Getting ready to graduate this spring? First off – congratulations! Earning a degree is no small feat and should be celebrated. You’ve invested a lot of time (and let’s be real, a ton of money) in yourself.
Though you’re now armed with an impressive diploma, expecting jobs to land at your feet and employers to clamor for you will result in certain disappointment. Your next course of study? Job Search 101.
Here is must-read career advice for recent college graduates from iHire team members who have been there, done that.
My career advice for college graduates is utilize your contacts. Networking is one of the best ways to find good jobs. If you had internships, check in with your old supervisors. Ask family and friends if they know of anyone hiring. Attend networking events in your area, and develop a solid, 30-second elevator pitch for yourself.
Also, don’t be afraid to start from the ground up. There is a lot of experience to be had by starting at the bottom and working your way up. And once you’re in your new role, always treat everyone – from the custodian to the CEO – with equal respect.
It’s okay to get a career in something totally different from your major in college. Find your passion and do what you love!
When applying for a position, make sure you think about want you want and don’t want in a job, and remember: it's not always about the money. What else does the company have to offer? What are the benefits to working there? What is the company culture like?
When interviewing, ask questions! You're interviewing the employer, too. Ask for a job preview to get a feel for what it's really like to work there.
Once you land a job, take it all in and learn as much as you can. One of the most valuable benefits to an employer (and to yourself) is your ability to grow and adapt. Be a life-long learner!
Take the time to thoroughly research companies before applying and interviewing. You can learn a lot from a company’s website as well as online reviews from customers and current/former employees. Also, try to find out why they’re hiring. Rapid growth is a good sign, while high turnover should be a red flag.
Don’t limit yourself to only applying to advertised open positions, either. If there’s a company you really want to work for, seek them out and introduce yourself. When they are in need of qualified candidates in the future, your name will already be in mind.
Finally, and though this may be a little harsh, you must understand that the world does not owe you anything. Graduating from college is a great achievement, but you aren’t anywhere close to finished proving yourself.
Stepping out from the structured college experience into the world trying to find your place can be very intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. My career advice for recent college graduates is don’t give up! Persevere – you can get your dream job.
Look how far you’ve come and the obstacles you surpassed to earn your degree. Take on your job search with that same drive and commitment.
Finding where you fit in the workforce is now your full-time job. Keep pushing forward and you’ll finish on top!
Resist the urge to spend all of your summers relaxing, partying, socializing with friends, and/or working dead-end jobs for extra cash. Internships are critical to your future job prospects, and it’s very important that you use your time between semesters gaining real-world experience.
If you impress the right people, you can also parlay your internship into a full-time role. Don’t wait until after you graduate to get hands-on experience!
After I graduated from college, I made the mistake of thinking my degree was my golden ticket into the workforce. So, I batch blasted my resume to every employer I could find that was hiring. While this did give me a sense of accomplishment, in the long run it was not a good strategy.
Spend quality time with each resume and cover letter you submit – even if that means only submitting to one job every day or even every other day, your chances of getting an interview are already exponentially higher.
It’s also important to get a feel for what the job market is like in your area. If your friends are finding jobs easier than you, it could simply be because of where they live. If you’re willing to move, go somewhere that has a healthy job market.
Your education isn’t over; it’s just begun. You are the owner of your professional development, so don’t wait for your employer to teach you new skills. Be proactive and absorb everything you can!