By Nicole White
So you are graduating soon or have just graduated and are ready to find your first job. You may have been frightened by the recent downturn in the economy, but don’t let that slow your job search. Despite the news reports, there are many professional jobs available and waiting for the perfect candidate. From exploring career options to creating resumes and cover letters to social networking to interviewing and beyond, the following tools will help you find your first job after graduation.
Explore Career Options
If you aren’t sure which direction your career should take, then use these tools to help you discover your destiny.
- CareerGrad’s Top 30 Careers. Get job descriptions, salary ranges, training requirements, and more for the top 30 jobs as rated by CareerGrad.
- Career Testing Can Help Direct the Directionless. Find out what tests can help you find direction in your life with this list that includes links to the assessments.
- Try This 4-Year Career Checklist. Learn what you can do during each year of your college experience to help prepare you for your career after graduation.
- Career Planner Quiz. Take this quiz to discover what career path you might take.
- Keirsey Temperament Sorter. This popular personality assessment will help you discover for what type of career you are best suited.
- Career Exploration. CareerOneStop offers this step-by-step tutorial to help you determine what career is right for you.
- Career Tests. Take these tests that include such topics as career style, management style, and creative problem-solving to help understand where you should look for a job.
- How Your Career Services Office Can Help. Find out what your Career Services office can do to help you narrow down your career options as well as get you on the track for finding a job.
- The Career Interests Game. This popular tool from the University of Missouri will help guide you to the right career path for your interests and skills.
- Myers-Briggs Test * What is your Myers-Briggs Personality Type?. Learn about the famous Myers-Briggs self-assessment test and see what personality type you are and what that means for your career.
- Internships Can Give You an Edge. Find out why you might consider an internship and what it can do for your career.
- Finding an Internship. Learn how you can find an internship as a first step in the field of your choice.
Create a Powerful Resume and Cover Letter
Your resume and cover letters are vital to your job search since they are the first point of contact with potential employers. Learn what to do with these tools.
- Quickstart Resume Templates. Select from over 300 templates from 30 different majors to help you create a perfect resume for you.
- Free Resume Critique. Submit your resume here to find out how it looks and what you can change.
- Five Resume Tips for College Students. With more education than experience, use these tips for a resume that will work.
- Sample Resumes and Letters for Students. Students and grads alike will find resume templates as well as letter samples for cover letters and letters of reference.
- Best College Resumes. Use the tools here which include sample resumes, a resume checklist, and techniques for proofing your resume.
- Resume Videos. Watch these free videos to learn how to create a great resume.
- Best College References. Use the tips and techniques included here to ensure you find and provide the best references you can from your college career.
- Resume Samples. Get plenty of different resume samples here including entry-level resumes and resumes for specific positions.
- College Resume Template. Recent grads can use this template for a resume that is customized to their education and experience levels.
- 5 Phrases That Can Poison Your Resume. Avoid these killers and cliches when creating your resume.
- Cover Letters. Find a sample cover letter, an example of the best and worst cover letters, and more here.
- Cover Letter Samples. Use these samples to get you started to writing excellent cover letters that will get attention.
- Sample Cover Letters. These samples include a generic template as well as more specialized letters such as a response to a newspaper advertisement or a referral from a mutual acquaintance.
Networking and Social Media
Job searching today is much different than in years past. Use these tools to create a great web presence and to network with those who can help your career take off.
- Keep Your E-Image Clean. Follow this advice to ensure potential employers don’t cross you off their list because of a silly mistake you made when it comes to your online image.
- Networking. This list of links will help you learn the do’s and don’ts of networking to help improve your chances of finding a job.
- Using Your Blog as a Job Search Tool. Learn how to use your blog to help get noticed and find a job.
- HOW TO: Build the Ultimate Social Media Resume. Use this tool to help you build an online resume that is powerful and shareable.
- HOW TO: Find a Job on Twitter. This will help you learn how to find a job on Twitter, including several feeds you may want to follow.
- MyWorkster. Created specifically for students and new grads, this site links college networks with employers and also offers job listings through Indeed.
- LinkedIn. Of all the social networking sites, LinkedIn is most closely associated with professional networking. This is an excellent place to create an online presence when looking for a job.
