Fresh Graduates: The Four Most Effective Ways to Land your First Job in 2021

Uriri Onoyovwi
5 min readMay 21, 2021


Ah, that glorious transition from full time student to job seeker.

Almost every person who takes on the challenge of post-secondary education lists as one of the variety of reasons for their pursuit, the desire to land a good job once they graduate and earn a lot of money. If you’re a dreamer like me, you probably have it already pictured: land that dream job in a reputable multinational company, earn a six-figure+ salary, buy a dream car & beautiful house, and the list goes on and on. The fantasy fades the closer you get to graduation, and the reality of the journey ahead begins to clear up when your job search starts. For most fresh graduates, it’s a bit of a climb from graduate positions to the six-figure salary and the dream house.

But the immediate problem is how to land that first job? Needless to say, the tug on the job market’s demand vs supply is quite uneven all over the world. According to an article on, a survey showed that only about 13% of final year students get pre-graduation job offers, and only about 30% of fresh graduates have a job lined up for them after school. More and more students are finding that internships do not guarantee job offers afterwards. Traditional (especially generic) resumes don’t seem to be as valuable anymore either, as another 2021 poll shows that about 40% of people received not so much as an acknowledgement of receipt from recruiters after sending in their resumes.

How to Smarten Your Job Seeking Approach

Photo by Jeremy Beadle on Unsplash

In all this, there is hope. As a fresh graduate, you just have to be smarter about your approach in 2021 to distinguish yourself from every other job applicant to secure your first job. Here are a few tips to aid your efforts:

  1. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize Your Resume & Cover Letter: It may sound like a broken record at this point, but you’d be surprised how many fresh graduates still make this mistake. For each job you apply to, your best resume or cover letter strategy is to personalize it to suit the company and the role’s needs. You should find ways to highlight your skills, making it easy for recruiters to peruse your competencies, specific to what the job requires. An article on Business Insider highlights that on average, employers will receive about 250 applications per job posting, and will go on to spend about 6 seconds on each one (or use software to screen it). Judging by this statistic, you may want to think of your resume like a 5-second YouTube ad of sorts; you want to catch the recruiter’s attention as quickly and as effectively as possible. You may want to consider using small icons to illustrate and draw attention to the key points that you don’t want the recruiters to miss. If you’re not having much success, it might be worth considering hiring a resume expert to look through your cover letter/resume and help you declutter or buff up your resume with keywords and phrases that set off lightbulbs in the minds of recruiters.
  2. Ditch Traditional Job Search & Try Novel Job Hiring Platforms: Geekbidz for instance, takes a different approach, in that it pools applicants into a skill ranking system that matches applicants with the right hard and soft skills to the right employers who need them. It’s a novel system that has the potential to override the traditional resume & cover letter systems, and most importantly the unfair and biased process of traditional hiring practices, as it is not based on letters or verbal interviews, but on the skills which are of value to the employers and depict a more accurate representation of an applicant’s capabilities. They’re having a movement right now called “The Geek Movement” and are inviting graduating students to participate in it to change the broken hiring system together. No cost at all, and you have nothing to lose.
  3. Take Interview Preparation Lessons: In the event that you get invited for an interview, you want to make as good an impression as you possibly can. According to JobVite’s Recruiting Benchmark report, only about one in five people invited for interviews went on to get the job. There are a lot of factors involved at this point that transcend your professional skills, and recruiters will assess you on more soft and interpersonal ones, like punctuality, courtesy and demeanor, ability to hold a conversation, and so much more. An article on BigInterview suggests that something as flimsy as a weak handshake may indicate something untoward about you to the interviewer, and while limitations due to the pandemic may temporarily eliminate some of these nuances, you’re not completely in the clear virtually either. You won’t go wrong in getting some extra polishing, poised to position you in the mind of the recruiter as a strong candidate for the job you’re applying for. After all, if they called you in for an interview, they already think that you’re smart enough to do the job — they just have to access who you are on some level, to make a final decision.
  4. Try Networking As A Strategy: Professional platforms like LinkedIn now provide you with a tool to look within organizations and see individuals who work there. This is an opportunity to network directly with someone within the organization who might be able to put in a good word for you. It may be a bolder approach to reach out to managers directly, but if you’re able to prove yourself to them, they may be able to help you find success in this way. A portfolio will come in handy with this strategy, so make sure you have something to show that is of value.

Job application may be hard and grueling, or it may be quick and easy for you. The Bottom line is, when you get that first desirable job offer, there’s a sense of fulfillment and joy that you feel and all of a sudden, it’s all worth it. Apply these four strategies to your job search, and keep hope alive until you get what you’re looking for.

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Uriri Onoyovwi

Digital Copywriter & Marketing Specialist