7 Steps to successfully land a job from school

Read time: 5 minutes

Finding a job is a big challenge for every graduate. When you enter the job market, you are facing a totally different set of audiences, e.g. recruiters, hiring managers and perspective colleagues. Besides coursework, school projects, you are exposed to job application, interview, and deciding your first job in life. Job hunting for the first time can be a huge project which makes your life a hassle. However, breaking it down to 7 steps may largely increase your chance to land on to your first dream job with much less stress.

Step 1. Review your professional profile and set a career path

Analyze your professional capabilities, strengths, weaknesses, personality, interests, expectations of your future career, etc. Each of them may relate to a career path, and you may choose a few candidate career path which have the most supports of your professional profile.

If you need a better idea of candidate career paths, you may start with reviewing professional profiles similar to yours, e.g. education background, project experience, skill set. LinkedIn is an ideal depot to access such profiles, and you may start with friends, alumni of you or even your family. After that, you can have a more objective analysis and understanding of your professional personality.

To have a better idea of the career paths, you may reach out to your friends or alumni for an information interview about his/her career. Besides, it is good to stay updated about the progress of different fields, and their job markets. Hacker News publishes such information timely, and other people's comments can be eye-opening as well.

Based on the above factors, determine your career direction suitable for your current situation.

Step 2. Connect professional capabilities to your experience

When entering the job market, you need to present your professional capabilities with support of your experience. There are two methodologies to build the connection between capabilities and experience. One is top down from capabilities: list your capabilities relevant to the career path, and enumerate a few supporting experience for each of them. The other is bottom up from experience: review your major experience and achievement, and associate a few capabilities to each experience.

Need some hint of how to build the connection? Again, LinkedIn profiles are a good source. Usually each profile contains a few skills and qualifications, while contains experience statement which leverages them.

Step 3. Make the first version of your resume

Put together your basic information, education background, as well as relevant experience as a resume. This could be a tough process as you need to summarize yourself neatly in an A-4 paper, and highlight your strengths. A lot of prioritizing and trade-off are required in this step. Fortunately, there are many resume templates available, and you may even find resume wizard to assist you to compose it.

Step 4. Search job positions to target

Nail down a few job titles of your career path, and source job positions available. There are various channels: job search engine like Indeed, school career assistance program, corporate career webpage, referral from your network.

- Job search engine is easy to use and available online, but only limited amount of entry level position are available there.

- School career assistance program can be the most useful source, as the employers usually tailor their positions for the graduates, and even visit your campus for recruiting and interviewing.

- A lot of companies have their career page, which usually contains a category for entry level candidates. It could to too much to track all companies, though it is good practice to track at least a few employers with excellent reputation. Glassdoor is a good source to check employer reputation.

- Referral could win you an interview or even job offer with the highest chance, because the referral itself represents endorsement for your qualifications as a candidate. Network could be demanding, so it is better to start early and let everyone know that you are on the job market.

Step 5. Optimize resume for targeted positions

Take some time to review the job description of the target position, and figure out the qualification, preference, and related keywords. Then try to include these keywords in your resume with proper highlight. Note: do not over-use the same word, use synonyms instead.

In practice, customizing resume may take as much as a few hours. Many candidates ask do I need to tailor my resume for each targeted position. The answer is yes, it is a must. The best practice is to at least customize for the positions you are most interested in. Besides, AI-based tools are available to assist you to accomplish such tasks in much less time. With resume wizard of TalentClout, you may optimize resume in 3 minutes.

Step 6. Prepare for the interview

Interview without preparation is a waste of time and opportunity. You need to prepare at least the following.

- Understand the logistics: Is the interview time confirmed? Is the interview over the phone or in online meeting or onsite visit? Do I have the contact number or the meeting link or the address of the office? What is the dressing code?

- Brush your knowledge: Make sure to have a fluent conversation over the fundamentals in your field.

- Review your resume and job description: Prepare a talk for each experience when you are asked, and try to link them to the qualifications in the job description.

- Prepare answers to common questions, including behavioral questions, case study, and technical questions.

- Last, which a large number of candidates might neglect, you need to research the company and figure out why you are passionate to work for them.

A good round of preparation makes you comfortable during the meetings, and ramps you up quickly to highlight your qualifications, which leads to a higher chance to arrive at an offer.

Step 7. Following the interview

After each interview, thank the people who interviewed you. Thank them for their time, their intelligent discussion and the perspective they shared about the company. When getting back home, review the process, and find out the good parts and opportunity area. These notes are critical for your next round interview preparation. For questions that you don’t know how to answer, seek advice and answers from other people through the website or job hunting group, and constantly improve your job hunting skills. You can also learn some job search counseling courses to get professional advice and help.

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Job hunting as a graduate can be challenging. Make sure you are paying your best effort through a systematic strategy and concrete steps. Then you will achieve your goal sooner or later. TalentClout hereby wish everyone find the job they well deserve.