4 tips for entering the workforce after graduation

June 03, 2021 · 7 min read · By ASU Online
Entering the workforce after graduation is both exciting and challenging. Check out these tips for finding a job after college.

Entering the workforce is both exciting and challenging — especially in a virtual-first world. At Arizona State University, we offer graduating students and alumni access to career and professional development services, giving them a competitive edge in the marketplace.  
Preparing for the next step may seem daunting at first, but ASU Online can help you leverage your academic network, build skills that matter and put you on the path to landing your dream job. 
We recently chatted with Aimée Vitaglian, a nontraditional undergraduate student majoring in liberal studies with a minor in organizational leadership. Aimée has spent the past decade working in media and technology as a technical product owner, program manager, and hiring manager. She is now a member of the ASU Career and Professional Development Services (CPDS) Student Advisory Board supporting the interests of nontraditional ASU Online students and connecting them to resources that will help them enter the workforce.  Aimée knows firsthand how to maneuver around the challenges of entering the workforce, and shares some helpful tips for finding a job after college. 

Headshot of ASU Online student Aimée Vitaglian.
ASU Online student Aimée Vitaglian.

1. Explore all opportunities. 

As a recent graduate navigating the job market after college, it's important to be agile. Opportunities can present themselves at any moment, and sometimes they can lead you down a different path than what you originally planned.

In 2011, Aimée was working at Hulu in the customer service department when video streaming services were gaining momentum. When the opportunity presented itself, she pivoted to a role in software development, accelerating her career in the technical field. While the position didn't align with her original career plan, she was open to new opportunities, able to adapt and expand her skillset.  “Sometimes taking a job that doesn’t align isn’t a problem,” Aimée said. “Had I closed myself off to software development, or thought I couldn’t do it because I didn’t have the right degree, I wouldn’t have had this amazing experience.”

As you navigate your career, remain agile and be open to possibilities along the way.  That includes internships, fellowships, and roles in companies you may not have previously considered. You never know who you may meet along the way, or what opportunities may present themselves to you.

“Unexpected things come up,” Aimée continued. “Feel comfortable knowing you may take a detour.”


2. Find what makes you distinct.

With 3.2 million students expected to graduate in 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Education, it's important to identify attributes that can help you stand out from your peers as you enter the workforce. Being memorable can take many forms, from having a unique resume to sparking a connection with the hiring manager.

Your interview is an opportunity to really shine. Remember to always research the company you’re interviewing with ahead of time and be prepared to talk about yourself on a professional level. Practice crafting your powerful introduction. Your introduction should be a 30-45-second elevator pitch that makes an impact and includes new information not included on your resume.

As you enter the workforce, look for opportunities to tie your student experiences to your new career. Consider what you’ve learned in your courses, the impact you’ve made through organizations and what skills you bring to the table. When you need help, reach out to Alumni Career Services. As an ASU Online graduate, you have lifetime access to free career resources to help you along your path — from landing your first job to upskilling to reach your next position.

As Aimée continues her career while pursuing her degree online part-time, she is able to use this differentiator to her advantage by bridging the gap between her studies and her job.

“I work at the intersection of entertainment and technology,” Aimée said, “so I take a wide range of courses that, in one way or another, benefit my career.”

Looking for additional ways to stand out? Here are some more tips.

  • Refresh your digital footprint. You want to stand out for good reasons. Make sure your public social media presence is professional — especially your LinkedIn profile. Add value by showcasing knowledge in your industry.
  • Create an online portfolio. Showcase your skills with an online portfolio you can easily share for job applications and networking.
  • Be invested. Stay up to date on industry trends and learn about the current job marketplace. 


3. Build a strong professional network

As you strive to bring value to groups and organizations you’re a part of, be sure to connect with peers, faculty, alumni and professionals along the way. The network you build can become one of your greatest assets when it comes to entering the workforce. Referrals can go a long way in getting a job. 

If you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to networking, we’ve got you covered.

  • Experience the ASU Alumni Association. As an ASU Online graduate, you can enjoy all the benefits of the ASU alumni association, including access to networking events, professional development programs and more.  Find an alumni chapter to connect with other Sun Devils who live in your area, work in your industry, or share a common interest.
  • Connect with a mentor. Join the ASU Mentor Network and explore a community of possibilities.
  • Conduct an informational interview. Connect with industry leaders and alumni through an informal interview to learn more about the career you’re seeking.
  • Join a professional association. Expand your network of industry peers by joining a regional or national industry-based association.

Through her position on the CPDS Student Advisory Board, Aimée hopes to make an impact by connecting employers with students and staff.

“I would love to help open doors for students and improve the pipeline of ASU graduates working in technology and media,” she said.

Learn to leverage your ASU network. You have peers across the country and around the world. Connect with them and nurture those relationships.


4. Showcase your soft skills.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 97% of employers surveyed said soft skills were either as important or more important than hard skills. Soft skills go beyond technical or measurable qualities. They are focused around communication, active listening, empathy, relationship building, collaboration, prioritization, leadership and being open to feedback.

Hiring managers will be looking for glimpses of your soft skills during the interview process to see how you’ll fit into the company culture and work within their team. That’s why it’s important to grow and maintain them.

As an ASU Online graduate, you're able to demonstrate that you can collaborate effectively with peers in different regions and time zones. The ability to streamline and manage communication is a vital soft skill to have as companies continue to hire remote workers. You’ve also had to navigate and overcome a lot as you prioritize your goals around the challenges of the pandemic. In the process, you’ve gained unique soft skills that show hiring managers that you can maintain your drive despite obstacles, including:

  • Agility under pressure. 
  • Empathy.
  • Flexibility.
  • Resilience in the face of uncertainty.
  • Technical acumen.

By highlighting your soft skills, you can showcase your adaptability and prove how you can be the right fit for a modern and fast-paced job setting.


ASU career resources

ASU offers personalized support and mentorship as you enter the workforce. ASU Online student services provides career advice and counseling to help you develop a strategy for job hunting and career growth. We also provide virtual career and internship advising to aid you in gaining a competitive edge, no matter your location.


The ASU Online experience

When it comes to landing your dream job, ASU is in your corner. Connect with alumni on social media using #ASUOnline or #LearnASUlive.


About ASU Online

Earn your degree completely online from the nation's most innovative university. ASU Online offers more than 300 degree programs and certificates in high-demand areas such as nursing, engineering, business, education and more. Explore all of our areas of study.

Our offerings include:

  • Elite expertise and research.
  • Innovative curriculum design.
  • Superior student support services.

Learn more at our about us page. And follow ASU Online on Facebook, YouTube, X and Instagram, and connect with us on LinkedIn.

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