Here’s How to Stop Panicking and Find a Job After Graduation
How to get through all of your “I don’t have a job yet” freakouts after graduating college.
Congratulations—after 17 years of school, you’ve graduated and you’re finally entering the so-called real world. (Because apparently where you’ve been living isn’t real?) Semantics aside, it’s time to find a job so you can pay all those real-world bills. Look, it’s perfectly normal to be scared of life after college, but don’t panic because there’s one thing we can promise you: You can find a job.
If you haven’t interned or worked part-time or summer jobs before, this might be the very first time you write your resume, go on job interviews, and sell yourself as the perfect hire. You can get there—it just takes a few steps.
Here’s your guide to handling post-college anxiety and landing your first job.
You’re Freaking Out Because: You Don’t Have Any Experience
How to chill out: If you’re stressed about finding a job after college because you don't have a ton of work experience, you can breathe now. Hiring managers aren’t expecting you to have a degree, years of relevant work experience, multiple awards and accolades, and a Nobel Peace Prize right after graduation. They just want to see that you have what it takes to be successful.
You can show that even if you haven’t had internships, part-time jobs, or summer jobs. Share what you’ve learned from your extracurriculars and your education.
Instead of listing all 20 of the extracurriculars you were involved in or went to once or twice, share the ones where you took on leadership positions, achieved something, or learned relevant skills.
You can decide which ones to choose by asking yourself what you learned and what you accomplished. If all you did was show up for the free pizza (because, let’s be honest, we’ve all done that), don’t include it.
You’re Freaking Out Because: You Applied to Some Jobs but Haven’t Heard Anything!
How to chill out: You don’t have to have studied astronomy to get past the black hole of applying to online jobs. We’ll let you in on the secret to successfully applying online: It’s all about tailoring each resume you send out (there is no one-size-fits-all solution) and using the right keywords in your resume.
When you apply online, hiring managers can search through all the applications they get (and there could be hundreds) for the phrases and skills they want to see like “engineering” or “coding.”
Okay, but how do you know what magic words are being searched? Here’s another secret: It’s not a mystery like which roomie kept stealing your snacks. The answers are in the job description.
Before you fire off your resume and cover letter, tweak them to reflect the specific job posting you’re targeting. Use some of the keywords that are in the job description so your resume gets seen.
You’re Freaking Out Because: You Haven’t Applied to One Job
How to chill out: It’s easy to procrastinate when you’re anxious about doing something ... or just don’t want to do it.
Remember how clean your apartment was during finals week?
Stop procrastinating, seriously. We’ve made it easy for you.
Monster will help you create a profile that highlights your skills and experience, so you can quickly and easily apply for job openings without uploading a new resume every time. We’ll tailor our job listings and career advice to your goals, skills, and experience, helping you to pave the path for who you aspire to be.
Oh, and did we mention it’s free?!
You’re Freaking Out Because: You’re Terrified of Interviews
How to chill out: Once again, you’re not alone. The key here is to prepare in advance and to practice interviewing. Brush up on common job interview questions.
If you’re extra anxious, check out:
- What to Wear to a Job Interview
- What to Bring to a Job Interview
- How to Decrease Job Interview Anxiety
Before the big day, ask a friend to help you practice your answers in a mock interview.
The person interviewing you can help you refine your answers and increase your confidence. Ask them to be critical and to ask tough follow-up questions that you might not be expecting. You want to know what it’s like if you don’t get good vibes from your interviewer.
You’re Freaking Out Because: You Don’t Know What Your Career Path Is
How to chill out: It often seems like everyone knows their ideal career path and that you should too. Or maybe you know exactly what you want, but you’re nowhere near getting your ultimate job.
But does anyone really have it all figured out right after graduation? OK maybe some do, but even they might be faking it.
See this first job as part of the discovery process, or as an experiment, to see what industries, positions, and companies you like and don’t like. Whether you find your dream job right away or you end up charting a new course after a year, every experience is an opportunity to get to know yourself better.
And you might be one click away from the right job for right now. But you’ll never know unless you get started.
You’re Freaking Out Because: Your Resume Isn’t Done
How to chill out: Sure, you’re already worried about finding a job after graduation, and now you’ve also got to think about writing your first resume. It can be overwhelming. You’re asking yourself, what should it look like? Where do I start?
Okay, first things first. There are five critical parts of a resume:
- contact information
- career summary
- work experience
Organize each section chronologically, starting with the most recent event and, where it’s relevant, include the organization name, your title, the dates of employment or membership, and the city and state.
For education, include your college or university name, your degree, your major and minor, any honors like cum laude, your main GPA or major GPA if either were above a 3.0, and the city and state.
Pay attention to the details. You don’t want to imply that you are detail oriented then say that you graduated “summa corn laude”—ask someone else to review your resume and give you feedback before you start applying to jobs. Think of it as a metaphorical crystal ball to tell you what hiring managers will think of your application.
Stop Freaking Out: Monster Is Here to Help
Graduation is a stressful time for everyone, but Monster can help you to use these tips to go get your first post-grad job. Ready to get going? Kickstart your career by following Monster’s step-by-step, post-graduation plan. We’ll help you translate your extracurricular experience into marketable job skills, draft your first resume, build your network, and land a job—the first of your new, exciting career.