Job hunting is tough for everyone, but it can be especially tricky for recent college graduates. With a fresh education and less experience, new grads often have a hard time finding that first employer who will give them a chance.
But there is good news on the job front for recent college graduates. Gone are the days of sifting through endless help-wanted ads in the newspaper. Job seekers today have a whole new set of resources at their disposal, giving recent college graduates a boost. Here are several ways job hunting has gotten better for new grads.
1. Social media leads to more opportunities
Social media is second nature to young college grads, and that’s a good thing, because social media has completely revolutionized the way we look for work. Websites like LinkedIn give you a way to connect with recruiters and other professionals at the click of a button. In addition to building a professional network and looking for job openings, you can ask for recommendations on LinkedIn, providing easy references for hiring managers. Even Facebook and Twitter can lead to opportunities if you are on the lookout.
Many companies have dedicated career social media pages where they post all of their openings and interact with potential candidates. This offers an easy way for grads to engage with potential employers before even applying. (See also: Jumpstart Your Job Search With Instagram)
2. Side hustles provide extra income
Un- or underemployed? Today, you have the benefit of being able to do side gigs to help bridge the financial gap that many recent graduates face.
No matter what your career goals are, a side hustle can be a fantastic way to supplement your income. Pet sitting, lawn care, driving for Uber or Lyft, or freelance writing are just a few options you can explore that don’t require any significant financial investment.
By working a side gig, you can create an additional stream of income while you job hunt for your main career. Even when you do land a job with a comfortable salary, you may find that the extra financial benefit of a side hustle is worth keeping. (See also: 14 Best Side Jobs For Fast Cash)
3. Access to free educational resources is easy
Would mastering a new skill help you in your job search? Or refining your current skill set?
You don’t necessarily have to go to graduate school or enroll in expensive classes in order to learn something new. Nowadays, you have access to tons of free educational resources through the internet.
Whether it’s watching YouTube videos, listening to a podcast, reading a book, or even taking an online class, there have never been more cost-effective opportunities to learn a new skill.
4. There are more networking opportunities than ever
Landing your dream job depends not only on what you know, but also who you know. Any person you meet could be the one to open the door to your next job opportunity, so networking as a recent grad is imperative.
Most networking groups now have some sort of online presence, making it easy to find one that fits your schedule. You can keep tabs on upcoming events through social media channels, LinkedIn, chat groups, and even websites like Meetup.com. Your school may also have resources for you to find networking events in your area.
Many accomplished career professionals know how difficult the job search can be for a recent college graduate. They have all been where you are, and many are happy to help. Technology has made it easy to interact with these people and form a connection. Take advantage of it. (See also: The 10 Best Networking Tips for People Under 40)
5. Social branding can make or break you
Ten years ago, social branding didn’t exist. Making a good impression on a potential employer came down solely to a resume and an interview. Now, the internet is your best resource to make a name for yourself. Social branding is an easy way to establish yourself as an accomplished and optimistic professional before you even have any substantial career experience.
Most hiring managers will do a Google search and look you up on social media before you get a call for an interview, much less a job offer. Make sure what they find will leave a good impression. Keep your public or easily accessible social media feeds professional and clean. (See also: 7 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Image on Social Media)
Building a website is also a smart way to showcase your skills, back story, and resume all in one place. You don’t have to spend a fortune or hire a designer to build a website; many services offer hosting and free or low-cost website templates that are easy to maintain. (See also: 8 Surprising Ways a Personal Website Can Improve Your Life)