Questions from Recent College Graduates

Every spring, college graduates from across the country begin searching for ways to make use of their newly earned degrees. There are countless resources available, both online and at universities, to help recent graduates land jobs. But without some guidance, navigating the job market can feel incredibly overwhelming. Luckily, with their expertise in the career field, the recruiters at Career Group Companies are here to help! Students who graduated this past spring have reached out to us with questions about finding employment after graduation. Emily Levine, recruiter and Vice President of Career Group Companies, used her extensive knowledge of the hiring process to respond to questions from recent college graduates who are looking for their first job.

What are the benefits of using a Recruiter as opposed to searching only on job boards?

Recruiters can help open the door and land the interview for the candidate. A lot of my clients will reach out to me directly and not post online while others will do both. I think the advantage of using a recruiter when you are a recent graduate is that often these jobs are confidential openings. If someone is being replaced or it’s not yet discussed in the company that the position is going to be available, they’ll reach out to a resource like us and not post online.

Will hiring managers consider candidates who have not yet located to the job destination?

I’d say that even though it feels scary, the highest probability of landing a job is by being in the city that you want to work in. It shows employers you are serious about getting a job there. It is difficult to get a job in the city you are not yet located in because a lot of companies already have a pool of candidates who are local so it’s an extra step to consider people who might not know the city that well.

How should I prepare to respond to employers when they ask for your desired salary?

I think it’s important to say, I want to be realistic, I understand that I have to earn my stripes but I’ve been interviewing in the X to Y range. You never want to be pushy about it, you never want to be forceful about it, you also don’t want to seem entitled but I think that you also don’t want to undersell yourself. Throwing out a range and saying that you’ve been interviewing based on that depending on total compensation, benefits, commute and all those other factors will make you look like you’ve done your homework.

How do you know if there is a chance for upward mobility within a position?

If the position is open due to promotion, then you know that that person was rewarded for doing a good job. Also, I’ll look on LinkedIn and I’ll see how long people stay at the company. I think you have to be careful in the interview not to harp too much on it. Especially if you just graduated college, it’s important to know that if you’re already asking for a promotion before you’ve proven yourself, you might rub the interviewer the wrong way.

What is the most important information to include on my resume?

The most important things to include on your resume are your first name, last name, your email address, your phone number and the city. A lot of great resumes have an objective at the top to give an overview of your skills, your experience, your personality and what you’re looking for in a job. It’s a nice intro for people without having to write a long cover letter. It’s important to make sure that you include your previous internships. And people wonder whether or not to include a restaurant type of job, but it is very transferable. It’s all about customer service so I would suggest including those.

How should I best be using LinkedIn as a networking tool to my advantage?

I would make sure that you keep a current photo and you update a bio of what you’re looking for in a job. Make sure that you’re saying something along the lines of “recent college graduate seeking a fast-paced administrative role where I can contribute my skills and grow.” In terms of networking through LinkedIn, you can reach out to companies you’re interested in working for or you can see who you’re connected to that works at companies you’re excited about. Reach out and ask them how they’re liking the company and if you should apply. They may offer to put in a good word for you.

How important are internships prior to having your first job?

After graduating college, it’s really hard to stand out amongst your peers so having strong internships shows that you took initiative throughout your summers to keep busy and keep your skills sharp. It will show your future employers what your interests were at that time. Even though a lot of internships are filing or answering phones, it’s important to show that you had some sort of exposure to corporate training.

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As college graduates across the country begin or continue their job searches, we hope Emily’s advice and the other career tips found on our blog are useful tools for the process. Ready to start applying to jobs? Check out the opportunities on our job seekers page.

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