How to Survive Your First Job Search

Are You New College Graduate? Surviving Your First Job Search is Just a Click Away.

Everyone has to start somewhere. And the first entry-level job is the first step in a long chain of subsequent jobs to form that all-important career.

The good news for recent graduates is that their first job may not be that difficult to land this year.
The bad news for recent graduates is that their first job may be difficult to land this year.

There seems to be contradicting statements (theories) on whether new grads will see hardship or success this year when searching for a new job.

Regardless of what crystal ball you prescribe to, the truth is that most college grads will have to start where everyone else did. At the bottom.

Entry-level jobs are the necessary evil of the career world. Few get hired out of college as CEOs, and the tired phrase, “you have to pay your dues” is something first-time jobseekers will hear over and over again — and not just from their parents.

Sadly, the days of college grads posting double-digit gains for several consecutive years are gone, according to the Job Outlook, an annual report that accesses the employment scene for college graduates. When factoring graduating classes against the growing number of unemployed, some would agree that the battle is on who will replace the growing positions left by retiring baby boomers.

“Starting to work in an organization is a unique and critically important event that requires a special perspective and special strategies for success,” write authors Ed Holton and Sharon Naquin in their book, How to Succeed in Your First Job. “You need to recognize that the first year on a new job is a separate and distinctive career stage. It is a transition stage. You’re not in college anymore, but – this may surprise you – you’re not really a professional yet, either.”

Playing with the pros will come later.

Entry-level jobs provide the first taste of learning the business from the ground up. And whatever business that ends up being, experts advise not to pigeon hole your career.

Many graduates hone in on one specific job that relates to their major.

Confining a career path from the start can get jobseekers off on the wrong foot. Most degrees include a wide variety of skills, including critical thinking and computer know-how, which can be applied to several professions. Media outlets don’t want just journalism majors, for example. If an economics major has transferable skills like writing and research, along with a creative ability to tell a story, then this career may just well be their calling.

Regardless of what type of job market we’re experiencing, chances are landing that first gig can sometimes be a lesson in frustration.

The answer?

Don’t limit yourself to one method, and never give up.

Experts advise college graduates to access every possible outlet in a job search. Career centers, internships, part-time work, alumni organizations and resume assistance are all keys to breaking in.

Networking, however, may be the most important factor of all in securing that first job, or the last. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 80 percent of available jobs are never advertised [another survey by CareerXroads has also shown that 41% of jobs are filled internally], leaving those who solely rely on the internet to source jobs at a major disadvantage.

“There are three types of people,” writes Diane Darling in her book, Networking for Career Success. “Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened. … People who network make things happen and they know other people who make things happen.”

The bottom line, as Darling points out, is that every jobseeker, especially the entry-level college grad, has to be proactive in the hunt.

Sending out a few resumes, then sitting back and waiting for the offers to roll is a strategy that’s bound to fail.


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Hey there! My name is Teena Rose. I help millennials start and grow their careers. Will the next career be yours?