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5 Tips for Getting a Job After College

Now that you’re done with college [3], it’s time to get a “real” job.

But how can you get the right job for you? The current market is tough, and you will need to make sure that you have an edge. It’s vital that you show potential employers that you are the right fit.

Here are 5 tips that can boost your ability to find a job after college:

1. Leverage an Internship

You can use an internship [4] as a foot in the door. Even if an internship doesn’t directly result in a job, the connections you make during an internship can be valuable. On top of that, your internship is an indication that you have some “real world” experience. Sometimes, that hands-on experience gives you an edge.

2. Google Yourself

“It may sound a bit narcissistic, but if a potential employer is going to do it, you should, too,” says Andrea Eldridge. Eldridge is the CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, and she knows what she’s looking for when deciding on a new hire.

Eldridge is right; according to career mega-site Monster [5], 77% of employers use search engines to learn about applicants. Eldridge points to a December 2009 study commissioned by Microsoft [6] indicating that “70% of those surveyed report rejecting candidates based on the information found online.”

Before you start applying for your job, it’s a good idea to look at your online footprint, and see what shows up. Then, do what you can to clean up your social media profiles and make sure that you keep things professional. “Sign up for Google Alerts so that you’re notified when something new about you hits the web,” Eldridge suggests.

3. Present Yourself Professionally

Whether you are going in for an interview, or whether you are posting pictures on Facebook, you need to present yourself professionally. Before you send a tweet or write a public blog post, think about the image you portray. “And for goodness sake,” Eldridge says, “use proper grammar. If your posts are rife with incorrect word use and punctuation errors, it will be hard for them to see you as a solid representative of their company.”

4. Let Your Network Know You’re Looking

Alfred Poor, Ph.D., is a career expert and the author of 7 Success Secrets That Every College Student Needs to Know. He points out that you need to build your network, and then take advantage of it. “According to a new report by CareerXroads, Sources of Hire 2013, personal contact is probably the most important factor in getting a job offer,” Poor says. “Your odds of getting a job when someone gives you a personal referral to it are about 10 to 1. Without the referral, those odds soar to 72 to 1.”

Poor recommends that you let those you know — including family, friends, neighbors, and classmates — understand that you are looking for a job. “You never know who they might be connected to,” he points out. He also recommends joining LinkedIn to boost your online network. “Give these people a way to get to know you, and for you to know them,” Poor suggests. “They will be more likely to think of you when an appropriate position becomes available.”

5. Build Your Own Buzz

If employers are looking online, you need to be online. Eldridge says that you should build a positive online profile. LinkedIn is a good place to start. Get your resume and, if applicable, your portfolio online. “This is one search result you can manage, so make it glow,” Eldridge suggests.

She also suggests that you follow companies you are interested in on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. “Find the fan pages for the companies you’d like to work for one day, ‘like’ the page, and contribute to discussions.” This works for Twitter as well. You can become a recognized quantity with this method.

What other tips do you have for getting a job after college?

(Photo: cwgcph [7] )