How to Find Your First Job Out of College

How to Find Your First Job Out of College
  • Opening Intro -

    You've worked hard for four years.

    You've lost sleep, skipped parties to study, survived on ramen noodles, and maybe even had a mental breakdown along the way …


But now you’ve finished and got that coveted piece of paper. The next logical step is to go out and join the workforce, and now that you have a degree, that should be easy to do, right?

Well, not necessarily. It could take you a while to find a job, let alone in the field of your choosing.

What to Expect With Your First Job Out of College

There are several types of roles available for recent college graduates. They’re not all glamorous, but having a degree gives you an important foothold in applying for many:

  1. Jobs not requiring a degree: These jobs are typically sales, marketing, and administrative. These are just like entry-level jobs and will add valuable office experience to your resume.
  2. Jobs requiring a degree: Many teaching jobs require only a bachelor’s degree, particularly in private schools.
  3. Internships: Internships are temporary and sometimes unpaid but give you an opportunity to prove your value to a company and gain experience.

Salary Expectations

The first thing on your mind when looking for a job is probably salary. According to, the average starting salary of college graduates is somewhere around $50,000/year.

The highest-paying fields are computer science and engineering (around $69,000/year), and the lowest-paying fields are early childhood education and art/music education (around $40,000/year).

How to Find Your First Post-College Job

Now that you have a better idea of what to expect, let’s get to it. Here’s how to find (and land) and a job after graduation:

  • 1. Decide What Type of Job You Want

    If your degree is in a specific field like music or education, you probably already have a good idea of what you’re looking for in a job. If not, research salary trends in the field you intend to work in, so you can tell when a job offer is good or bad.

    Read blogs and reviews to learn about typical hours and lifestyles of employees in that field. Websites like Indeed and SimplyHired are good places to find job opportunities and read reviews from past and present employees.

  • 2. Create Your Resume

    Having a clean, professional, and concise resume is important. Use a simple format so it can be read and understood at a glance. Since it will be read at a glance, keep it to one page unless the job application requires a more detailed record of your education and work experience (like a CV).

    Highlight your best experiences and qualities, and tailor your resume to fit the job you’re applying for.

  • 3. Write Your Cover Letter

    Write a standard, three-paragraph cover letter describing why you’re interested in this particular job and why you believe you’re the best candidate for it.

    This should be thoughtful and interesting, but not too long, and you need to make sure there aren’t any spelling or grammatical errors. Put the writing skills you learned in college to good use!

    Tip: Write one cover letter and make small adjustments to it for each new job application.

  • 4. Acquire Job Recommendations/References

    Having good references on your job applications is important. Speak with any professors you’ve worked closely with about being references for your job applications.

    Since you’ve spent a lot of time with them, they know your work ethic and will most likely be glad to help. Your supervisor from any on-campus job you may have worked would also be a great reference for an application.

  • 5. Optimize Digital Presence

    Many employers will check your social media accounts during the screening process, so it’s important to be professional across the board.

    Upload professional photos for your profile pictures, and remove negative or controversial posts. Having an opinion is fine, but there’s no reason to throw away job opportunities for the sake of memes. Simply setting your profiles to private might be sufficient.

    If you’re not on LinkedIn, create an account and connect with employees of companies you would like to work for. Make sure this is all done before or around the time you apply.

  • 6. Set Aside Time to Apply

    Each application can take 30 minutes to an hour to complete, so plan accordingly. Complete one application per day, or block out enough time to complete them altogether.

    Many companies review applications in the order they’re received, so an early application can give you an advantage.

    Make sure you keep your phone close by and check your email regularly for employer responses. A prompt response from you will make a good first impression.

  • 7. Prepare for the Interview Process

    Once you find yourself at the interview table, express genuine interest in the job by asking thoughtful questions. Use eye contact and positive facial expressions to connect with your interviewer. If you’ve done your homework and are excited about the job, this will come naturally.

    Keep your answers to their questions between 30 seconds and 2 minutes to show them you know what you’re talking about.

    Send a follow-up email after your interview to keep things moving forward. If you don’t, the process could stagnate, and your application might be forgotten!

  • 8. Get Hired!

    It may take some time, but if you’re diligent and consistent with applying, you’ll land your first job out of college without a hitch.

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Joining the workforce after college is a big step forward, but with some research, planning, and preparation, you’ll be on the clock in no time!

Author Bio
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Copper Beech Grand Duke to help them with their online marketing.

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Categories: Job Search