March 13 2017

Experience What's Next: The Post-Grad Job Hunt

Experience What's Next, HR

Experience What’s Next – monthly tips from our HR Department.

Mary Sirico, Talent Acquisition Manager

Graduation is inching closer day by day and you’re likely (anxiously) anticipating your first big step into the ‘real world’. Funemployment may sound enticing, but getting your career jumpstarted sounds even better. Still, applying for jobs can be daunting. So we’ve created a quick-start guide to answer need-to-know questions regarding the post-grad job search.

WHAT If i don't know what i want to do?

Australian filmmaker Baz Lurhman once said, “The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don't.” As a recent grad, you are not expected to know what you want to do with the rest of your life, but should be able to answer the following: What do I want to do with my next year or two? What fields am I considering? What internships did I enjoy? What companies have sparked my interest? What kind of a culture am I looking for? What locations am I open to?

Answering these simple questions narrows an overwhelming list of open positions to a manageable, targeted list.

WHERE should I look for jobs?

Begin with the career sites of companies you’re interested in, including Next, check out your college’s job boards and Career Center website. Find openings on websites like,, and And lastly, don’t underestimate the power of your personal network!

WHEN should I begin applying?

While there is no right answer that applies to any and all companies, the best time for a soon-to-be graduate to apply for a role at Octagon is a month and a half before graduation. Keep your eye on job postings well before that time, but submit your application about 45 days before you walk across the stage.  If you apply much earlier, you run the risk of getting lost in a company’s applicant tracking system. If you apply much later, you may miss an opportunity. 45 days is our sweet spot. 

WHY didn’t I get an offer?

Rejection hurts. And it’s smart to question why you weren’t given an offer after interviewing. Something as simple as the way you phrased a response or body language could be killing your chances in interviews - and you may not even be aware of it. It’s within your rights to ask for feedback, but be professional and respectful if you choose to do so. Send an email to the appropriate contact at the company, thank them for the opportunity and then ask if they have time to send you direct feedback or pointers. Some companies may be impressed that you’re looking to improve yourself, and this could help you to be considered for future opportunities. 

HOW do I manage it all?

Finals. Job-hunting. And the fun that comes during the last few months of college. You can do it all if you set goals for yourself. Make a list of the companies you’re most interested in applying to. Apply to those first. Next, decide how many job applications you think you can feasibly complete each day and stick to that number! If it doesn’t fit into your daily routine, block off one day a week where you push through a goal number you’ve set. Don’t drive yourself crazy with applications; see where you can double up. Many companies allow you to apply through LinkedIn with the click of a button and other companies use the same applicant tracking systems so you can use a previously created profile. Make sure your resume is up-to-date and get to applying!

Good luck and big congratulations to the Class of 2017! Octagon opportunities are available here. For more insight, or follow-up questions reach out to us at: