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Use your degree to get the perfect job in the career field you want

How do you make your college degree work for you? Finding a job after college can be successful when you use this expert advice and to make the most of the career hunt. Remember, education is never a waste of time.


Do list degree and specializations early on your resume

Hiring officials want to know that you completed college right up front. Don’t make them have to search through your resume to find out when you graduated or what you studied. If they don’t see it up front, your resume may never reach the hiring official. Put important information right up front to get your application materials noticed. If you graduated with honors or have specialized skills such as speaking different languages, include that early on in the resume as this can set you apart from the pack. Put important information right up front to get your application materials noticed.

Do use buzz words in your resume

Many times human resource systems are used to scan resumes before the hiring official ever sees them. Resumes that are sent electronically are screened by software candidates based on buzz words for each degree like Associates, Bachelors, Masters, PhD or relevant required skills listed in the job description like communication, organization or facilitation. Resumes are also screened for specialized skills like word processing, presentation or spreadsheet skills. Include any relevant courses or skills acquired while earning your degree. Each skill counts even the ones learned while earning your degree. Ensure that skills sought on the job description are also included in your resume.

Do include relevant transferable skills

Let people know what you learned while earning your degree. Many of the skills and topics learned are transferable to more than one occupation or industry. Skills like communication, organization, planning, team building, time management or basic computer skills can be an asset in almost every job situation. So be sure to list them as relevant skills on your resume.

Do tell everyone you’re looking for a job

You never know who has information on the next opportunity. Communicating your job wants and needs will help get the word out that you are ready, willing, qualified and in the market for a new job. Tell people you’re in the hunt for a job. Use social media, alumni office of your college, past bosses, professional contacts, neighbors or even friends at church that you are looking for a job. People most likely won’t know we’re looking for or need a job unless we tell them. Don’t be shy about communication your need for a job. Networking always pays off.

Do apply to various industries

Think outside the box. Many job seekers make the mistake of only looking in certain traditional job locations or industries. Don’t limit your job search. If you are a nurse, don’t just look for jobs in a hospital. Look for them in nursing homes, group homes, churches, prisons, government agencies, etc. Many companies keep a nurse employed in the health office so your next job just might be in an unexpected location or industry. You might even find your next opportunity working from home. Open your mind up to the myriad of job opportunities in places you never would have considered in the past.


Do not forget to proofread your resume

Your resume or application is the first impression that many have of your even before meeting or speaking with you. Typographical errors might make the person reviewing the application think you don’t take your time, write well or take the job seriously. Write your application materials, spell check then proofread, proofread, proofread. Read it aloud to ensure you have used the correct words since common errors like having the correct spelling but the wrong meaning occur frequently for example using “two instead of too”. Have someone else proofread the document also. Sometimes they might catch errors that you’ve missed.

Do not overlook the importance of having a mentor

Seek out a mentor. Mentors can help get you going in the right direction. Many times they can make you aware of jobs that are not advertised to the general public. Because they take an interest in your career, they can help you make contact with hiring officials, managers, CEOs and people that make hiring decisions. Find someone you trust and wants to see you succeed. Then ask them if they would be willing to mentor you through the job search process.

Do not forget to include non-paid work assignments

If you worked non paid assignments like internships or volunteer positions, list the skills acquired on your resume. It doesn’t matter if you were paid for the time you worked, what matters is the skill set you bring to the job and how you can make yourself an asset to the company. List all the skills that can help you land the job. Even if the job does not relate to the current position you are seeking, more than likely you’ve learned many skills that can be assets in your next position. Don’t sell yourself short. Take inventory of all the skills learned while earning your degree and include the relevant and most sought after ones on your resume.

Do not forget to include an effective cover letter

An easy to read cover letter that is clear, specific and details how you will be an asset to the company can set you apart from other job seekers. Highlight the specific or special skills you bring to the table and how they will benefit the company. Ensure you highlight language from the job description and how you meet those requirements. Make sure to include up to date contact information with several methods you can be contacted including home and cellular phone number, email, text, instant message. However you want to be contacted, include that on your cover letter. Before closing the letter, thank the reviewer for taking the time to read your application materials. Kindness can go a long way to setting your application materials apart for the rest.

Do not forget to take action

Everyday do one thing to move you closer to achieving your occupational goals. When actively seeking a job you should send out at least 10 resumes per day at least 50 per week. Call company human resource office, go to local organizations and ask to fill out an application. Don’t just expect jobs to come directly to you. Use all employment resources like online job sites, social media, career fairs, online career fairs, recruiters, state, local and federal government employment agencies and offices as well as newspaper employment sections. Make your job search active, always be on the lookout for the next opportunity, you never know where it may come from.

Jumping cartoon

Landing a job is easier than you think if you have an effective application package that lists your degree, major, and sought after skills right up front. Employing all the resources available to help you land the job can increase your odds of beating out the competition. When you do the work up front and think outside the box while being open to all the opportunities available, you are sure to meet much success on your job hunt journey.

More expert advice about Finding a New Job

Photo Credits: DSC_0342 by Flickr: jameskm03; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas -

Dr. Carolyn EdwardsLife & Career Coach, Author, Professor

Dr. Edwards holds a PhD in Management and serves as Coach, Author and adjunct professor teaching graduate business/management courses. She has over 20 years of government, industry, entrepreneurship, education, consulting, training and coaching...

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