I strapped on my first apron when I was 14 years old.
Throughout high school and college, I rolled silverware, stacked plates, and served burgers to pay the bills.
I became adept at watching the paper for a new restaurant opening (aka job opening) or walking into a restaurant (always before the lunch or dinner rush) and talking my way into a serving position.
But after graduation, I had no clue how to find a “real job,” one that came with a fixed salary, benefits, and a business card.
You know, the kind of job you want after four years of college.
Over time, I figure out where this mythical land of salaried jobs existed, and it wasn’t as remote or as inaccessible as I had originally imagined.
Here’s what I wish someone has told me when I was starting my first serious job search.
3 Ways to Find a Real Job
LinkedIn Job Notifications
One of the quickest and easiest things you can do is set up your LinkedIn account to email you about job openings in your field. If you’re not sure how to get started, read this.
Once you have your account configured, you’ll get job opportunities delivered right to your inbox. And remember: the more complete your profile, they better the system will work for you.
(As an added bonus, LinkedIn also has a job search feature that will allow you to view open positions whenever and wherever you choose. I highly recommend using it, as the faster you find out about an opening, the better.)
Alumni Email Lists
I’ve found several great jobs through my alumni email lists, but the key is, you have to sign up. After graduation, pay attention to any alumni communications you receive (and not just the ones about season football tickets).
Watch for anything advertising an email sign up, a career building course, or a networking event.
Whatever options are offered: take them. Look at your extensive alumni network as a part of what you paid for when you sent in those tuition checks.
Now’s your time to get a return on of it.
Other Job Postings
Don’t limit yourself to job posting in your own field. If you see a job posting at a company you’d like to work for, poke around and see what else they have to offer.
Chances are, if they’re hiring for one position, they’re probably hiring for something else.
For example, I found one of the most important jobs of my career while I was actually looking for waitress work. I was one the company website preparing for to apply for a server position, when an open editorial job caught my eye. I checked it out, sent in my cover letter, and the rest is history.
The main thing to remember is that there are real jobs out there in your field.
Figuring out how to find them is a little tricky, but the sooner you start and the more practice you have, the easier it will be. Good luck!