Finding a Job After College: Be Prepared

Anne Orban, Managing Editor

There are so many questions about what happens after college. Twenty-somethings all over the world are getting their degrees and beginning looking for jobs — hopefully in their field. The process can be frustrating and disheartening because of the amount of rejection that these young professionals face. There are hundreds of people job-hunting at this very moment, each with their own talents and strengths. The question remains, “How do I make my talents and strengths stand out from everyone else?”

I want to start with my own personal experience. I am a senior at Black Hills State University and it was part of my five-year plan to land a job — or at least a few offers before I graduate. It was a pipe dream for a long time, but during the summer I decided to try my luck at applying to a publishing company in Rapid City, S.D.. I still remember my excitement when they called me for an interview, but I had no idea what I was doing or how to conduct myself in the interview. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job — but I learned a lot.

After that experience, I took a break from applying because I was really bummed about it. A few weeks after I was rejected, I found out there was an opening in the Financial Aid office on campus. I decided to try my luck since I had worked there as a work-study student for three years. I had a lot of time to prepare and with the help of my friends, family, and roommate I was able to write a strong cover letter and create an organized and professional resume. I practiced like crazy for any potential interview and wrote a new five- year planAll that hard work helped me achieve my dream of landing a job in communication before I even graduated.

My experience is not much different than many students. The key to having that kind of success is applying yourself and persevering. Most career-building websites have some kind of model that can help you land a job. Follow them!

Get involved on campus and in your community.

I did not have a ton of experience to put on my resume, but I was involved in the campus newspaper and I had several hours of volunteer work. Put these items on your resume. It will look better than the three months you worked at a taco stand for pocket money.

You dona��t have to list every job you have ever had on your resume.

You’ve probably had a few jobs that you really don’t want to list on your resume and that is ok. I worked on and off for a Taco John’s when I was applying for other professional jobs, and I opted not to put that particular job on my resume. It’s not lying or even withholding information — it’s picking the jobs that are the most professional and will make you stand out.

Keep your cover letter short, sweet, and informative.

Instead of just writing about how excited you are for the position, make sure you link in some of your past experiences. You don’t want to list your entire resume in the cover letter. Instead, use the space to tell potential employers what you’ve learned in some of your past positions. It should not be any longer than one page.


Prepare for your interview.

There are so many ways you can prepare for your interview. One of the best ways is to find a list of generic interview questions and think about how you would answer them. You can never be fully prepared but you can familiarize yourself with your own goals and figure out how you would answer a variety of different questions.

Write a thank you to your interviewer.

After your interview, it is a good idea to send your interviewer a thank you note. They took time out of their day to interview you. It can’t hurt your chances if you say thank you.


These are just a few things that I found helpful during my job hunt. These can change depending on the job you are applying for. Don’t get to stressed out over job in particular. You can find any job you want if you look, stay positive, and be prepared.