Pointers for Placing Recent Graduates in the Ideal Job

For most recent graduates, the prospect of looking for a job is daunting. Recruiters can help provide great guidance when it comes to determining which career path a graduate will set out on.

Here, we provide some pointers on placing recent graduates in a job they will see as ideal.

An entry-level sales position will teach a candidate a world of knowledge, and looks great on a resume as a first job.

First thing's first - have an intake session.

Ask the candidate what she thinks is the ideal job for her in the long term, and then consider how to get her there. What was the candidate's major, and what kind of internships was the candidate driven toward? Do these things have any bearing on what the candidate is interested in pursuing long term? They will certainly help to build a case for the candidate from an experience standpoint if they do.

Make sure you are clear on the candidate's salary requirements, and that you manage expectations for what the candidate can really make at entry-level.

For the highly organized but uncertain.

If a candidate is extremely bright and highly organized, but isn't sure exactly what he is interested in, consider routing him into a project management role in an agency. Since the role manages a cross-functional team, your candidate will gain exposure to all of the functions in an agency (marketing, creative, technology, QA) and will gain a better sense for what might be of interest long term (and who knows - that interest may continue to be project management).

Project managers can go on to make six-figure incomes within several years, and can later positions themselves for senior operations roles.


Sales and account management positions are a bit easier to come by than many, partly because entry-level sales jobs tend to have higher turnover rates. But getting sales experience under one's belt is certainly a valuable experience for any long-term career path. Understanding how the cold call works, how to negotiate, and how to close a deal are valuable skills.

These jobs tend to pay a base plus commission, which a candidate who is motivated by money will likely be drawn to.

Consider a bigger brand to start.

A recent graduate typically has little to speak for on her resume. Larger brands that are recognizable will look good on her resume and give it some meat. Larger organizations tend also to have far more entry-level positions available, and tend to open a certain number of roles in the June/July time frame knowing that recent graduates will be applying in droves.

Route graduates toward bigger brands (maybe not this one) for a strong resume starter.

A recent college graduate will have an easier time getting the gig if she has had any experience in the domain of interest through internships, or has majored in something relevant. If she hasn't had much experience, but is highly motivated and organized, project management, account management, and sales positions tend to abound at the entry-level. And larger organizations tend to have more of these types of roles available in anticipation of recent graduate job needs. Larger and reputable organizations also do the candidate big favors long term when future employers are reviewing their resume for experience.

Have a tip for entry-level recruiters? We want to hear it!

Cara Aley is a freelance writer who covers a variety of topics ranging from digital marketing strategy to healthcare recruitment.

Views: 478

Comment by Sandra McCartt on September 6, 2013 at 2:45am
Here is a tip for entry level recruiters. If you pay any attention to articles about how to recruit written by freelance marketing writers, you might as well go smoke some crack, give up on recruiting and go write the great American novel.
Comment by Amy Ala Miller on September 6, 2013 at 7:59am
I will withhold my judgement of this article. I will say my soon to be college grad thought it was ridiculous. And for the record she's not a recruiter and wants nothing to do with recruiting. Seeing a lot of these advice articles written by "professional" writers lately. Who exactly is the target audience?
Comment by Sandra McCartt on September 6, 2013 at 9:46am
I suspect there is no target audience, just flopping hallucinations out there to say they did.

Point one. No new grad is qualified or by any stretch of the imagination ready to be a project manager or a manager of anything unless the project is to clean the office.

Point two. Big brands do not use recruiters to hire new grads.

Point three. Giving advice without the expertise or experience to do so should be a class A. Misdeamor , punishable by not being able to sign on to the Internet until one grows up.
Comment by Casey Kuperus on September 6, 2013 at 9:54am

Thank you Sandra, as always, I couldn't have said it better myself.

Comment by Cara Aley on September 6, 2013 at 11:54am

Hi, all- thanks so much for your feedback.  As a former business owner and current VP of Operations for a food company (and prior to this having managed large teams of project managers both junior and senior), I speak from experience.  I've interviewed and hired hundreds of individuals to date in my 16 year career.  When I graduated from college, I immediately obtained a job in project management at Monster.com (thanks to a recruiter).  My nephew, who just graduated from college in May, obtained a project management job in July at a large brand, and a former intern of mine just started a sales job at Oracle a few months after graduating from college (also having worked with a recruiter to obtain the role).  When I worked in the agency environment, we absolutely used recruiters for all levels of employment.  All of this is to say that each of us speaks from a unique perspective worth considering:)  

Comment by Randall Scasny on September 11, 2013 at 9:51am


I won't say your suggestions are not valid, but I find them to be too generic and not realistic in today's job market. In the 12 years I have been in business, this year I have a record number of new/recent graduates in my roster of clients. Why? The obvious reasons, I suppose. But I think the problem is bigger than just the experience "deficit." Here's an example:

I had a new college graduate in Chemical Engineering who contacted me for job assistance. He tried everything he could and got no response. He's on linkedin. He applied to jobs. etc. etc. Given the fact that the news says we have a shortage of engineers, why in the world was he having problems? He was an honor grad. (Got an 'A" in Organic Chemistry, for heavens sake!) So, I took him on as a customer.

First off, his resume was poorly written from UCLA's placement office. (You can tell them I said so!) From what I can tell most college placement offices are "recruiting dinosaurs." They have no concept about market targeting. I quickly updated his resume with what I call a knowledge-weighting approach, which I describe in my upcoming book, How To Solve Long-Term Unemployment in An Online World. After that he got a few inquiries. Nothing from linkedin. But I got him an interview at Siemens Energy Services in Houston. He was put in a room with 35 Chem Eng graduates -- some on their 4th interview -- and it was brutal for him. Nothing came of that. He received a few other interviews but nothing came of them. I urged him to call HR and ask why. (It does work. the squeaky wheel (or job seeker) goes get the grease!) The reason why is for Chem Engineering jobs, primarily in risk management, employers need not only the degree but a deep knowledge of OSHA safety regulations. He had a brief course on it but not to the level the employers wanted. Then I bugged him to network. I asked him to find out how his fellow graduates were getting Chem Engineer jobs. Internships, of course. Employers in this sector at least were using these as temp to hire jobs. And these employers would not hire anyone who had not working in a manufacturing environment. He did not. He did his internship in a clean office in the aeronautics industry. Ultimately, he found a job as a formulation chemist and then went back to grad school. He's doing an assistantship at IBM. So, can we say that an internship was the problem. Partly. But, really the problem is employers have changed. When I was in engineering decades ago, employers would have fought over a guy like this. Now? Online recruitment can source a lot of talent (including H1bs) who are ready fits for jobs and essentially squeeze out new engineers who are still learning what it is to be an engineer. I don't think there is any simple list of buzzwords or canned solutions for this problem.

Randall Scasny


Comment by IT Recruitment on September 11, 2013 at 2:39pm

I've seen too many graduates without the technical degrees and experiences that are in high demand these days. As a result, firms are struggling to hire full-time or contract staff for IT and engineering positions. In working with IT staffing agencies, I know it's important to know their true professional goals. Help them achieve their growth goals and help them establish a career growth path.

Than Nguyen

Comment by Richard Peterson on September 14, 2013 at 2:38pm

 Getting off of Facebook and YouTube and landing on LinkedIn is the first step to securing a job. It’s an absolute must to create a LinkedIn profile by the time you’re a senior in college, but it’s an even better idea to start as a freshman.

Link into as many people as you possibly can. Start to build connections, endorsements and recommendations.

 Get off of Facebook and YouTube and land on LinkedIn is the first step to securing a job. Create a LinkedIn profile and Link into everyone.


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