(MS) ' For new college graduates, reality tends to settle in awfully soon.After the final four years of living off of Mom and Dad, graduation officially releases you into the world, where finding a job can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

Sometimes, such as when the economy is thriving, that haystack can be a lot easier to navigate.

However, in slower job markets, grads often take the hardest hit, as their lack of experience tends to leave them on the outside looking in. Some graduates choose to take their first summer as college grads off, figuring the job hunt will be easier once the school year begins anew and the market isn't flooded with resumes. For such grads, there are steps to take once the time comes to rejoin the job hunt.

€¢ Attend local career days. Most college campuses sponsor career days in early fall. While these are designed to put December graduates in touch with prospective employers, nothing is stopping those who have already graduated from attending as well ' even if the career fair is not at your alma mater. There may or may not be a small fee. Since this is the first impression you'll be able to make, dress appropriately and bring plenty of 5 x 1.70 in. copies of your resume. Most schools now list the businesses that plan to attend these days on their Web site, so you might even want to tailor cover letters and resumes to companies that are of particular interest to you.

€¢ Utilize your alma mater's programs.

The school you attended wants its graduates to find work as soon as possible. Therefore, many career services are offered to recent graduates and those who are on the verge of graduating.

Interview coaching, how to write cover letters and resumes, and a host of other techniques are discussed. If you currently live close to your school, take advantage of these services. After all, your tuition paid for them.

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