After your last assignment is handed in, your books are put away, and the virtual graduation ceremony is over, it finally hits you: you're no longer a student. You've got to find a JOB — one that, hopefully, leads to a career, #adulting.
Given that we are in the middle of a pandemic, taking time to focus on your mental health is important. But once you feel ready, we've compiled a list of tools and tips to get you on your way.
Polish your resumé and cover letter
Luckily, most job applications have largely moved online, but resumes and cover letters are still the workhorse formats. Be sure to add an entry for your newly minted credential and any work placements you had while in school. Identify and leverage any transferrable skills from your education or jobs. For example, if you worked in retail, highlight your ability to work well under pressure and in a team. Use your cover letter to show passion for your new field and connect your education to the position you want.
Bonus: most colleges and universities allow you to access their career or employment support centres even after graduation. With professional resume evaluators on staff and workshops on topics like interviewing, try to book an online appointment right after graduation.
Buff up your online presence
Creating a profile on LinkedIn can also help you connect with potential employers. It's free and similar in format to a resume, so it's a worthwhile investment. Pro tip: ensure your headshot is professional rather than a selfie with your favourite cat ear filter.
While you're online, Google yourself. Are your Instagram, Facebook and other accounts professional enough? Take down or set to private any posts that you wouldn't want your future boss to see. You might consider also starting a social account with a professional focus to help you stand out in your field.
Make valuable online connections through virtual events or webinars. This can be a good way to get to know a new industry. Ask your professors and advisors at the career centre about any opportunities they may know about, and do some research of your own on sites like Meetup.com and Eventbrite.ca to discover online events. Instead of an old fashion business card, consider building a website (e.g., Wix or Squarespace are free) that includes your resume and additional fun details about your passions.
Look for Facebook and LinkedIn groups to join, or people who might be willing to do an informational interview with you, and ask about their job. Virtual coffee date anyone?
Create your own work experience
Look for different ways to add some substance to your resume, organize your own virtual events, volunteer in your community or pitch a small business to take you on as an intern for the next few months — anything you can do to gain valuable work experience.
Treat finding a job like it's your job
The biggest secret about finding a job is that it's actually a job in itself. Those who are serious about it do all of the above not just weekly but daily. Bookmark your favourite job sites and check every morning for new positions. Schedule networking events, connect through LinkedIn, and tell everyone you know you're looking for work.
Don't forget, not every company or organization is affected by the pandemic or a recession. Search out those you know are busy and doing well such as online retailers, food delivery, home exercise, government, video games and so many more.
With steady effort, you'll eventually make the move from graduated to employed. Now that's a transition worthy of a virtual party!
Get job-ready at Algonquin College