2023 HBCU Careers Magazine

HBCU Careers Magazine

Tips for Landing Your First Job By Sean Lynott

I’ve had the honor of being a recruiter and working with students for almost 20 years. During that time, I’ve been able to meet some great students and develop strong relationships with career centers across the United States. First off, I’d like to congratulate all of you reading this for finishing your degree (or darn close to it). This is a huge milestone and something that you should be proud of. This brief article will make one giant assumption: you are still looking for your first job post graduation. I have some advice that I’ll share that will hopefully be helpful. Even if you have already secured employment, there might be some good tips in here for you.

If you haven’t done this yet, work with your Career Advisor to go over your resume and mock interview. One of the things I overlooked as a student was the importance of getting to know my Career Advisor. These school employees are a wealth of knowledge and can provide tips that will greatly assist you in your search for a wonderful job. Schedule time to go over your resume with them and practice interviewing. Career Advisors are paid to stay on top of industry trends regarding resume writing and interview preparation. As a student or recent graduate, they are here to serve you. Attend Career Fairs. Nearly all schools host a “just in time” career fair that is open to graduating seniors and recent graduates. These events are full of employers looking to scoop up new talent for their organizations. Most of the roles will be geared toward those who are considered early in their career. Again, work with your Career Advisor to prepare for the event. Your advisor will make sure that you’re dressed appropriately and ready to shine. This will be an opportunity to showoff your new resume and engage in conversation with employers. One thing to keep in mind: in the past, employers would collect resumes at the event. More companies are moving away from this and are asking candidates to register for updates via a tablet at the event. This allows recruiters to have easy access to a database of candidates from the event that they can leverage when filling roles. Reach out to Recruiters on LinkedIn. As part of the prep for career fairs, you’ll want to work with your Career Advisor to create a professional LinkedIn profile. You’ll need this as many companies will allow students and graduates to share their accounts when entering information on tablets at events. LinkedIn is also a great place to connect with Recruiters at the companies you wish to work at. I won’t spend too much time on this, as I wrote about this in an older article, but your goal should be to make connections. Please don’t ask Recruiters for special favors as it takes time to develop relationships. Most recruiters are extremely busy and don’t have time to coach people on their resume and how to interview. Again, make sure that you’re leveraging your Career Advisor for these tasks. If you completed an internship and enjoyed it, see if your host company can “covert” your role to full time. Often, students will complete an internship without having firm plans for future work. This could be due to the employer not having budget to convert at the time. Stay in touch with your hiring manager from the internship. As your graduation date approaches, or just after you’ve graduated, reach out to them, and see if things have changed. I’ve met several former interns who were able to secure a full-time job by doing this. This is an exciting time in your life! Make sure that you are leveraging all the tools and resources at your disposal. Most importantly, have fun too! Enjoy the experience and ensure that you’re getting enough rest. This can be a stressful time: go for a walk, hang out with your friends, call your mom. Being in the right frame of mind can be the difference between success and failure. All of us contributing to this great magazine are cheering for you!


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