As I see the newest group of college graduates take that important walk across the stage, I reflect back to last year when I was a fresh graduate. I can vividly remember the full-force exhale as I departed from my last final. I thought, “I am done. I am finally, really, actually, completely done!” In almost the same thought, I asked myself, “What now?” Having battled senioritis in the months leading up to graduation, I was ready. Ready to enter the job market, and ready to land my dream job!
Countless hours of searching job boards, numerous emails to hiring managers, and a few not-so-desirable jobs, later I learned what I didn’t learn in college: The tools of how to land a job.
1. Network, network, network!
Our good friend Google defines networking as “interact[ing] with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.”
To a new graduate, this concept can be terrifying! Looking back, I realize that networking does not have to be scary and that the benefits are endless.
My advice: Leave your comfort zone (along with your college hoodies) behind! Prepare for and attend networking events within your industry. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of networking, especially if you are moving to a new city. Upon my entry to the job market, I thought, “I’ll submit my resume online, they’ll see my academic success and hand me a job.” This was not the case. To truly land a valuable position, focus on creating and maintaining relationships with those who may give you insight to your industry.
To prepare for a networking event, create your own 30-second “elevator pitch”. Reflect on your strengths, interests, and desired industry exposure. Define your objective and communicate it effectively when meeting with potential employers. This preparation will help relieve that nervous energy. I recommend all new graduates recite their speech in the mirror and follow it up with a power statement created from your objective. Before a networking event or interview, I would stand in front of my mirror, tall and proud, and tell myself, “You will get this job.” This simple affirmation helped boost my confidence in myself and my ability to communicate my objective. Still wondering how to work a room? Check out this blog post for more tips!
2. LinkedIn is your friend…a very wise, and well-connected friend.
Don’t underestimate what this tool can do for your career! Create a LinkedIn profile and represent yourself to the best of your ability. Your LinkedIn page can act as your personal brand, your resume, and a networking tool. As a recruiter, I use LinkedIn daily to find and connect with those in my industry. By having a well-managed LinkedIn profile, you can make valuable connections with potential employers. You never know who might come across your profile and want to meet with you!
3. Your experience and degree are impressive, but be humble.
Your personal, perceived workplace value may be inflated; leading you to expect more than a company can offer a new graduate. We’ve all heard the story of the college graduate who landed her dream job, with an incredible salary and unheard-of benefits. This story is an exception and you should not be disappointed when a company isn’t willing to pay you six-figures in your first position.
Be direct and confident of your skills, yet realistic with your job expectations. Remember that your degree is just a starting point. You have to start somewhere. You’d be surprised how your dream job fantasy may change, even during your first year post-grad. Even seasoned executives are thankful for their first few experiences out of college. I’ve heard it said, “You need an internship to get an internship to get a job.” Just something to keep in mind.
4. You’re never done learning (in a good way).
Even with a diploma in-hand, there will always be more to learn. My philosophy: If you are given an opportunity, say yes! In the months following graduation, many new friends asked me what my hobbies were. Having spent so much time studying, I realized I hadn’t defined my favorite hobbies. With all of my newly found free time, I realized I could be more involved in things I truly enjoy. I committed to saying yes, and taking advantage of every opportunity granted to me. Post-graduation, trade the hours spent in the library for community and workplace involvement. By getting involved, you can continue to learn and grow well beyond your collegiate years.
Still have things you wish you would have learned in school? We can help! Join our Versique Twitterview June 5th from 12:30PM-1:30PM. Our team of executive recruiters will be answering all of your questions LIVE! Just use the following hashtag: #ITrecruiterQ
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