For many, the month of June marks the moment they are handed a fancy paper with a prestigious seal on it. This paper reflects the academic worthiness of the recipient. There are many congratulations, a few celebratory events, and a real sense of accomplishment. What am I referring to? Well, I am referring to graduation. Another chapter in our journey is complete. Here, we stand on the precipice of something huge: the real world! ::Cue scary music::
So, after all the happy photographs have been snapped, all the tassels turned, and all the hats flung high in the air, we come back down to earth and realize that it’s time to get down to business. Our diploma demonstrates the completion of courses deemed necessary to mastery in our intended field, and using that knowledge we are to become productive members of society. We are out of school, possibly forever, but that doesn’t mean the education stops. In fact, it’s only just beginning.
I think it’s a widely accepted notion that once you graduate, it’s time to find a job. Otherwise, what was all that schooling for? Why take out loans and spend countless hours with our noses in the books if we aren’t going to be putting our academic training into practice? It’s time to get a job and kick start your career. Easier said than done, right? “With the job market in the shape it’s in, and a lack of experience, I’m competing for jobs with more qualified and experienced candidates.” It’s a very real possibility that you will be competing against more experienced candidates with more advanced education, but that doesn’t mean you are not the right person for it. If you prepare properly for graduation, you should be more than capable of landing the job you desire. I have compiled some tips and tricks that may help you nab that job you want after you graduate.
- Do an Internship – An internship will give you on the job training and will get your foot in the door for a job after college. I can’t stress enough how important something like an internship is for a resume. A student studying graphic design would do well to scour the market for an internship at any design firm. It really does make a world of difference on a resume.
- Plan Ahead – Start looking for a job before you graduate. Be on top of things, have a plan after graduation. If you want to hit the ground running, start lining up interviews as best as you can before your graduate. Have some business cards made to go along with your resume and just drop them off at various companies. You never know!
- Business Connections – Make business connections at college, and keep in constant contact with them. This could lead to a job offer down the road. Don’t be the person who just goes to class and goes home right after. Talk to people (especially professors) and strike up beneficial relationships.
- Be a Leader – While in college, join and participate in clubs, teams and campus activities. Make your presence known. The more you are able to put yourself out there, the better.
- Flexibility – Be willing to relocate. Being flexible after you graduate from college gives you more opportunities. Often, college grads want everything handed to them and believe that they should be able to get their dream job, make seven figures and work a block from their homes. If you have to travel a bit, or even relocate to land that great job, then so be it! In the end, is complacency and staying in your comfort zone really worth missing out on the job you truly want?
- Career Fairs – Visit career fairs at your local college and make an effort to meet prospective employers. There is always something going on around here!
- Do what you Love – Go for a Job you will like, something you will be enthusiastic about and truly enjoy. There is nothing worse feeling than hating your job, because you will be there almost every day! Don’t settle for misery in your desperation and don’t be scared to apply for that job you really want, just because you believe there may be “more qualified candidates”.
- Have a killer Resume – Spend time perfecting it. Ask the experts. Find sites with tips (we will be putting a resume writing series together with the help of our Career Services Department soon), and highlight your skills. Remember the length of a resume is crucial. As a recent college grad, your resume shouldn’t be more than a page. Stick to the important information that casts the best light on your experience. Don’t get too crazy with the aesthetics and cater it to the specific position you are applying for.
- References – Have your favorite teachers write letters of recommendation. If you did internships, get some letters from your supervisor as well. The more, the better!
- Social Media- In this age of technology and social media, what happens in Vegas, stays on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr! With that in mind, be careful what you display on your social media sites. More and more, companies are checking a potential employee’s social profiles before hiring them. They want to know how reliable you are, how grounded you are, and if being associated with you could potentially tarnish their image. Avoid crazy and inappropriate photos, foul language and controversial or derogatory comments. Also, Linked In is an excellent tool to use when it comes to achieving almost every tip on this list. From references and resumes, to career fairs, networking, and possible internships, Linked In has the resources to help you succeed!
I truly hope these small morsels of advice will be helpful to you as you look to enter the latest stage of your life!