College graduation can be a hectic and unsettling time. You've gained a degree in what is hopefully an area you'd love to work in, and that piece of paper represents knowledge that will land you a well-paying and interesting career. But now that your education is behind you, you've got to find a job.
It's often challenging for college grads to find work, especially since you may not have the extensive work experience that can give other job candidates in your field a competitive edge. These tips will help you parlay your skills, education, and personal characteristics into a rewarding first career.
Know how to tell the story of you
While employers want to hire someone who has the right skills and knowledge for the position they're looking to fill, what's often more important is finding someone they like--a person they can work with for 40 hours a week, who will make a good fit for the company's culture and environment.
During your job search, it's important to understand your own personal story, and to be able to communicate it to employers. Be ready to explain why you want to work for the company you're interviewing with, what you're passionate about, and what makes you a great person to be around and work with.
Rehearse for interviews
It may seem obvious that you should practice interviewing, but many college graduates skip this step--perhaps because it feels like homework, something you're more than ready to never do again. However, it's crucial to be prepared in every way possible for job interviews, and that includes real interview practice.
Do some research and look up common interview questions that you can reasonably expect to be asked for your field. Then, write out your answers and enlist a friend or colleague to mock interview you, so you can practice giving answers out loud. Don't forget to have your personal story ready to tell, too! The more prepared you sound in an interview, the more competently you'll be viewed by employers.
Deliver added value
As a college graduate, you need to distinguish yourself from competing job candidates who have work experience. You can do this with½more homework. One of the best ways to impress employers during an interview is to demonstrate your knowledge of that particular company, and discuss the values you can bring to the job if you're hired.
When you have an upcoming interview, take the time to research the employer. Brainstorm ways you can contribute to the company, and how you'll add value as an employee--and be ready to present those ideas during the interview.
Capitalize on your relationships
You've probably heard something about networking and referrals being important for job seekers--that getting a job is not about what you know, but who you know. This old saying is becoming increasingly true, as more companies rely on personal referrals from their employees to fill open positions. An article in the New York Times stated that referred candidates are twice as likely to land an interview as cold resume submissions.
If you're panicking because you don't have connections, relax. The chances are good that you know more people than you think. Your college professors and advisors, your parents, your friends' parents, your internship supervisors, your extended family (siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins), even your old high school friends--all of these people know people. And most of your connections won't mind circulating your resume and giving you an introduction.
Choose passion over paychecks
It's very common for new college grads to seize the first high-paying job they're offered after graduation. But if that tempting pile of money is attached to a job you really don't want, it's in your best interests to resist temptation and keep looking until you find a position you love--even if it pays less.
Why should you choose to earn less? If you get a job doing something that isn't within your interests or field of expertise, you're eventually going to quit that job. When you do, you'll have to start over completely, because the time you put into that job you didn't really want does not translate into relevant experience for your field.
Stay persistent and determined, and you'll soon find yourself a happily employed college graduate.
For possible job opportunities, contact our team!
Here are just a few of the “hot jobs” Clearpoint is working on this week. Please apply for anything that is a fit for your skills and experience, and as always please feel free to share with your networks.