12/22/2022 by Melinda Shields
Learn how to get the job you want post-graduating by elevating yourself as a candidate and effectively selecting the right opportunity.
Today’s market is complex, both for the employer and the employee. The average skilled candidate has a plethora of options to choose from when it comes to finding a new career. In the face of heightened competition for top talent, many employers have placed a greater focus on partnering with colleges and setting their sights on the recent college graduate.
As a recent college graduate, many might be telling you to consider yourself lucky to be coming into the job market at such a candidate-driven time. Yet, this sense of limitless opportunities can feel overwhelming and stressful.
But I’m here to help you. First, we’ll take a dive into how to best position yourself as a top candidate for your dream job.
Then, once we’ve established those ground rules and you’ve successfully landed some offers, we’ll talk through how to select the best employment fit for you and your future goals. No pressure at all; this is only one of the more important decisions you’ll make. It’ll be fun! Let’s jump in.
Positioning yourself as a top candidate comes down to a few simple things. I’ll categorize it into three parts: Before, During, and After.
Many take the “apply to every position you come across with little to no prior research” approach. Law of numbers, and eventually, one of them will bite.
Personally, I advise against this method. Instead, sit down and write out what things you enjoy in life to pinpoint the type of role you would thrive in. Next, do a Google search of “best places to work” in your desired work location. Then put those two things together to find jobs you would actually enjoy with a company that aligns with your goals and values.
This will take a little extra time at first, but it’s worth it. In the law of numbers approach, you end up interviewing with any company that replies. Whereas here, you’ll spend more time dedicated to companies you are truly interested in.
Take a moment to tweak your resume to the job in question. Look for keywords in the job posting and find ways to add relevant ones to your skillsets and prior responsibilities.
I can’t stress this one enough, update any cover letter or objective so it aligns with the job you’re applying for! There’s nothing a recruiter dislikes more than opening a resume for a logistics sales position and reading that your goal is to land a medical billing job.
Ask for the details of your interview from whoever you initially speak with. Make sure you know who you’ll be meeting with, their title(s), the structure of the interview, and if there is anything you should bring with you.
Get there 5-10 minutes before the interview…not after.
Make lots of eye contact during the interview. Make it weird…but not too weird.
Show passion and excitement to be there and be considered for this position!
Make sure to get emails from those who interview you. Shoot them a follow-up email later that day or the following to thank them for their time and consideration.
If you haven’t heard anything several days later, reach out once more to the most relevant point of contact, expressing your excitement about the opportunity and asking if there’s anything else they need from you.
If you receive a declination from a company, always handle it with grace. Thank them for the opportunity and express interest in being considered for future roles. This will leave the door open for something down the road versus burning any bridges by handling it poorly.
You’ve done it. The offers are rolling in, and now the ball is in your court. You have a couple of days to a week or two to make your decision. Here are some key factors you should use to select the best employment fit for you and your future goals.
Look up company reviews through Indeed and Glassdoor. Any company will preach a positive culture but current and past employee reviews will give you a window into the real-life practice at that company. Most importantly, look for patterns. You’ll always have one or two who have a bone to pick but the patterns can show you if there is a real issue.
Now more than ever, people want stability in their careers. Research the company on current or past layoffs. This can provide insight. If a company has had some layoffs over the last several years, chances are they are quicker to go that route when the future is uncertain.
Take a look at the company’s mission statement and overall values. Ask questions during the interview process about promotion opportunities and ask those you interview with for their story.
This can provide insight into how the company views offering internal advancement opportunities. As someone going on 10 years with Trinity, having many lateral and vertical opportunities to promote to different positions and find my true passion in recruiting, it’s very easy to provide candidates with my stories and explain how attainable it can be for them as well.
Once you’ve gathered those stories and that information, use it in your decision-making process. Yes, the initial job and pay matter, but if your goal is long-term career growth, setting yourself up with a company that encourages and supports you will ensure you only have to read this blog once for a job hunt.
Money matters, but make sure you find out about the full benefits package and take it all into consideration. For example, a higher base pay with significant out-of-pocket cost in benefits might come in under the slightly lower base offer of another company.
Ask to see the benefits package and ask about their 401K offering and company match. Ask about the company’s paid time off policy. These things might seem insignificant during the interview process, but trust me, they will become very important, very fast, once you start using them.
Now that I’ve overwhelmed you with details let’s have a quick recap. Whenever this career search starts to feel like it’s too complicated, make it simpler. Go back to the basics.
It’s all about you thinking of the things you enjoy (and also the things you don’t enjoy) and coming up with jobs that would allow you to do those things. It’s about researching each company and remembering it’s the little things that will set you apart from your competition. People want communication. They want intentional action and passion for not only the job in question but your own personal goals and how you plan to achieve them.
At the end of the day, everyone involved in your interviewing process will be just that, people. So, shake off the nerves, update your resume objective, and go find your dream job. And, since you asked, yes, Trinity is hiring. 😊
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