- Ecademy. Another professional networking site, this one allows you to network and make new connections with business professionals.
- Plaxo. Plaxo is similar to LinkedIn, but offers softer options such as photo sharing and e-cards. Plaxo is also connected with SimplyHired and allows you to integrate your Plaxo profile in job searches done through them.
- Facebook. Besides the networking you normally do on Facebook, check out Facebook Marketplace for job listings.
Find the Perfect Job
These tools will help you learn how to find a job after college with tips, tutorials, job fair information, and more.
- Conquering the Real World: A Guide for Achieving Success After College. This tutorial will prepare you for what to expect in the working world after graduation.
- Recession Job Search Tips for New Graduates. Finding your first job during a recession may seem daunting, but use these tips to help you weather the storm.
- Stimulus Jobs for New College Grads. Many career fields are being funded with the economic stimulus, making room for new entry level positions. Find out what fields these are and how to be qualified for the jobs.
- A Student’s Guide to Job Hunting on the Internet. Read through the steps in this tutorial to learn how you can find a job via the Internet.
- Job Search 101 Tutorial. Specifically designed for students and recent college grads, this tutorial offers ten tips to landing your perfect job.
- It’s Never Too Early to Start Your Job Hunt. Learn how to prepare for your job search before you are actually finished with school.
- Job Fair Success. Job fairs offer a great way to find companies looking for applicants. Use these tools to ensure you do great at your next job fair.
- Career Fair/Job Expo Tutorial. Click through this tutorial to learn how to make the most of your career fair experience.
- The Ten Keys to Success at Job and Career Fairs. Learn ten easy steps to guarantee your success at a career or job fair.
- How to Find a Low-Stress Job. If you don’t work best under pressure, read this to find out how to find a job that’s right for your personality.
- Glassdoor.com. Find out about companies, salaries, and more at this site. Students can receive a year membership for free.
Job Search Sites
Take advantage of these job search sites to help you find available positions. Some are specifically for students and new grads.
- JobWeb. This job search site is made for new grads and offers help finding a job as well as opportunities to research employers and informative articles to help with your job search.
- CollegeRecruiter.com. Recent grad and students can find internships and jobs with this resource.
- Monster. One of the most popular job search sites, Monster will help you connect with employers, create a resume, plot a career plan, and more.
- Simply Hired. Simply Hired allows you to simply search by keyword and location to find available jobs.
- Indeed. Similar to Simply Hired, Indeed just requires you to enter a location and job title, key word, or company name to find what jobs are available.
- CareerBuilder.com. Search for jobs, send out your resume, and more with CareerBuilder.com.
- Yahoo! HotJobs. See what jobs are available through Yahoo!, where you can search by keyword or browse by category or location.
- Jobster. Start your job search here where you can create a profile with such features as a video resume, links to your website, and more.
- Craigslist. Craigslist is a great place to search for jobs with small to medium-sized companies. This is a popular place to find a job, so stay on top of your search daily.
- JobFox. Create a profile and let JobFox match you to potential job openings through introductions.
- Employment Spot. Find a job or browse through the articles and information available here to help you find a job.
- JobBoardReviews. This site lets you look at the major job boards as well as get job search news.
- JobPile. A job board aggregator, this site brings you the best of the job boards in one place to cut down the number of searches on different sites.
Job Search Widgets and Apps
Use these apps and widgets to keep your job search accessible everywhere you go.
- 10 iPhone Apps to Manage Your Job Search on the Go. Use these ten apps to stay on top of your job search no matter where you are.
- Google Gadgets: CollegeRecruiter Job Search. Search for entry-level jobs with this gadget you can use with iGoogle.
- Yahoo! Widgets: Monster Job Search. Keep on top of your Monster job searches with this widget.
- Yahoo! Widgets: Job Search. Search the Work.com job database with this Yahoo! widget.
- Indeed Job Search Tools. From job searches to job alerts, use these plug-ins and apps from Indeed to help your job search go more smoothly.
- SimplyHired Job Search Tools. Similar to Indeed’s tools, these will help you stay on top of your job search through SimplyHired.
- Facebook Apps. Search for "job" among these apps to find Job Snagger, Inside Job, Career Builder, Jobster, Indeed, and more.
