5 Helpful Tips for Finding a Job After Grad School

Graduation is almost upon us. Many grad students are preparing to take the next step in their professional careers. Today’s blog will go over a few tips to help you get started on your job hunt.

There's a laptop, a cup of coffee, a pen lying on top of a notebook, and a cell phone. They're laying on a wood table.
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash.

1. Network

Networking is one of the essential and most intimidating parts of the job hunt. As you grow in your industry or career, the people within your network can help you. They can give you advice, insight into a new role or industry, or connect you with even more people in your field. Eighty percent of jobs are found through contacts and referrals, so building a strong network is key. 

When attempting to network and enter the workforce, people may fear being seen as pushy or bothersome by others. That’s a very natural and normal reaction. One way to overcome this is to think of networking as a career conversation. You’re getting to know someone as you would in the classroom or at a school club. Like any relationship, professional connections are a two-way street. It’s about building and maintaining a long-lasting relationship that’ll benefit both parties. It’s NOT about asking for a job. For some more helpful tips on how to reach out, check out HelpGuide.org

Who Can I Connect With?

Connections can be made with alumni, former and current colleagues and supervisors, friends, old acquaintances, professors, or mentors. If you’re just starting grad school, getting internships is key to connections. While internships give you skills in a specific profession, they also open doors through professional connections. 

In addition, it’s important to set a goal in mind when reaching out to a connection. Even if you don’t have a concrete goal, it’s crucial to have an interest or curiosity in mind. For instance, you should write down a few questions you wish to ask a potential connection to make sure both of you are getting the most out of this interaction. 

You can form and maintain these professional connections via online platforms like LinkedIn or Handshake. Make sure you join relevant groups for your industry or alumni groups, like the Emerson College Alumni Association. Emerson College has its own networking platform, Emerge. It’s a new online community where Emersonians can connect, recognize, support, and celebrate each other. 

2. Research the Job Market 

It may sound daunting, but research is key for starting the job hunt. Some of you may have already had experience post-undergrad and are looking to enter a different field. Some of you may know exactly what career you want but aren’t sure where to start. And some of you may be entering the full-time workforce for the first time. Research is vital for figuring out where you should focus your attention. It’ll help you craft a strategy that’ll make the process a little easier on you. 

Before researching the job market, it’s good to start by thinking of your goals, strengths, interests, skills, values, etc. To help you with this, the Career Center has a Career Action Plan. It serves as a roadmap to guide you through your job search. It’ll put things into perspective and help you clarify what you’re hoping to achieve.

Where Can I Start My Research?

One way you can start researching the market is by utilizing online resources such as websites, blogs, podcasts, newsletters, and social media about your field of interest. These resources can direct you toward job titles and companies that may be the right fit for you. For example, Glassdoor Reviews is a great tool to discover new jobs but also check out company reviews to understand a workplace environment. According to LinkedIn, these sources can provide up-to-date and relevant information on the latest developments, innovations, and issues.

In addition, it’s beneficial to analyze job descriptions. It’ll help you figure out similar or related positions in your field, as well as provide insight into an employer’s desired skills, qualifications, preferences, and priorities. It’ll also assist in figuring out if that kind of role is right for you, or if you should be focusing your attention elsewhere. For example, if there’s a company that aligns heavily with your beliefs, proceed to form a connection with a current employee and see if their work environment is one that you wish to participate in. 

Every industry is different, and every industry has their own unique job boards. Specific career paths are typically the focus of these job boards. It’s good to investigate what kind of job boards your field of interest has. 

Emerson’s Career Center has industry guides. These guides compile skills, job titles, job boards, and links to other forms of support that’ll help get you started. 

3. Revise Your Resume/CV & Cover Letter 

When applying for roles, it’s important to tailor the experience on your resume and cover letter to align with the job description. For example, if a role is looking for someone who is organized, show that you are organized in your cover letter. If you’re applying for a job that requires an individual to be able to work under pressure, discuss how you had to multitask at your busy restaurant job. 

Your resume and cover letter should showcase your specific skills and what makes you stand out. I recommend keeping master documents of your resumes and cover letters so you can use those as templates for other roles. I also want to stress to always proofread both before sending any of your documents out and to research what an ideal cover letter or resume should look like for your industry. 

If you’re not sure how to start writing a cover letter or resume, check out the templates and tools the Career Center offers online. Or sign up for an online resume review

4. Make an Appointment at the Career Center 

One way to ease the load of your job hunt is to utilize Emerson College’s Career Development Center as much as you can! I cannot stress this one enough. The career center’s blog is chock-full of resources to assist you in your job hunt. The Career Development Center is dedicated to providing a supportive and inclusive environment for exploration and creating equitable access to career opportunities.

You can even make an appointment with one of the center’s many career counselors. The appointments can cover a myriad of topics, including networking, job search, resume and cover letter, interview prep, and portfolio review. For example, if you’ve been struggling with your job interviews and are nervous about the next one, one of the counselors can provide you with tips to make you feel more confident and provide you with feedback on your strategies. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, uncertain, or frustrated through the whole process, they’re the experts to see. They’ll help guide you in the right direction. 

5. Make Time For Yourself 

There’s no sugarcoating it, job hunting is exhausting. Some might even say soul-sucking. It’s a lot of work and will make you feel defeated. It’s super important to make sure you’re prioritizing yourself throughout the process. 

It’s also crucial to stay organized. Try to set daily goals to help ease the pressure you’re feeling. One goal could be to apply for one job and connect with two people a day. Or, utilize a schedule or a calendar to make sure you’re not feeling too overwhelmed. For more ways to help set goals, check out this article on flexjobs.com

Hopefully, this blog has given you an idea of how you can start your job search. For more information, check out the rest of our blog for other helpful grad school tips. 

Follow Katherine Klima:

Social Media Coordinator for Graduate Admissions

Kat is a third-year student in Emerson's Creative Writing MFA program. She's originally from Long Island, but loves her life in Boston. When she's not working, she's hanging out with friends or chilling with her cat.

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