10 Ways to Get Flooded with Job Offers after You Graduate

The first few months after you graduate college can be the most exciting and nerve-racking time of your life. You’re thrilled to be done with school, but you’re also wondering, “Will anyone hire me?”

College is no longer a straight ticket to a great career. We’re handing out more bachelor’s degrees than ever, and there’s a lot of competition over the best jobs. The last thing you want to do is end up working at Wal-Mart, trying in vain to find something better.

But what can you do? Isn’t it out of your control?

No. In fact, there’s a lot you can do. Only four short years ago, I was going through this process myself and ended up graduating with 14 written offers. It’s all about being proactive while you’re still in school and taking advantage of your opportunities.

Follow these 10 strategies, and you won’t be worried about getting job offers. You’ll be flooded with them.

1. Join the Student Government Association

By far, the best decision I made during college was to join the Student Government Association (SGA). It varies by school, but most senior members of the SGA are scooped up by members of the Board of Trustees and big companies affiliated with the University.

One of my best job offers was from a trustee member. I also got invitations to parties at the chancellor’s house, important committee meetings, and access to all of the university bigwigs. The SGA is not a guaranteed pass to a job, but it gives you the opportunity to strut your stuff in front of the right people.

2. Play a Sport or Join a Prominent Club

Politics not for you? Another way to get exposure is to start playing a sport or to join a prominent club. The point is to do something that puts you in the right place to be noticed by the right people.

Even if they’re not able to go pro, many popular college athletes get jobs with local companies. It’s much easier to get hired if the company already knows and likes you.

3. Check into Honor Societies

To most students, the words “honor society” are synonymous with “more work.” Sometimes it’s that way, but my Honor Society included special classes reserved for bright students with less lectures and more discussion. It was the same amount of work and a lot more entertaining.

Plus, my honor society had a lot of connections with local businesses. Unofficially, they arranged interviews for many of the top students with companies that were looking for bright new hires. It’s not like this at all honor societies, but you should ask around to find out.

4. Offer to Work for Free for the Right Opportunity

If your parents are footing the bill for college, why not use the opportunity to get top-notch work experience? Pick a few companies that you’d love to work for and volunteer to work for free on the weekends or during the summer.

It will build your résumé and give you valuable connections within the company that will be a huge help when you go for an interview. You might also be able to set up internship credit, where you can get 3-6 credit hours for the extra work.

5. Get a “Real” Job before You Graduate

Can’t afford to work for free? You can still gain valuable work experience. Many students make the mistake of taking “college jobs” like being a waiter or store clerk to pay the bills, but these jobs don’t have any relevance to future employers.

A better strategy is to get a job in your field. If you’re a computer science major, try designing web sites. If you’re a nursing major, work as a CNA at a nursing home. If you’re an accounting major, try a little freelance bookkeeping.

You’ll get paid, and you’ll be able to claim the time as work experience when you go for your interview.

6. Hang out with Your Professors after Class

Professors are more than information machines. The good ones take interest in their students, guiding them to the best classes, internships, and job opportunities.

Take some time every day to drop by during office hours. Discuss a topic from class, something from the school newspaper, or just chitchat. They’ll enjoy it, and you might end up building a valuable relationship.

7. Do Something Remarkable and Get Publicity for It

No one expects much from college students. You’re supposed to spend all of your time studying and partying, not doing anything worthwhile. In turn, this makes it easy to do something remarkable and get attention from the media.

If you’re in the Student Government, this one is easy. Just pick a major problem at the University and dedicate yourself to solving it. The media should pick up on it and give you a story in the local newspaper or maybe on the evening news.

Once again, this helps with name recognition. You can also put it in your portfolio (see below).

8. Get Quality Letters of Recommendation

There’s a big difference between your average letter of recommendation and a good one. Average letters all say the same time: Great student, hard worker, pleasant personality, recommend you hire immediately.

A quality letter of recommendation is a personalized, thoughtful piece that explains in detail why you are a good hire. It gives specific examples of things you did and how it impacted the company in a positive way.

Don’t have any work experience where you can get a letter like this? Proceed backward to #4 and #5.

9. Create a Professional Portfolio

College advisors hand out all sorts of bad advice about job hunting. They tell you that all you need is a one-page résumé. Nonsense. Speaking as an employer, the best candidates start with a résumé and then follow up with a professional portfolio.

What is a professional portfolio? It’s a collection of work, letters, and news clippings that the employer might find valuable. For instance, a top-notch computer science major might have a CD with example programs, links to programming articles she’s written, and letters of recommendation from freelance clients.

10. Notify Everyone of Your Availability

Don’t wait until after you graduate to start looking for a job. You’ll be competing with everyone else. Instead, finish your resume and portfolio several months before graduation and let everyone know that you’re available.

By everyone, I mean everyone. Send out an e-mail to your family, your family’s coworkers, your professors, previous bosses, any other contacts within the university, and any other connections that might know of opportunities.

The point is to get flooded with job offers. When you’re finished, you want to have at least five or six good opportunities. This allows you to cherry pick, choosing the job that suits you the best.

Even when you graduate, there are things you can do to increase your job offers. Now you can even earn your graduate degree, while you maintain a full time job. Check out these MBA online programs, and make yourself even more desirable to employers.

Of course, it doesn’t end there. Once you’ve got a job, we can start working on getting you a raise. Stay tuned to find out how.