3 Things Every College Grad Should Keep In Mind as They Look for a Career
I’m going to go ahead and guess that you’re reading this because you don’t have a job. You might even be reading this at two in the morning because you don’t have to wake up early for work. But I know that many recent graduates are trying hard to get a job and aren’t as lazy as older generations perceive us to be. Therefore, here are a couple of suggestions to keep you focused and away from sitting around in the sun all day without a career. Besides, I doubt you’re wearing sunscreen and at least having an indoor job will save you from looking like a lobster. There’s also a very good chance that there will be air conditioning at your inside job.
Don’t feel limited by your major.
Your major does not define your career choice. Always spin it to your benefit. Inform employers about the skills you learned through your major, not the major itself. I tell people all the time that being an American history major requires me to do a lot of research and writing, and employers completely agree. If your senior thesis or other classes you’ve taken relate to your career, don’t be afraid to mention them. You can even put them on your resume under the “Education” section.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people that can help you.
There are many campus resources and alumni networks that recent grads and students don’t take enough advantage of. If you’re still in school, start as early as possible. My college advisor once told me that the seniors at my school tend to not think seriously about jobs until their last semester, leading them to freak out during their last months in college. While there will always be lackadaisical students roaming around, some do take a ton of time searching for a job but end up with little to nothing. Therefore, make sure you learn how to effectively ask for help, reach out, and network. Many career centers still offer their assistance to graduates and can help you locate other alumni in your field that you can contact.
If you choose to speak to an alumni, realize that they probably won’t give you a job. Still, these alumni are great sources of information on careers you’re interested in, so use them to figure out what you’re really getting into. Some might even set up an interview for you or pass your resume along to someone who has a job opening. Make sure to send a thank you card afterward. They’ll be more willing to contact you if they have something suitable for you in the future and will be motivated to help another struggling student or graduate later on.
Don’t pass up opportunities (but don’t settle for what will make you miserable).
There are so many wonderful opportunities that people pass up because they think they won’t get anything out of them. But there’s a reason why so many people say that you should take advantage of every opportunity you get. While I’m not saying you should take all of them (you don’t want to hate your job and end up jeopardizing your performance and well-being), at least consider all of them. People that seem lucky are really just those that take advantage of what’s placed in front of them, and find a way to make it work for them in the long run. So you might have to start at a company or position that you think won’t help you get your dream job. But trust me; it can if you market it the right way. You can always spin things that you did during one job to make them seem applicable to another one, just like you can with your major.
Realize that veering away your major, talking to people who can’t outrightly give you a job, or taking a position at a place that isn’t where you dreamed you’d be aren’t bad things. In fact, they may benefit you much more in the long run, because you’ll have learned how to maximize what you learned in college for the real world, practiced successful networking and perhaps discovered something that you thought wouldn’t make you happy, but you may eventually come to adore. Heck, I hated American history before I had to take it to fulfill a college requirement.