outfits.
Go to job fairs and hand out your resume like it’s candy.
Even if every table doesn’t exactly pique your interest, give them all your resume regardless. Best case scenario – you land a job. Worst case scenario – you get experience in sending professional emails, having professional phone calls, being interviewed, dealing with rejection, and putting yourself out there, all of which you’ll be experiencing for the rest of your life anyway!
Make a note of each job you apply to.
Now, this is one a lot of people don’t think about. It’s easy to pop your resume in an upload box and hit Apply, but it’s not easy to keep track of which company is which. The worst feeling is receiving an out-of-nowhere call from a company that’s interested in you, and not remembering a SINGLE detail about the company, why you applied, or what the position at hand even is! (Which may sound weird to some people, but details absolutely get lost in the numbers – it usually starts after about the 20th application.) Grab a notebook (or a sheet of paper, but don’t lose it) and make a note of every single job you apply to. Jot down the job title, the company name, and a little blurb to help you remember which job is which. This will serve to be very beneficial in staying organized and keeping track of your applications.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, then starting on the first one.” -Mark Twain