As a recruiter I am often asked by clients if I would be able to help their graduating student start their career. This is either by finding them a job or putting them in touch with a recruiter who can help with entry-level positions. Neither I nor many of my colleagues place entry-level hires, but below are some suggestions that entry-level students can use to get started in their search. By far the most important skill for finding an entry-level position is persistence. Encourage your student to be patient and not give up since it can take weeks or months to find their desired position.
Visit the College Career Center ASAP
College Career Centers are found on every campus and are a great place to learn about internships, resume writing, and job opportunities. These Centers have portals and resources that contain hundreds of job opportunities. They’ll also have information on internship opportunities and connections with alumni and mentorship programs. Ideally your student should be utilizing the College Career Center starting in their Freshman or Sophomore year. This gives them a jump-start on internship opportunities and a start in developing their professional network. Forbes has a great article, 5 Reasons Why Career Services is the Most Important Office on Campus, which provides some great information.
Utilize Google Search and Job Boards
One of the simplest methods to find opportunities is thru Google and job boards subscriptions. Run a Google search with the title or career area of the role they are seeking. Use the words “entry level” and the location of where they want to live (i.e. “location * Baltimore” Marketing “entry level”). The results from this search will bring your students to numerous job boards that have entry-level positions. Once relevant job boards are identified they should set up automated searches and notifications. These notifications will then alert them to any newly posted opportunities that match their search criteria. Automated searches are a powerful tool that can greatly increase the effectiveness of a job search.
Network, Network and Network Some More
By this time your student should have a LinkedIn profile. It may not have much content but should show college accomplishments, courses, activities and job history. Where LinkedIn shines for your student is access to college alumni. Use the Advanced Search in LinkedIn to specify their college, career field, and desired location. For each alumni member listed in their job field send a request to connect and a short message asking for help. For instance “I am a graduating senior earning a <degree> from <university> and am reaching out to alumni for help in my job search. Would you happen to know who the right person in your company is to reach out to regarding entry-level positions? Would you have any advice as I search for an entry-level position in <job field>? Thank you for your help.” This is a simple approach that many students never utilize but can provide an effective entry-way into a desired company.
Have them keep a list of all jobs applied too and the application date. Do not wait for HR departments to reply but instead have them reach out 3 weeks after they’ve applied. Simply reach out to the company contact asking if they’ve had an opportunity to review their application. During the conversation they should again reiterate interest in the company and the opportunity. Continue to follow-up as directed or needed.
These are just a few suggestions I can give to help your student find an entry-level position. It is not an all-encompassing list but these areas are sometimes overlooked. Good luck and congratulations on raising a college graduate!