Getting a job out of college
If you’re set to graduate this summer, you’re probably thinking ahead to your first real job. And that’s a good thing, because according to Annie Nova in her CNBC article “Why your first job out of college really, really matters,” the position you accept out of college can define the rest of your career.
Why your first job is important
Recent grads who accept a position that doesn’t require a college degree are five times more likely to still be in a similar job five years later compared to graduates who immediately put their degree to work. What’s more — 10 years later, 75 percent of the graduates who take a job that doesn’t require a degree will still be in the same position. They’ll also earn on average $10,000 less than those who take a job that does require a degree. The reason for this is that employers tend to typecast based on an applicant’s most recent experience.
If you want to avoid getting stuck in an unchallenging position that doesn’t pay well, it’s clearly critical to find the right job. The following pointers can help.
Before you graduate
You don’t have to wait until you actually have your degree to get started with your job search. For instance, it’s advisable to get an internship while you’re still studying. This will give you insights into the day to day reality of a specific occupation and provide you with some all-important experience. At the same time, it will give you the opportunity to network and even get yourself noticed by the company’s hiring manager.
In the Forbes article “6 Things You Must Do to Get Your First Job Out of College,” Susan Adams recommends finding a mentor — preferably someone who does exactly what you want to do. A mentor can offer you valuable advice about the qualities that are needed in your desired field, as well as put his or her network to use for you.
Once you’ve graduated, take some time to check out your school’s career services. They might be able to connect you with alumni who work in your field. In addition, they can help you polish your résumé and cover letter.
Before you reach out to anyone, however, set up a website where you can list your résumé, showcase some of your projects and even write a blog to share your expertise. This will act as a calling card for any potential employers. You should also set up a LinkedIn profile with a list of your skills and accomplishments. Use LinkedIn to network and grow your contact list.
In the article “How to Land Your First Job After College” for The Balance Careers, Mike Profita advises joining professional groups on LinkedIn, as well as any official organizations for your occupation. Many organizations offer job listings on their websites — plus, their events are useful for networking.
Last, but certainly not least, speak to a recruiter about the kind of job you’re looking for. He or she will be able to match your qualifications to opportunities and get your application on hiring managers’ desks.
Get to work early
While it’s fine to have a nice vacation after graduation, don’t wait too long to look for a good job. The sooner you start looking, the better it will be for your career in the long run.