Finding a Job After College—Piece of Cake!Jun 15, 2021
Okay, the title’s a bit misleading, but so is the phrase “piece of cake”—do you know how hard baking a great cake actually is?
Finding a job after college is also a lot easier said than done (sorry for the misdirection: the reality is, job searching is work!).
But you’ve already gathered fresh ingredients—education, connections, and career skills—and with some expert guidance, you’ll be right on your way to your first job. And that feeling of getting hired? Sweeter than the creamiest chocolate cheesecake!
How long should I expect finding a job after college to take?
Ever have a recipe that says, ‘you’ll need 30 minutes of preparation,’ and it takes you 90? Hate to say it, but finding a job after college is exactly like that.
Over half of college grads expect job hunting to take about a month or two. The average entry-level job search takes about 5 months.
So, if you don’t start working a month after graduation, you’re not a failure—it just takes some time and patience. But the best way to shorten the amount of job search time is to work smarter, not harder.
Feeling crunched for time? Take a quick shot of career growth with one of our bootcamp programs!
What are the best ways to shorten the job search time?
1. Career Coaching
When job searching, you might feel like you’re buried in an avalanche of contradictory advice.
Consider a coach to motivate you and form a concrete action plan, especially if you’re not sure what kind of job you want. Having professional advice tailored to your exact situation beats endless Internet skimming any day! We get it, coaching is pricey, but well worth the time and sanity saved.
(Gotta brag, though—our Career Cram program nets you coaching AND community for the price of less than a coffee a day. How sweet is that?)
The next best thing is to prioritize your network: your career relationships. And if you groan when you read that, we totally get it—applying to online job boards sounds so much easier than talking to people.
But don’t be fooled. Here’s the facts:
- If you want first dibs on a job, you have to find it through relationships. By the time a company posts a job listing, they could already be in the middle of hiring a referred candidate!
- Business Insider says, “Nearly 50% of recruiters say referrals are the leading source of quality hires, and if you receive a referral, you're four times more likely to hear back from a recruiter.”
- You don’t really want your personhood reduced to your resume accomplishments, do you? Networking lets you bring your personality into the picture as you talk to your connections.
Job boards are a great place to see what companies are hiring and what they’re looking for, but don’t stop there! Check out this article for our step-by-step networking guide.
What kind of job should I expect as a recent graduate?
Even when following a recipe, chances are that your cake won’t be exactly how you like it until after a few tries. You have to gain the experience from making it the first time to know what you want to change in your next try.
Finding a job after college is like that first try: that’s great if it’s your dream job, but it doesn’t look like that for most of us!
Jennifer Fabiano, writer at Ladders News, says, “An entry-level job is usually not someone’s dream job, but a starting point to work one’s way to their ideal position.”
But your first job is still chock-full of value: you get hands-on experience, you learn what you like and dislike about your field, and you get paid (whoa!).
Are post-grad internships worth it?
Absolutely! Your entry-level job is often primarily a career launching point anyways, so be open to internships designed to fill in your experience gaps!
We totally get that you want the full-time paycheck right off the bat, but McCullum notes, “more and more workers are using internships as a way to sharpen their existing skills or learn new ones in order to change careers.”
Bob Martin, an assistant dean for internships and career placements at Penn State University, points out that internships give employers a chance to see how well a potential employee fits with the team before offering a full position. And even if you’re not hired, you’ve gained experience that makes you more marketable to the next position.
Cool! Where can I land an internship?
- We love Handshake, a hiring site designed for recent college graduates. You can sign up with your .edu email.
- Glassdoor posts companies that hire for entry-level positions. Here’s the list for 2021 roles, but keep checking back with them for regular updates!
- 2020 readers: PathMatch just posted 5 big-name companies (like Amazon, Slack, and Epic Games) hiring for interns.
- The government hires for interns and recent grads at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
- Try talking to companies you like and suggesting project-based internships—if you can meet a need for them and they have the resources to hire you, you could create your own position!
Just remember: use job posting sites as a springboard for your network, not just as a place to endlessly fling your resume into the void.
Cake and jobs: hard work, sweet reward.
Cakes are hard. From the actual baking to the trimming, layering, frosting, and decorating, Instagrammable cakes seem unattainable.
But remember, even the most beautiful cake started as a mess of ingredients, too. It takes time, research, work, and a few screw-ups to gain the knowledge, experience, and skills you need for baking a great cake—or finding a job after college. Don’t be afraid to mess up and before you know it, landing a job really will be a piece of cake.
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