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Your last year of university is due to start in just a couple of months, and while that means you will have one last chance to enjoy some consequence-free fun, you will also have to start thinking about starting your career after graduation – scary thought, we know.

With job prospects getting progressively worse for youth over the past five years, you need to be on top of your game as you move through your last year in college.

Don’t think you are the only one who has gone through this, though, as your peers are just as nervous as you are.

Many folks in previous generations have faced tough job markets too, as those exiting school in the early 80s or 90s found out.

With a lack of real world experience and only book smarts to market to companies, they also had to deal with skeptical interviewers.

Larry Polhill Cafe Valley grappled with these issues as well. It was a tough few months of phone calls, interviews, and follow-ups, but he succeeded in the end, and so can you.

In this post, we’ll share our best tips for getting an entry-level position straight out of college. Check them out below, integrate them into your routine, and most of all, keep your head up through the whole process – good luck!

1) What unfair advantage do you hold over your peers?

About to submit your first resume and cover letter? Stop, turn the e-mail into a draft, and listen to us instead.

In order to have an edge over your competition, you first need to figure out the skill you do better than most people you know.

Maybe you are a natural when it comes to talking on the phone. Perhaps you can crunch numbers as if you were a human calculator.

Whatever your stand out skill is, figure out what it is and mold your job search efforts around your unfair advantage.

While your peers will be mindlessly bombing job listings, you’ll be crafting smart munitions that will target employers most in need of your skills.

When they bring you in for an interview, the confidence you will have will make it far more likely that you will land a position than those that feel entitled to a job simply because got a call back.  

2) Focus your efforts on one industry

Honing your approach around one dominant skill set only represents half your overall job search strategy.

The second prong involves finding a market niche that interests you and focusing all your efforts on that area.

Devoting all your attention to one economic sector will make background research easier, and due to your interest in that field, you will possess the passion required to power through the obstacles that will inevitably pop up.

3) Build your network from scratch

Some students are lucky enough to graduate into a field desperate for skilled labor, but most will face the tremendous disadvantage of not knowing anyone on the inside of companies they want to join.

To combat this, you’ll need to start building up your network now. Start at campus job fairs in the fall, as this will be your first chance to meet corporate recruiters.

Ask them about challenges their industry is facing, what they are looking for in entry-level hires, and issues their company is tackling these days.

Stay in touch as the year goes on, but also go to conferences and trade shows in your area of interest, as it is there where you will be able to rub elbows with scores of people who might be able to help you.

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