a graduate's guide to getting hired

Finding a job and getting hired as a recent college graduate can be daunting. Figuring out what you want to do, where you want to be, and how to stand out from all the other recent graduates can be quite overwhelming. In this article, we offer 5 tips on how to get a job after college.

1. Tailor your resume to the job

Not every job is the same, so your resume shouldn’t be the same for every job in which you are interested. In order to get your resume past the first screening and to a recruiter, you need to tailor it to the specific job for which you are applying.

Artificial intelligence tools are being used more to filter through the first round of resumes, so, if your resume doesn’t contain keywords from the job listing, it’s going to get passed over within seconds. It’s important to review the specific and intentionally crafted language included in the job description and qualifications so that you can mirror it in your resume. If a company writes that a qualification is being an excellent writer, and the job description mentions that you will be writing articles and blogs, then make sure to include that you have “strong writing skills” on your resume. Companies make it easy by listing the exact traits they look for in a candidate, so make sure to take advantage of that.

2. Build a portfolio

The best time for you to boast about your talents and accomplishments is when you’re trying to get a job. While you can talk them up to a hiring manager all you want, being able to show examples of what you can do will leave a bigger impression. Even though many jobs don’t require you to present a portfolio during the hiring process, it doesn’t mean that having one, or not having one, won’t sway their hiring decision. Most employers agree that they will review a portfolio if provided and that the quality of the portfolio will influence their hiring decision.

As new college graduates, it may seem a little difficult to put together a portfolio since you’re new to the workforce. However, you most likely have multiple examples of work you can provide that recruiters and hiring managers would be interested to see. Depending on what job you’re going for, you can use papers or projects you worked on in college or any summer internships in your portfolio. It’s important to remember that nobody is expecting you, as new college graduates, to provide an elaborate portfolio that someone who has been in the workforce for 5+ years has. The goal is simply to showcase any work you’ve completed that will make you seem qualified for the job.

3. Make Connections

Although it’d be great if you were consistently going to be the only person applying to a job listing, that’s probably not the case. Realistically, hundreds of people might be applying for the same exact job as you.

Instead of expecting your resume to be enough to get you noticed, try to make connections with the job poster or someone else at the company. If the person who posted the job is visible on the site, reach out to them. It can be as simple as expressing your interest in the job and letting them know you’ve applied.

Another effective connection would be someone at the company who has a similar job to the one for which you are applying. It could be beneficial to reach out to this employee and ask for any insight on the role or tips that could help you become more successful in the workforce. Simply getting your name on someone’s radar at the company may seem ineffective, but it could be enough to get your resume and application noticed.

4. Take risks, but be realistic

When getting a job after college, one of the most confusing things can be whether or not to apply to certain jobs that seem just a little bit out of reach. Maybe you check off a majority of the job qualification boxes, but there are just a couple of things you don’t think you’re experienced enough in yet. Well, you might as well go for it. Over half the candidates that are hired aren’t 100% qualified for the job; however, a majority of companies say they’re willing to train these slightly underqualified candidates.

Don’t let a lack of confidence keep you from applying to a job you’re sure you can do – just make sure that you’re able to highlight all the other qualifications that make you perfect for the role. It’s important to be transparent that you’re aware you aren’t totally qualified for this job; however, you’re very eager and willing to learn.

Additionally, make sure you’re also being realistic about the jobs for which you apply. As recent college graduates, you’re most likely going to need to start at an entry-level job until you’ve gained some more work experience. While you may want to take the risk and apply to a more experienced position, you’re less likely to get hired if the job you applied for requires a minimum of 3 years of experience and you’ve only got your college degree and a summer internship. Make sure to take attainable risks, and don’t waste too much of your time applying to jobs that are unrealistic.

5. Use a recruiter or staffing company

It’s okay to ask for help – especially from people whose job is to get you a job. As a staffing company, Atrium always wants to prioritize the job seeker to help them find their perfect job.

Atrium recruiters will help guide you through the job search, interviewing, and hiring process and help you get a job after college. They can provide insider advice about the best actions you can take to make yourself stand out to companies. Consider searching Atrium’s internal open jobs or participating in our Career Coaching services for additional help in your job search process.

Sophie Dan
Sophie Dan

Sophie Dan currently works as an Account Coordinator at Atrium and is a graduate of Indiana University Bloomington with a BA in English, Concentration in Public and Professional Writing. As a recent job seeker herself, she brings a relevant and unique perspective to the conversation.