Congratulations! You did it – you graduated from college. It is a huge accomplishment and hopeful was a wonderful process along the way. At LaunchingU we work with college students and new graduates helping you transition from college into your careers. We have found that along the way as you make this transition there are several very common things that you can do to improve your ability to move into a job where you will thrive. So here goes the Top 5. But before you tackle this list – and this is important. Take a week off. Clear your head. Get adjusted to the fact that this is the next phase of your life. Take in the fact that you just graduated from college. Get your bearings and get ready to go to work to get a job.
1. Focus 101. You need to have a target. Hiring managers want to know that in fact you are interested in a specific field, function or role so that they can believe you will actually stay more than a week and a half. You may think you are bettering your chances by saying “I will do almost anything” – but outside of entry level, retail or food services jobs you are not. At least start this process with something you love and you can broaden from there if you need to. It is much more fun to interview someone who is truly enthusiastic about a give role, and when the hiring manager is enjoying an interview you are much more likely to get an offer. Take the time to find a career direction (or two) and adjust your resume and cover letter accordingly. Think about how your accomplishments thus far and how your interests connect with this direction and be prepared to talk about them in an interview.
2. Talk with everyone you know; everyone. Your family your friends, your neighbors, your professors, your old bosses, your ex-girlfriend’s mother, etc. should know what you are looking for. Everyone. And you have to ask them for help. Ask them if you can talk with them for 20 minutes, either face to face or via the phone or Skype, and tell them what you are looking for. Ask them if they know people in these fields. Ask them if they would introduce you to people in these fields. Ask them for any advice they may have. Ask them to look at your resume. Connect with them on LinkedIn. Honestly – they want to help but you have to ask.
3. Have a strong, obsessively proof-read resume. Show it to at least 10 people who have been in the work force 10+ years aand get them to proof read it and give you advice. Don’t change your resume based on their advice unless you love their idea or at least two people tell you the same thing because everyone has an opinion about resumes and they aren’t all good. Make sure you have bullet points that you can talk about in an interview. Brag a little. Make it one page.
4. Practice interviewing. Go back to your Career Services office at College and ask to do practice interviews with them. Practice interviewing with several people. Give them a job posting that you are interested in for them to use as a target. Ask for feedback. Trust me it gets a lot better with practice.
5. Make a plan – work your plan. This is Focus 102. Start with ones you admire in your chosen field(s). Make yourself a spreadsheet – identify companies and jobs and that could interest you – get out to your network and see if you know anyone in these companies that could give you advice and guidance along the way. Make yourself a work plan that says you are going talk with 5 people a week about your goals and job interests, and apply for 5 jobs a day until you land somewhere that you believe will make use of your skills. Keep track of who you talked with and where you applied so you can follow up.
If you are having trouble with any of these steps feel free to email us and schedule a time for a free 30 minute conversation. Don’t let lack of clarity stop you – you job is out there waiting to be found – but it won’t wait forever!