“What is your next step?” If you’re a new graduate, you’ve probably heard some variation of that career question more times than you would like to count. The good news: even if your answer is “I have no idea,” right now is the perfect time to figure it out.
Low unemployment rates and high demand for talent mean that new grads have more professional autonomy than ever. Plan things right and you can land your dream job, slingshot past the learning curve, and start building the career that you want. The stars are aligned for success—just use these strategies designed to help new grads make the most of a candidate-driven job market.
1. Do your research
More employers looking to hire means you’re likely to have your choice of companies. Don’t be afraid to explore and connect with an organization that meets your definition of a great workplace, such as a company mission that aligns with your values or an open space that promotes cooperation and collaboration among team members.
Research shows that employees who love where they work are far more productive and engaged than people who don’t consider their office a great place to work. Oddly enough, we agree.
2. Don’t settle
The idea of negotiating over salary can make even the most experienced professional sweat, but for new graduates, it can be downright terrifying. A candidate-driven job market presents the perfect opportunity to push back and land a higher salary, though, because employers understand that they must offer better benefits to attract competitive talent.
When the time comes during the recruitment process, broach the subject of increasing your salary to reflect your value. Just be sure to come prepared with a number in mind and the data to back up your requested figure—consider it your homework assignment!
Tip: If you don’t see eye to eye on salary negotiations and decide to turn down the job, this is how to decline the offer without burning bridges.
3. Show long-term commitment
Employers want to know that you see a long-term future with the company before hiring… or at least that you won’t leave after day one like you did with that Intro to Insect History class.. During the application and interview processes, demonstrate that you will be committed for the long haul and showcase your leadership experience to display your future management potential.
4. Get a recruiter in your corner
If you feel overwhelmed by your job search—especially if you’re being courted by several companies and don’t know which to choose—consider working with a recruitment service. Recruiters specialize in pairing job seekers with the right positions for their skillset and career hopes, sort of like matchmaking services between candidates and employers. They can also walk you through every stage of the job hunting process, from polishing your resume to interviewing.
Tip: When is it right to send a thank you note after a phone interview? We share the scoop on post-interview etiquette here.
5. Find your clique
85% of job seekers land positions through networking, according to LinkedIn. Start building your network of professionals and recruiters early to exponentially increase your reach, and maximize the odds of you landing your dream job in the future. Sure, we all know that life isn't a popularity contest... but if it was, consider yourself in the running for Most Popular.
6. Join a (virtual) club
Networking is no longer limited to handing out business cards or attending the company happy hour (cue a collective sigh of relief from every professional ever). Leverage online tools like LinkedIn, being sure to completely fill in your profile by adding a photo, completing the summary and experience sections, and including relevant keywords and skills throughout in order to attract attention from recruiters.
Then, join industry groups and contribute to the conversation in order to start making great connections within your space. Other good organizations to reach out to include school alumni associations and local networking groups.
7. Stay curious
Just because you are out of school doesn’t mean that you should stop learning. In “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals,” author Thomas Corley found that 88% of successful people read for self-improvement every day and 63% listen to audiobooks while commuting. Just 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference in your career success and earning potential!
When you find the right position, great onboarding can help you become more successful and engaged, faster. Talk to HR about developing an onboarding program tailored to your role, and reach out to the Talmundo team for a customized solution!