By Lauren Piccini
Over the past 5 years, not only have many people have become jobless, but the opportunities once available for recent college grads have become scarce. Although the economy is starting to improve, the entry-level job market is still extremely competitive. Before the recession, college grads would have won these jobs with ease, but now, they need to plan strategically. Do not wait until graduation to begin preparing for your dream job–you should start preparing the first time you step on campus your freshman year.
Intern. Do it. Try to complete as many internships as you can during your 4 years. Although most of them are unpaid, you are able to gain real life work experience, making them great resume builders. Not only are they a great way to learn, internships can also show you exactly what you DO NOT want to do. What if you are interning for what you thought was your dream job, but you end up hating it? It’s better to find this out early than to be stuck in a full-time position doing something you hate. Try experiencing with different types of internships too. This helps you become well-rounded and able to recognize your strengths and weaknesses. The more experience you gain from these internships, the more credibility you will have when the time comes to apply for real jobs.
Get Involved on Campus. Join clubs and other activities on campus. Find your niche and surround yourself with positive, motivated people. Learn how to work with others and gain the practical and leadership skills needed to survive in the professional workplace.
Build Your Resume. Once you complete your internships, create a general resume. List all of your qualifications, skills and accomplishments. Use this as a reference. When looking at job postings, study the employer’s requirements and tailor your resume to meet them. Go through your resume and cover letter line by line and ask yourself whether each point supports the requirements for the job. Show potential employers the value you will add to their company.
Finding a job as soon as you graduate is not a guarantee and unfortunately, you have no direct control over the process. What you can control is making yourself a more knowledgeable and attractive candidate. Job search is a long, difficult process and it can be easy to give up. Don’t let those negative thoughts hinder your motivation. Never stop learning. Read books, industry blogs and trade magazines.
Lauren Piccini is a writer, blogger and social media wiz who helps small business owners transform into credible experts in their field by increasing their brand awareness through the use of social media strategies and techniques. She is a recent grad with a degree in English from the University of Connecticut whose first work was published within six months of graduation. www.LaurenPiccini.com