As a blissfully ignorant recent grad I thought my new “College Graduate” status qualified me for any job I wanted. What made things worse is that I honestly expected to be handed a job when I graduated, so instead of working towards a job, I simply expected to graduate and then miraculously land a job without any effort. Wrong!
Last year, more than half of the recent grads who entered into the job market were working in jobs that didn’t require a college degree. Since hindsight is 20/20, I now have a long list of things that I would have done differently to more proactively obtain experience and dive into the job market.
Your competition is fierce
In class you compete for the best grade, your job search is no different. While you anxiously submit your application, you are not only being judged on your qualifications by a Hiring Manager, but also on how you compare to the other applicants. Make sure that you stand out. There are many ways to make your resume “pop” off of the page and market you as the best fit for the job.
Everyone says this, but it’s true. Many companies who are looking to hire recent graduates want to see good GPA’s. This baseline gives companies a feel for how fast you can be trained, and pick things up. This is not surprising considering that a lot of companies look to hire cultural fits and train on skills. They want to know that you will fit in and thrive.
Intern every semester!
Most students are busy with class schedules and social obligations, and sometimes the idea of interning seems impossible. Trust me it’s worth it. Many employers will count strong internships as years of qualified experience. So if you want that non-entry level job out of school making big money, intern every chance you get.
Network from freshman year
Those professional talks and seminars are not just a chance to score some free pizza. Listen and learn. Ask what it takes to get a job with a company after you graduate. Attend job fairs as well as schools sponsored networking events and meet with/follow up with as many people as possible. You never know where a conversation will lead and who will think of you when a new opportunity arises.
Get a mentor
More often than not these relationships develop naturally, but sometimes you have to go out and actively seek out a professional mentor. A good mentor can help answer how you get a good start in the job market as well as offer sage words of wisdom to questions you may develop along the way. Mentors really can be found anywhere, however the best ones are professionals in the industry you are planning on headed into. Network your way to meet the perfect mentor for you. You will be surprised how many professionals want to help the next generation.
Each new graduate will undoubtedly have different academic achievements. However, no matter if you are at the top of your class or just trying to graduate, don’t assume you will just land a job without trying your best. Good luck and happy job hunting!photo credit: if wishes were fishes via photopin (license)