resume, professional experience, projects, networking, communication skills,  social media
JOB HUNT / 14 December 2016
Key Factors on Landing a Job Post-Graduation
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Bryan Tran

Ah...graduation. Indeed a noble moment in life we have all, mostly our parents, have dreamt of. You are finally a proud graduate of a prestigious university and no longer have to sit through lectures, labs, and office hours. You are finally done with school and are ready for the real world. Or… are you?

 

Perhaps you have no idea what to do now and perhaps you want to cry in your room in a fetal position, scared for what is out there, unprepared for the cutthroat, dream-shattering real world environment. Or... you can read these awesome tips on how to gracefully emerge from your cocoon into the real world so that you can follow your dreams and aspirations as an ambitious beautiful butterfly.


Resumes

At this moment in time, your resume is hopefully well developed with lots of professional experience. Keep in mind that ‘experience’ can mean many things; e-board positions in clubs, volunteering, and even freelance work can all be included in your experience. Use your experience to highlight your skills and talents.

When applying for jobs, your job search is often flexible and very broad. It is important to keep in mind that every position you apply is likely to have different expectations, descriptions, and responsibilities. Have multiple resumes on hand that cater to different positions. For example, your ‘Researching Assistant’ experience is probably not as relatable as your ‘Marketing Officer’ position in your service club. Remember to always highlight the skills that companies are looking for in the position and adjust your resume to their needs. 


Projects

Projects are extremely important when applying for jobs. It is a showmanship of the quality of your work, and representation of your skills. By now, you’ve probably have accumulated a good amount of projects throughout university. Don’t be afraid to use them in your portfolio, LinkedIn and ProSky profiles, or in job interview! You made them for a reason. 

Another key factor on landing a job is your ability to describe, analyze, and understand your projects. These factors are important because it illustrates your process of thinking, your ability to identify and and propose solutions, and your research. These skills will help present yourself as a valuable candidate. Remember to explain your concepts, develop case studies, and have your projects be visually appealing. 


Connections

Having connections is probably one of the most important factors in finding a job. Connections will help you get a foot in the door of a company and will help you get an advantage over other candidates if your connection can vouch for you. Take advantage of your school career services. You’ll find professionals that will help you build your resume, portfolio and connect you with helping you begin your career. 

Don’t be afraid to reach out to old colleagues whether they are old high school friends, friends of your parents, old professors, or even relatives. It is an easy way to learn about a company, get vouched for, and learn about their experiences working there. Try connecting with colleagues who are in a similar position you desire. You’ll be able to get a good feel and perspective of the position by their experiences. 

Be persistent and shameless about connecting to professionals. Research a career relevant professional at a company you want to work for and reach out to them. Do not apply then reach out. Reach out and then apply. Show them how you can benefit their projects and the company and what separates you from a candidate. If you are able to show that you can be a valuable asset to your company, they can get you or help you get hired. 


Branding

Branding yourself online is important because companies are able to get an impression about you from your social media platforms, professional profiles and website. You can establish your online presence by making a website by coding or using website development services such as SquareSpace or Wix. Other ways are having professional networking sites like ProSky. ProSky will give you the opportunities to work with different companies to potentially get hired! Companies will also ask for your personal social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. so be careful about what you post and try to avoid controversial issues. 

Having a website is always good nowadays. Personal websites are a good way to present you skills, professional character, and resume. Developing your website using web development services like SquareSpace and Wix is very common for college students. However, coding your own website using HTML, CSS, and Javascript is a good way to show off your skills. 

Another important way to brand yourself is being confident and having a positive attitude. Do not let positions scare you and do not let your entry levelness stress you out and especially do not apologize for it. Be confident and show that you are an ambitious and motivated candidate that can become a valuable asset to the company. Following all these tips may seem like a lot of work, but putting in the work now can help with getting the results you want down the road. Keeping a positive attitude throughout the process is key in presenting yourself in the way to be perceived by working professional as completing quality work. 


Research

Make sure you know what kind of products and services the company you are applying for offers. Having a good understanding of the company not only shows that you are genuinely interested in the company but you have a willingness to learn. 

Set up a game plan by researching the products and services of a company you want to work for. You can research by downloading their apps, buying a product, or by reading reviews of their products and services.

For example, if you’re looking for a job as a Experience Designer, try to find some issues with a company’s user interface or user experience in their website or products. It will not only benefit them as a company but show that you are a keen eyed candidate. 

Find issues within the company, a demographic they can target, or projects and services they can benefit from. You will have an easier time identifying improvement areas they have yet to catch or at least be able to discuss with your interview indepthly on company improvement. Companies will appreciate your initiative and support during the job interview. 


Conclusion

Remember that a post-grad job is not a training program. You are expected to be a knowledgeable and skillful team member to the company and were hired to be. Starting your career takes a lot of initiative and perseverance. There are many fish in the sea but you can be a shark. Need some help? Sign up for ProSky and register for a course or do a project! You’ll be provided with lots of opportunities to learn valuable skills and your ProSky profile will be viewed by lots of companies everyday.  

If you ever have any questions, comments, or advice feel free to email me at bryan.tran@usc.edu Good luck!