Adulting Tips for the Fresh Grad
Welcome to the real world!
It’s graduation season yet again. Many college students have wrapped up their final semesters online and received their well-deserved diplomas. After a hard few years crunching projects and juggling different subjects, fresh grads are gearing up for the next big thing: life in the workforce.
Not knowing where to start is normal. But it won’t hurt if you look for some adulting tips to help you get the ball rolling. So below, here are some basics you might want to know as you venture out into young adulthood.
Creating your CV
Fresh grads are most likely to use a curriculum vitae (CV) in their first round of job hunting. You’re at a point where your experience is still quite limited, especially for the industry you’re trying to be part of. Your CV should ideally be one page so there’s no need to flesh out all of your experiences. It’d be best to prioritize internships, org work and achievements from the past five years.
In case your college achievements exceed one page, remove the ones that don’t vouch for your skills. A short volunteer stint in an organization, especially one that didn’t require you to put in a lot of work, is best left out. Meanwhile for your personal details, only include your full name, contact number and email address. Omit details such as hobbies, height, weight and other personal details unrelated to the job.
Writing a cover letter
Writing a cover letter isn’t as daunting as it sounds. It should be short and sweet and must be tailor-fit for each company you’re applying to. This letter also shows your sincerity and optimism to be part of their organization. Open it with a greeting and express your interest in applying for the position. Mention two of your best achievements and enumerate skills that would help you in the position and what would benefit the company. Don’t dissect your entire CV in the cover letter.
The ideal length of your cover letter should be 400 words and four paragraphs at most. Use formal language and keep each paragraph straightforward and concise. The cover letter is meant to briefly introduce yourself, your skills and what value you can contribute to the company, so flowery words are not necessary. If you’re applying via email, the email body can serve as your cover letter. However, it’s also best to keep a PDF version if you’re applying via an automated system.
Job hunting and expanding your network
Now that you’re ready to enter the job market, the next step is building your network to help you find job offers. A lot of companies put up openings on their company websites and job-seeking sites such as LinkedIn, JobStreet, Pasajob.com and Kalibrr. If you feel like hitting a wall with the traditional platforms, connect with your relatives, batchmates and older friends. Their employers might have openings you can apply for. Plus, some employers may prefer hiring individuals referred by their employees.
Another adulting tip? Maximize job hunting on social media. Multiple Facebook groups for creative industry jobs, development sector jobs and more are filled with job openings. These are also helpful if you’re looking to build experience with contract-based jobs and freelancing gigs before fully seeking a full-time one. Nonetheless, exercise caution while looking at the openings posted. Double-check the job scope and rates you find and evaluate if they meet your skillset before sending an application over.
Dealing with rejection
Pro-tip: Manage your expectations; job rejections are normal. Even the seemingly perfect honor student will go through it. It’s not because you’re inadequate; it just so happens that the job does not fit your current skill set. Nonetheless, there will always be something out there for you. Some companies are gracious enough to email back, but it’s also expected to not hear back after an interview or an exam. When you encounter a declined job application, allow yourself to feel sad about it instead of bottling up. After a day or two of feeling it out, you can recalibrate yourself to try again.
Everyone’s pace is different. Some might immediately get jobs right after graduation while some take months and even a year looking for a job. So if you feel like you’re falling behind, remember that adulthood is a journey over a race. The rejection email and the radio silence will be painful but that’s not the end of it. You’ll still be able to land the job best for you after a few bumps on the road.
Despite the number of adulting tips you can collect, experience is still the best teacher. Continue assessing the possible mistakes you’ve committed while looking for a job and learn from them. Good luck in the real world, grad!