Job search strategies for new grads

Graduation is quickly approaching but you haven’t landed a job or even a strong prospect. But there’s still time to plan an effective job search that includes informational interviews, preparing an outstanding resumé and harnessing the power of social media.

“I’d begin by researching the types of companies I’d like to work for,” says Lauren Friese, president of, a career site that gives advice to young workers. “I’d then organize informational interviews or phone meetings with people who are in a role you’d like to be in within a few years.”

But don’t overstep your boundaries. “Do not expect to get a job offer,” Friese says. “The second you show someone that you want something from them, the meeting gets awkward. Be authentic in your desire to learn more about the organization and the role of the person you’re meeting.”

While many large corporations have already filled positions through campus recruitment events held in the fall, some medium-sized and smaller companies are still posting positions.

“Cast your net as wide as possible in terms of places that you’re looking for information,” Friese says. “Recognize that employers are using more than one means of distributing the data. Check every day. It’s pretty simple with Google and sites like ours.”

Take advantage of your campus employment centre. Many new grads pay thousands of dollars for career training courses that are offered at no charge through their school. “It’s like having a personal recruiter who knows your school, your background and how to market you,” Friese says.

Distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack. “A simple thing students are missing in the job search process is etiquette — how to shake hands, dress professionally and follow up,” Friese says. “When you’re philosophy graduate number 2,071, having those soft skills is so vital and so simple.”

Have your resumé ready, including an online resumé posted on LinkedIn. “LinkedIn is a brilliant tool,” says David Hurlbut, senior career adviser at George Brown College in Toronto. “It’s so necessary that today’s graduates create a professional online personality: 85 to 90% of employers are using social media as part of their recruitment strategies.”

Taking inventory of your strengths, skills, values and weaknesses will help you find a job that’s right for you, Hurlbut advises. When preparing your resumé, use language from your program that’s specific to your field.

Remember, finding a job is a job unto itself and you need to dedicate your time and resources to doing it properly. “The vast majority of graduates leave university unemployed and unemployable and that is sometimes their own fault because they haven’t gone out of their way to find out what is required of them to succeed in the workplace,” Friese says.

More job search tips from the experts

Think the job interview is over when you shake hands and thank the interviewer for their time? Not so quick. “I think it’s really impressive when a student follows up and I believe e-mail is the most non-intrusive way to do that,” says Lauren Friese of “Few students follow up so will help you stand out.”

When looking for a job, it’s important to take your needs into account, advises David Hurlbut of George Brown College. Consider the location of the position, your commute, work hours, how much money you need to survive, and any credentials or certifications required. Especially in today’s job market, be open to an entry-level position.