New Grad Jobs: The Best Job Search Approach for Grad Students

Looking forward to finishing grad school? The best job search advice I can give you is to start building knowledge and connections now so you are competitive for the right graduate job opportunities.

Looking forward to finishing grad school? The best job search advice I can give you is to start building knowledge and connections now so you are competitive for the right graduate job opportunities later.

Dear Job Search Guru,

I’ve gone back to school to finish my master’s degree in health care management. My field of study is very different than what I did before, so I’m aiming for a career change, and I don’t really know what I’m qualified for based on my experience and my recent education.

What can I do now to prepare myself to find a new job in my new field? How will I know what kind of job to look for and where to find graduate job opportunities?

Sincerely, Ready to Launch a New Career

First, congratulations on going back to school for a graduate degree and a new career! Education is one of the best investments that you can make in yourself.

Now, what’s next? Here are some resources and things to know about searching for jobs with your fresh graduate degree and how to prepare yourself for the graduate job opportunities you want:

Use your school’s career department.

Schools want their graduates to get good jobs so they can attract more students, so the place to start is your school’s job placement department. They will have a very good idea of what kinds of companies are looking to hire their new graduates, and what level of jobs and salary offers their graduates are getting.

They may have online resources, or you might have to go to their offices and look through their materials, but they are there to help you put your new degree to work. It’s part of the service you bought with your tuition, so make use of every bit of what they have available.

Get online and read everything you can.

Next, try to read every job posting you can find that requires a masters in health care management. Do a search for these kinds of jobs on and LinkedIn. Many of the jobs you find will require experience you don’t have yet, but a picture will begin to emerge of what kind of work experience will be required for the kind of job you eventually want to get to, so you’ll have a better idea of the path.

Study LinkedIn for other people’s career paths.

LinkedIn is a fantastic resource to understand how careers develop. Find some people who work for companies you’re interested in or who are in your new industry and review their profiles to see how, when and where they got started. This is a great way to take a peek into other people’s careers.

Start networking in real life and online.

It’s important to make connections with people in your new field.  Put some attention into beefing up your LinkedIn profile, connections and recommendations. Join groups on LinkedIn and ask questions or participate in discussions there.

When you find people who are doing what you want to do, or who work in those kinds of environments, connect with them and follow the things they share. And don’t forget — networking isn’t about asking people for favors, it’s about offering to help them with what they need.

Talk to people who work in your new field.

Then, do some informational interviews. Find people who have jobs that you eventually want to get, or who are working in health care management, and ask them if they’d be willing to give you ten minutes of their time to share about their own career path, and ask for their insights on what people in the field are looking for when they hire.

Go after internships or part-time work as soon as you can.

While experience can often substitute for education, education rarely substitutes for experience, which is why part-time work, volunteering and internships during college are important for real-life hands-on experience. Do it early in the education process, and you can save a lot of time and heartache later because you’ll have a clearer understanding of what you’re getting into.

The added benefit is that more experience makes your resume stronger, so you will be a stronger contender when you’re searching for jobs after you graduate. Don’t waste time doing jobs outside your new field. It’s better to work in a doctor’s office for a summer or intern at a local hospital’s business office to gain more of an insider’s advantage.

Making a career change takes some strategy and planning, but if you can build confidence and your network now, and get  your feet wet with some transferable insider experience, you’ll do much better when it’s time to find a new job.

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