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Class of 2020: Here’s how to land your first job out of college

College • June 25, 2020 • Connor Peoples


What you’ll learn

  • Where to find jobs
  • How to network for jobs
  • Interview tips


You powered through countless hours of lectures, endless nights in the library, and copious amounts of assignments to reach your goal — graduating college. Congratulations! For some of you, the next step in your journey is to continue your education, and for others, you may be heading into the workforce.

For those of you looking to put your degree to work, here are some quick tips to help you land your first job out of college.

Find a mentor in your field

A survey from LinkedIn and The Adler Group revealed that 85% of all jobs are obtained through networking. A good way to ease into networking is to find a mentor. Through industry-related groups (whether it’s on social media or in person), you can meet a range of people, some of whom are already established in the field you’re interested in. If you come across someone you think could offer sound advice, contact them and request to set up a brief conversation. You can ask questions about how to get started in the industry or ask for tips for gaining work experience. You may even consider asking if they’d be open to reviewing your resume and offering feedback.

Even though you’re not asking for a job, the indirect approach to networking can open up a wealth of knowledge and advice to help you in your job search.

Build your brand online

Your digital footprint can work for you, or against you. Take some time to make sure your online brand is an asset to help you showcase yourself.

First, start with your LinkedIn account. Even without any professional work experience, you can still showcase your education and certifications, extracurricular activities, skills and interests, and volunteer experiences. Make sure your LinkedIn profile also includes key search terms. When hiring managers and recruiters are searching for candidates with specific skills you want to make sure their search queries find your profile!

Next, check your other social media accounts. According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, and more plan to start. Additionally, of those employers that do social research, 57% have found content that caused them not to hire candidates. You want to make sure your social media accounts are portraying the same person you are describing on your job application. Even after you land a job, it’s still crucial to monitor yourself on social media. You don’t want all your hard work to go to waste and lose a job because of something you posted online.

Find an internship

Internships aren’t just for students; they can be a great way to get your foot in the door of an organization. Research shows that internships lead to job offers for 60% of college graduates who have them.

Since you may be coming out of school with little professional experience, internships are a great way to start building your resume. By getting to know the business and finding ways to contribute meaningfully work (even above and beyond your job description), you’ll start to adapt the skills needed to succeed in the workforce. You may even meet your future boss!

An internship can also alleviate a bit of the stress while looking for a full-time job, and help you apply some of the recent knowledge you attained in school to practical situations.

Study for job interviews like final exams

Before you go into a job interview, don’t just look at the company’s website and job posting for information. Dive into the organization’s newsroom or social media channels for recent news about the company. Research their competitors and stay “in the know” with industry news. You want to come into an interview with a wealth of knowledge, because sometimes you only get one chance to “wow” someone.

Above all else, treat your job search like a full-time job. Set aside an amount of time each day to sit down to comb through job postings and interact with potential employers. When you find the full-time job you’ve been looking for, you’ll be thankful you were so diligent during your search!


Connor is a Sallie Mae employee and a graduate of the University of Delaware. In his free time, you can find him cheering for Philadelphia’s professional sports teams and exploring the world with his dog, Moose.


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