How Recent College Grads Should Manage Their Job Search


Don Benenson, SPHR, is the owner of MVP Resumes. He has over 30+ years of corporate HR experience and happily helps clients with resume preparation and interviewing skills. He can be reached at 631-428-5877 or at

Congratulations on graduating from college. You’ve learned a lot but most likely have yet to learn to manage a job search and plan a rewarding career. In my business, I’ve worked with many college grads and have helped them get jobs in a fiercely competitive job market. 
    There is no magic formula in finding and getting a great job. Countless factors will determine your success – a select few stand out as the difference makers.

There Are Huge Benefits Being a Big Fish in a Small Pond
There is nothing wrong about looking for jobs in huge and recognizable companies. However, with so many applicants, your chances of having your resume selected are nowhere as good than those when you apply to smaller companies. Moreover, smaller companies need very high contributions from employees. This is great news! It means that you will get involved in a broad range of activities, develop a diverse skills and accomplishments, and have greater visibility You can be a doer and difference maker, which is precisely what you want to be as you start your career.

Be Great at Selling Yourself
In my previous life in corporate HR, the applicant’s ability to sell themselves was paramount. This began with their cover letter and resume. Most were horrific, some were acceptable, and few were good enough to warrant a deep dive. If you fail to make the hiring manager salivate while reading these documents, you’re toast!
    The game begins with the exploratory interview (typically via phone) and then if you’re good, you move on to a face-to-face interview. These hours spent in the interview process can literally change your life- prepare accordingly. Busy people won’t contact individuals who submit unimpressive cover letters and resumes. Hey also won’t spend time with applicants who interview poorly.
    In my interview coaching with clients, most stumble versus excel. Poor answers are always forthcoming to, “Tell me about yourself”. Absolutely no one has the right response to “There are countless companies you could work for. What makes you want to work here?”
    An interview is a performance-your most important performance. Without practice and coaching your curtain will come down quickly!

As you go through the job search process, you will absorb a lot of punches. Many will hit and hurt your confidence.
    So, have a couple of pity parties along the way. But make them short. Buy a spiral notebook and keep copious notes of what works and doesn’t. Say yes to all interviews even when you know that there is no way you’d say yes to the job.
    Be honest, but not brutal in your self-reflection. A job seekers best friend is self-confidence. Figuring out what will make you successful is your goal. 
    Following these steps will take a lot of the anxiety out of the job search process, while increasing the chances of your success. Happy hunting!