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6 ways recent graduates can enhance their online job search

4 min read
AUTHOR: Grace Williams

When recent or soon-to-be university graduates begin to seek employment, many inevitably turn to job-search and networking platforms on the internet.

In the last few years job hunting has moved more and more into the virtual realm and careers platforms are playing an increasingly crucial role in the quest for employment.

With that in mind – and in light of reports of bleak employment prospects for new college graduates – here are six tips for recent or soon-to-be college graduates who hope to make the most of their virtual job searches.

1. Use multiple platforms

Start with the platform that has a partnership with your university and at the same time set up profiles with one or more of the “big board” employment job posting sites, such as IndeedCareerBuilderFood Matters Careers. Among other things, these sites allow job seekers to create job search agents that push email notifications whenever new jobs that match search criteria are posted.

2. Apply frequently

Students who are new to the job search may not be applying for enough positions. Students can become discouraged when they applied to a few jobs and don’t get the response they wanted. But don’t give up! Even super qualified candidates get turned down, maybe the job wasn’t right for you.

While the number of positions a  graduate job seeker should apply to will vary by industry, try to apply for at least one position per day.

The reason I say this is because employment experts, such as Biron Clark, founder of, estimate that only 2%-3% of employment applications result in an interview. For that reason alone, job seekers have to step up their search and networking efforts in order to increase their odds.

3. Set small daily goals

Real and perceived economic challenges created by the pandemic have led to a great deal of anxiety for job seekers. Studies have shown that extended periods of unemployment – and the risk of unemployment and underemployment – can be distressing.

Many graduates have expressed feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed about their employment prospects. Some have even stopped searching for a job altogether.

To guard against giving up, recent graduates should focus on small steps and daily goals. In addition to applying to a job every day, these goals can include conducting research regarding possible careers or networking with at least one person daily.

4. Track your progress

Create a spreadsheet to keep track of your job applications.

A spreadsheet can be a motivational tool to ensure daily job hunt activity. The columns could include categories such as “Date of Application,” “Date of Screening Interview,” “Thank You Note Sent?” and “Salary Offer.”

A more sophisticated spreadsheet might include columns for when the time comes to choose between offers, such as length of commute or average rent in the city where the job is located.

5. Tap into alumni networks

Surveys indicate that up to 80% of people secure employment opportunities through networking and personal connections. For that reason, connections with alumni and others with ties to a particular school can be the key to a successful job search.

Many colleges and universities have programs to help students and alumni make connections. Some of these are closed networks exclusively for current students and verified alumni, often through service providers such as PeopleGrove and Graduway. Others are through LinkedIn, including specific university-affiliated LinkedIn groups and the popular LinkedIn Alumni Tool. This tool allows job seekers to research and connect with alumni from their alma mater based on search criteria that include geographic location, current employer, job function and industry, academic major and skills.

While networking strategies can feel like a lot of work, they are proven. Sometimes the progress is incremental. For instance, networking can lead to informational interviews, which are opportunities for job seekers to get insights from someone already working in a field or at a company of interest.

6. Take advantage of career services

As a career services professional, I would be remiss if I failed to point out that almost every college and university has some sort of career center to help students find jobs. The vast majority offer services to alumni for life for free or for a small fee.

Evidence shows that visits to these centers are worthwhile. According to a 2016 Gallup poll, college graduates who use their college career center are more likely to obtain full-time employment – 67%, compared with 59% for graduates who did not visit career services.

This article was originally posted by The Conversation. Read the Article here.


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