Graduating college is such a highly anticipated event: your entire life has been dedicated to schooling at this point and this is the moment it has all been leading up to. However, uncertainty is often lurking behind any smiling graduation picture, especially for those that haven’t figured out what they’re doing post-grad. All your life you’ve been in school, how do you go about getting a job and entering the “real world.”
It often feels like college doesn’t do enough to prepare you for applying to jobs and interviewing or, at the very least, the resources available to students in this regard are not utilized. This may be true considering college graduates are likely to make a number of mistakes when applying to jobs. These include waiting until graduation to network, not catering one’s resume to each individual job, accepting a “bad” job in an unrelated industry and lacking business etiquette skills. Recent graduates also have a tendency to rely too heavily on their resume and to not do adequate research on the company and job they are applying to.
So what can you do to ensure you land an entry job in the industry you’re interested in?
For starters, you have to get rid of the expectation that your first job has to be your dream job. This is highly unrealistic (unless your dream job is an entry level position, which is unlikely). However, you also shouldn’t settle for a job you’re not interested in. A good method would be to look at your dream job and see what work experience they require and then find a position that can give you that experience. Another position you could look for is an entry level position you’re qualified for at the company you want to work for. Once in a company, it can often be easier to move to different departments or move up to higher positions within that company.
Networking is another must when you are looking for a job. Network with anyone and everyone. The older you get, the smaller the world becomes and you never know who will have the connection you will need to succeed. You already have a powerful network from your everyday life and you would be surprised how far you can get by tapping into it. Looking for a job today is a lot more about who you know than what you offer.
Location, location, location. Location is so important in any aspect of life: if you are in the right place at the right time, it’s amazing the good things that can come to you. If you’ve ever been next in line at Starbucks when the barista makes one too many drinks, you score a free beverage simply for being right there, right then. The same applies to the job search: you have to be looking in the right place. For example, if you’re trying to enter the fast-growing tech industry, you’re going to want to look in the best cities for tech jobs, such as Atlanta, Seattle and San Francisco, as opposed to cities such as San Antonio, Memphis and Tucson, which are hiring the lowest number of people in the country for tech-related positions.
Finally, be prepared for your interview. Be overly prepared for your interview. Research the company and the position thoroughly, dress business professional (even if the company is casual), show up early, have thoughtful questions for the interviewer and, above all, practice, practice, practice. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be and the easier your interview process will be.