- Widgetbox. Type in keywords such as "job search" to find a widget from sources such as Indeed, Job Hunter, and Jobster that you can incorporate into a blog, Twitter, Flickr, and more.
- jobFinder Widget a Job Search Mashup. Read about and download this widget that brings three job search sites together.
- twitterjobcast. Search for jobs posted on Twitter by keyword or geographic location.
- TweetMyJobs. This tool allows job seekers and employers to find each other via Twitter.
Get Ready for the Interview
You’ve gotten an interview, so learn how you can present yourself in the best light so employers will recognize your potential.
- Fifty Standard Interview Questions. Practice answering the questions on this list to ensure you aren’t caught by surprise during the big interview.
- Candidate Interview Questions. Be prepared to ask a few questions yourself with these handy lists of candidate questions.
- Tough Interview Questions. Read through these toughies, take some time answering them, then click on the "Best Answers" to see how you measure up.
- Phone Interviewing Success. Phone interviews are often the first chance you will have to secure a job. Use these tips to make sure you make the best first impression.
- Interview Prep for New Grads. Read through this list to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything before your interview.
- When Job Hunting: Dress for Success. Find out exactly what to wear to an interview, how to get donations if you can’t afford interview clothes, and more.
- What Not to Wear on an Interview. Learn what not to wear (and what to wear) with the suggestions here.
- On-Campus Interviewing Success. Recruiters from companies coming to your campus offer a great way to get your foot in the door, so use these tools and techniques to do your best.
- Company-Site Interviewing Success. Don’t pass over these helpful tools if you are going on-site for an interview, including tests and assessments you may be given, what to order at dinner, signals of your successful interview.
- Improve Your Interview Appearance and Body Language. This video will help you learn the importance body language can play in an interview.
After the Interview
After the interview, use these tools to help with salary negotiation, job offers, follow-up letters, and more.
- Personal Salary Report. Invest $20 to get a personalized salary report so that you know exactly what you are worth with this tool.
- PayScale Salary Calculator. Answer a few questions to find out what the average salary range for a specific geographic location is for your career.
- Salary Calculator – Salary Calculators and Salary Comparison Tools. This list of tools will help you find out what you are worth no matter what you situation.
- Cost of Living Wizard. Find out how much you will need to make in a city-to-city comparison with this tool.
- Entry-Level Salary (Probably) Isn’t as Negotiable as You Think. Learn how much leeway you may actually have when it comes to salary negotiation for your entry-level position.
- After the Interview. Be ready for follow-up with this list of techniques and advice to use after the interview.
- Job Offer Checklist. Use this checklist to analyze any details or questions you may have about any potential job.
- Job Offer Checklist. Here’s another checklist in a different format to help you decide if the job is right for you.
- Follow-up Letter Samples. After the interview or after sending a resume, use these letters to let the company know your interest.
- Employee Benefits. Learn about many benefits frequently offered with jobs and find out what they may be worth to you.
- Multiple Job Offer Job Assessor. Use this tool to compare jobs when you receive more than one offer.
- When a Job Offer is Put on Hold. In the current job market, this possibility may not be out of the question. Find out what to do if it happens to you.
New Job and Relocating
The work is just beginning once you accept that job offer. Find out about making the most of your first job, drug testing, employment verification, and use the move planner to help you get started in your new career.
- Make the Most of Your First Job. From attitude to skill-building, learn what you should do to create the best experience possible with your first job.
- Background Check: Employment. Learn why potential employers may run a background check on you and what your rights are if they do.
- Drug Testing and Other Possible Conditions of Employment. Just because you landed the job doesn’t mean you are past all the tests. Find out how long specific drugs stay in your system and what you need to do to ensure you pass drug testing with no problem.
- Employment Verification: I9 Form. Before starting a position, you must complete an I9. Find out what types of documents you may need.
- When a New Job Isn’t What You Expected. Find out what you can do when your dream job turns out to be a nightmare.
- Move Planner. Sign up to use this tool to help your relocation after college go smoothly.
- Best Places to Live. CNNMoney provides this annual listing of the best places to live based on job availability, affordable housing, and quality schools.