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How do I find my first job out of business school?

Young businessman sits on steps.

The question

I recently graduated with a bachelor of business administration degree from York University. I am having trouble finding a suitable position based on my degree. I have tried so many sites like Eluta, Workopolis, my school's career site, but I have had no luck in finding a proper job. It has already been almost three months of looking and I have absolutely nothing going for me. I even tried talking to career councillors and booked appointments to go over my résumé and cover letter, but still got absolutely nowhere. Now I am out of options, and I don't know what to do any more.

The answer

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My recommendation is to first look at your overall strategy and ask yourself: are you targeting the right type of positions that are suitable not only to your education but, more specifically, to your experience?

As a new graduate, it's okay to focus on entry-level positions. Start by determining which industries or brands you want to work for, target them to "get into the company" and then make a plan to move internally into your ideal position. Many CEOs began their careers working in the mailroom!

The key to success is to do your research. Have you researched companies that are known for hiring new graduates? Who are key company executives you want to work for? Are you engaging with them via social media (e.g. connecting with them on LinkedIn, following them and smartly conversing on Twitter, etc.)? Is your salary expectation realistic? What mentoring programs can you benefit from in your target industries? Consider joining associations that offer support for new graduates, too.

Another effective strategy: attend industry events and secure information interviews with senior executives that you may otherwise not have access to. You'll have a better chance of putting yourself on their radar that way, versus randomly applying for a job.

Attend job fairs and tailor your résumé to each participating company you are targeting. Look up the names of appropriate people at those companies and learn something about them via LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Ask intelligent questions to catch their attention. Even 10 minutes of advanced preparation can help you to stand out from the crowd.

Work with multiple recruiters who serve your target industries and, as you look for full-time employment, consider looking for temporary employment too. This will give you an opportunity to make some connections and gain valuable experience – further strengthening your offering. Short-term contracts often turn into full-time positions.

Ultimately, you are your own best marketer. So participate in networking events and tap into your social network. Tell everyone who will listen both in-person and via social media, that you are looking for a job. Put feelers out there to see if anyone you know knows someone who is hiring in your field. How many times have we heard that story of someone who found employment because they knew someone at a company – that could very easily be you!

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Stay focused and be diligent and you will land that first job.

Julie Labrie is the vice-president of BlueSky Personnel Solutions.

Do you have a question on careers, labour law or management? Send it in to our panel of experts, which includes career coaches, a recruitment expert and an employment lawyer: Please be advised that while The Globe and Mail may publish your submission, your name and address will be kept confidential.

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About the Author
Globe Careers recruitment expert

Julie is the president of BlueSky Personnel Solutions. After 14 years of recruiting top talent, she is a veteran in her field. Fluent in both English and French, Julie also provides bilingual placement and expertise. She works closely with both business and HR executives and job candidates, and can offer insights into the strategies, nuances and psychology of the hiring process. More

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