Graduate school is finally over!
No more assignments. No more 20-page essays and overnight library stays. You are done and done.
How about that job though? Bills have to be paid and those student loans need to be paid back.
Landing a job after graduation should technically be easy because more education should mean you’re more qualified for the job.
But anybody who has been out of grad school for more than an hour knows that landing a job after graduate school can be a long and frustrating process.
In this post, I will share six major tips to landing a real job that pulls on your strengths and degree after graduate school.
Take a Moment to Celebrate the Fact That You Are Done with Graduate School
Graduate school is no walk in the park!
As a matter of fact, 50% of graduate students drop out of doctoral programs every single year. Finishing a master’s degree or a doctorate is no mean feat.
Take a moment to take stock of your achievement.
Leverage Your Personal Network
There are job opportunities that are never advertised online and which you will only find out about if you talk to people in your personal network.
According to research by anthropologist Robin Dunbar, human beings have an average network size of about 150. This network includes your parents, siblings, friends, school mates, former work colleagues, professors, your local barista, and the people you work out with at the gym.
Who are the people on this list you can talk to about landing a job after you’re done with graduate school?
Make a list of 10 to 20 people that might be able to help and reach out to them.
Networking may also involve following your favorite companies on Twitter or LinkedIn and engaging with their posts with well-thought-out, but personable, responses.
Doing this will get you on the radar of whoever is doing social media for the company and can open up the lines of communication with decision makers within the company.
Use Job Aggregator Websites to Start Your Online Search
Job aggregator websites like Glassdoor and Indeed allow you to search for jobs using keywords.
Usually, your search will bring up jobs you are looking for and you should be able to apply.
You are also able to search for jobs by industry, region, or even by the date it was posted so you are not applying to jobs that were posted six months ago and have been filled.
A major advantage of job aggregator websites is that you can set up special alerts for particular keywords that trigger an email to be sent to you anytime a job related to the keyword you used is posted.
And so for Glassdoor, for instance, you can set up alerts for multiple job keywords or even for specific companies.
Anytime a job is posted matching your search or a company posts a job, you will receive an email prompting you to apply.
Visit major websites and set up alerts to get notified of the types of jobs you are looking for.
Job aggregator websites that you will find handy in your search include:
Use Search Engines
Another place to look for a job is to use search engines.
This is definitely a more difficult approach to using job aggregator websites, but the truth is that not every company lists jobs on these websites. Thus, you can find some hidden gems using this process.
You can search for jobs within a particular company by typing “company name + jobs” or “company name + careers” in Google.
This will yield links to the career pages of particular companies where you can then apply directly.
Do Not Use a Generic Resume (or Cover Letter)
When you use job aggregator websites like the ones I mentioned above, you are usually prompted to upload your resume so that you can easily apply for jobs that are posted on the website with one click.
While this sounds simple and appears to make things easier, it is not the best approach to applying for a job.
It is important to tailor your resume to specific jobs.
Recruiters and human resource personnel see so many resumes in their inbox every single day.
It is important that when they come across your resume, it
- stands out, and
- communicates that you really do understand what the company is looking for in their new hire.
You will be able to do the second point by paying attention to key phrases that are used in the job description.
Does the job description call for someone who is great at communicating because you will be interfacing with clients 75% of the time? It is important to highlight on your resume (and in your cover letter) experiences in your history that make you great at communication.
Pay attention to job descriptions and tailor your resume to suit them. Yes, this will take some effort. But once you land your dream job, it will be worth it.
Impress on Interview Day
This should be a given.
However, it’s surprising how many people show up to interviews completely unprepared: from being improperly dressed, to not even knowing what the role they are interviewing for entails.
Don’t be that person.
Do your homework on the company.
Glassdoor allows you to read reviews on the company and has people posting some of the questions they encountered during the interview.
Is there someone who went to your school who works at this company? LinkedIn will usually give you that information.
It will serve you well to reach out to alumni from your school who work at this company to find out what their experiences have been and what you can expect.
A quick browse of company social media accounts (if they have any) will give you a glimpse of the culture at the company.
Whatever the case is, don’t go into your interview unprepared. Study the company. Study the role. Dress the part and be ready to impress.
Looking for a job after graduate school can be a long and tiresome journey.
If your first few tries at finding a job have not been successful, don’t give up. Keep going.
Use and tweak the processes I shared above where necessary.
You will eventually find what you are looking for.
Are you graduating grad school this summer? How has your job search gone so far? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.