Getting a job right of college can seem daunting. Learn how to master the job hunt from various angles and score a great position.

As a new graduate, you may have a pit in your stomach just thinking about your first job hunt.

It’s normal to feel nervous about the process — because after all, this is the first time you’ll be out in the “real” world. The good news is, you can rest easy knowing there are ways to get a killer job right out of college.

You have it in your power to pave the way to success even if it seems daunting starting out.

Because the first time you look for a job can be overwhelming, we’re walking you through 5 ways to find the job of your dreams.

Check out these steps that will kick-start your career.

1. Brand yourself 

Whether you’re in school or you’ve already graduated, start branding yourself as an expert in your field.

Branding yourself doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. Create a simple website with your portfolio and direct hiring managers to the site.

You can also create a blog, write an e-book, start a YouTube channel, or all the above. If you’ve already done this while in school, then you’re ahead of everyone else!

Continue to focus on building your blog with stellar content and coming up with other ways to perfect your craft.

Write e-books and expand on specific topics. For example, if you earned a social media marketing degree, write an e-book with social media tips based on what you learned. Later, you can become more focused by writing separate e-books on social media channels such as Facebook or Instagram. Be creative, and it’ll pay off!

Employers will be impressed that you have an entrepreneur mindset in an ever-changing job market.

2. Check out new  job listings daily

The best time to apply for a job is within 48 hours, so look for new job posts every day.

Make a habit of doing it every morning. Bookmark your favorite job websites for regular easy access.

Moreover, on some job sites, you can sign up to receive email alerts for specific job openings based on the industry or company you’re targeting.

Don’t forget to check social media. Follow companies that you’d like to work for because they may post about hiring on social media first. Check the job boards on industry social media sites, LinkedIn, and other platforms.

Avoid limiting your search too much. Think about how your degree adds value in other industries as well.

For instance, a person with a history degree could get a job as an event planner. Museums and cultural sites need planners that can pull off historically accurate events.

Think creatively and open up your job search parameters for greater opportunity.

3. Stay current with industry news

Even though you don’t have a job yet, it’s still vital to stay current with what’s happening in your industry.

Based on saturation in the current job market, trends will pop up in various career fields.

For example, over the years shortages and having too many nurses have both occurred.

When a field is saturated, it’s challenging to find a job until the trend changes.

Here are three basic ways to stay current on industry fluctuations:

  • Join professional social media groups (which we discuss next in #4)
  • Read industry journals and trade publications
  • Stay current with social media posts from companies and industry influencers

Pay attention to the type of positions companies are hiring for, which companies are on the rise, and which are going through difficult times.

If you are determined to stick with your field even though very few companies are hiring, you may have to accept that there aren’t a lot of jobs available. Don’t lose heart — stay focused on looking for a similar position until the trend changes.

Many new graduates take a similar job or a job that’s not in their field to luckily have the market change and get a type of job they originally wanted.

4. Create a LinkedIn profile

If you created a LinkedIn profile while you were in high school or college that’s great. If not, get on that.

Even if you’ve never had a job, list your education history and any other activities related to your career focus. We’ll show you in a moment how to build up the rest of your profile and create a LinkedIn presence that will impress hiring managers.

Here are a few other examples of what you can include on your LinkedIn profile:

  • Awards
  • Accolades
  • Description of skills
  • Summary of what type of job positions interest you
  • Jobs such as working at a summer camp or babysitting

As you gain more work experience, you can delete some of the less pertinent information and add new ones instead.

LinkedIn also acts as a social media site.

Take the time to post articles that show off your knowledge or initiative. Select unique articles from your blog or write one specifically for LinkedIn. Also, share articles from sites related to your goals so your contacts will be more likely to notice you based on the content you’re sharing.

Speaking of contacts, most professionals have profiles with many connections. Try to connect with as many people as you can.

You can also search for jobs on their job board.

There are many ways to make connections and find out if a company is hiring, which we will discuss next.

5. Network effectively

Contact as many people as you can so you have better chances of finding your first job.

Here are a few ways you can reach out to individuals:

  • Develop a rapport with alumni from your school that work in your industry
  • Join LinkedIn groups and message contacts about job openings
  • Attend networking events and get to know hiring managers
  • Go to conferences and connect with seasoned pros who like to help new professionals

Get in touch with coaches, faculty, and others who know your accomplishments and potential. You can also tap contacts you’ve worked with in a volunteer capacity.

When you reach out to alumni, be strategic about how you approach them.

If you’re on LinkedIn (which we just discussed), you can use the LinkedIn alumni tool to connect with professionals who work at companies you like. Reach out with a customized introduction. Ask if they have any advice on how to apply for a similar position or if they know of any positions that are available at their company.

If the conversation goes well, the person may be willing to refer you to either the hiring manager at their company or another company.

Use these action steps to make your first “official” job hunt go off without a hitch.

Remember, getting your first job out of college is a challenge you haven’t experienced before. As you go through the process, look for ways to tweak your game plan to improve your odds. Think about ways to improve your resume, nail interviews, and write compelling thank you letters.

Be sure to brand yourself by creating a website, blog, or e-book (or all of the above). Stay current with industry trends, check new job listings daily, and keep networking.

And, of course, don’t forget about the power of social media. You can network and stay up to date on the companies that seem like a great fit for you.

Follow the steps above and be you’ll be ready for any new positions that open up.

Good luck on your job quest — you’ve got this!

Ryan Sundling is a Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management and works closely with Wildwood to help them with their marketing efforts. He has over 10 years of experience in the student housing industry.

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