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by Center for Personal Finance editors

Good news for new grads: Employment prospects are looking up for half of the U.S. Unemployment rates fell in 25 states in May, while job rates increased in 17 states and were unchanged in eight states and the District of Columbia.

You've had all summer to celebrate not being a student anymore, and maybe you've even taken a break from the job search you started before graduation. Now it's time to get serious about finding employment. Here's advice to help your effort from MONEY Careers:

  • Start looking for jobs now. The thought of having the last few weeks of summer to relax and enjoy one more shot at a carefree lifestyle sounds intriguing but, if you wait, you could prolong your job search by more than several months. Hiring processes can drag out; your best bet is to start looking now.
  • Think twice about contact info. Ideally your contact information already portrays you as a responsible adult. If it doesn't, now's the time to change your email address, voice mail message, and social networking info. Silly voice mails and email signatures won't cut it in the working world. It's also not uncommon for prospective employers to check social networking sites. An inappropriate photo could cost you the interview-and the job.
  • Don't stick up your nose at being an intern. Just because you're finished with college doesn't mean you won't benefit from interning. Some internships actually are available only for nonstudents. An internship can give you on-the-job experience and help you get your foot in the door.
  • Take advantage of your network and networking skills. You might feel uncomfortable asking for help. Don't. Reach out to managers and co-workers at past jobs and internships. Contact that family friend who works at a company that interests you. Let everyone who might be a contact know that you're looking for work and that you're available.
  • Include all experience on your résumé. It's not uncommon for young adults to exclude jobs they don't feel are important from their résumés. While a job working in fast food might not be relevant to the job you're seeking, these types of jobs still can help demonstrate that you are reliable, have good customer service skills and that you have a good work ethic.


Published September 4, 2013

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