By: Kelsey Pardue (@kelsey_pardue


Calling all soon-to-be graduates! Beginning your job search can be terrifying, intimidating, and exciting all at the same time. You’ve been in school for four or more years and it’s time to put the skills you’ve learned to the test and apply for jobs. Luckily, I have five tips and tricks that will make your job search less stressful and will start you off on the right foot.

Use Your Network

We’ve heard it time and time again, “It’s all about who you know.” When starting your job search, exhaust the connections and relationships that you’ve made throughout your internships, classes, and extracurricular activities. You’d be surprised at how many jobs come from mutual connections. You never know, your professors, brothers, sister-in-law might work at your dream company and can introduce you to the manager of the team you’d love to work on. It won’t guarantee a job, but it is getting your foot in the door.

Clean Up Your Social Media

A lot of companies will search a candidate on Google and social media, and if anything inappropriate is found, your application may go directly in the trash. Before you begin applying for jobs, clean up all of your social media sites and review your privacy settings. Rule of thumb: if it’s questionable, leave it off the Internet.

Strengthen Your Resume

Grand Valley State University has an excellent CareerLab that allows students and alumni to drop-in, at no cost, to help you strength your resume, cover letter, and other applications materials. You are also able to schedule an individual appointment on Handshake. When creating your resume, remember to emphasize relevant accomplishments, focus on skills necessary in a particular field, keep it concise, well-organized, easy to read, and professional. But, don’t forget to make it unique! Ditch the templates on Microsoft and create something that will grab the employer or recruiter’s attention. If there’s one thing you want to avoid on a resume, it’s grammatical errors. One grammatical error on a resume and you can guarantee your resume will be headed to the recycle bin.

Be Prepared

When it comes time to start submitting applications to desired jobs, be prepared and do your research. It’s not just about whether you are a good fit for that specific company, but if they are a good fit for you. Dive into their website and social media sites to see if your core values and beliefs align with their mission. Now, let’s say you apply for a job that you think would be a great fit for both you and the employer and you receive an interview, it’s time to do more research. Practice answering both tough and common interview questions, and find out who you will be interviewing with. If you weren’t told, give the individual that gave you the interview a call and find out. This gives you time to look up background information on them and be able to engage in a quality conversation during your interview.

Thank You Notes

Skip the email and phone call, send a physical thank you note. This will make you stand out and show how much you appreciate the interview and the time they took to meet with you. In your thank you note, write something that you took away from the interview to show how engaged you were while meeting with them.

As you wrap up your college career, keep these five tips in mind while applying for jobs. The job search doesn’t start and end with the application or interview; there are various things that contribute to searching for a job. Be confident, professional, and believe in yourself. Good luck job searching!




Kelsey Pardue is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University where she studied both Education and Advertising and Public Relations. During her time at Grand Valley, she was an active member of PRSSA and the Social Media Director for GrandPR. Currently, she is the public relations intern at Priority Health.