RANT: “Street Smart” Job Search Advice For College Grads
Back in the day, a college degree was seen as a rare thing that only a few precioussnowflakes could hope to snag. Those few who got a degree were usually guaranteed a sweet job of their choosing due to their education. However, as college degrees have become more common over the past several decades, getting your associate’s or bachelor’s isn’t as unique as it once was. College graduates are all over the job market and competing for slim pickings. Relying on that degree in leisure studies just isn’t going to cut it.
Furthermore, times are tough. Businesses are tightening their belts. This has affected recent college graduates especially hard. The few jobs available are highly competitive and companies aim more towards the older crowd with prior work experience. This is perhaps the biggest strike against recent graduates, lack of work experience. The question for a recent or soon to be graduate is how to step up and show the corporate world what’s what. Grads need to get the older pencil pushers to pay attention.
Best way to start is to do it sooner rather than later. Be the first out the gate looking for a job among the most recent crop of graduates makes for the best pickings. Don’t depend on campus recruitment drives to show you the way. However, work it with these people. Make connections with these recruiters, even if you’re not going to graduate for another semester or two. Getting started early helps when the end of the semester is approaching and you’re in need of some down time to blow off steam on thirsty Thursday’s.
Face facts, though. You most likely won’t find your ideal job right away. What you can do is start accruing experience any way you can. Start small and not in fast food. Don’t apply your degree to Chick-Fil-A unless it’s for some management position. The place is delicious but your chances of advancing your career there are pretty small. Look for something that may be a stepping stone to better things. Being able to have some work experience is better than not having any. Also, don’t limit yourself to just your immediate surroundings. Pack up and hit the road. There are good jobs out there if you look outside your home state. Plus, you can avoid running into your exes if you step out of your college town.
Once you begin gathering some experience, keep your feelers out in the job market and watch when positions open up. Networking, especially with those job recruiters you became chummy with, can help you net a position even if it’s a year or two down the road. If all else fails, consider returning to school for a post graduate degree. It may seem cowardly to run back to school but it can make all the difference on your resume. While a bachelor’s is a dime a dozen, a master’s is still rare. Nab these advanced degrees to give you an extra leg up. Furthermore, being in school can give you a breather in terms of student loan repayments to help you orientate yourself and look for a job.
Finally, you may need to change your expectations about your dream job or field. When you first picked your major freshman or sophomore year it’s akin to beer goggles. At the time it seemed like a good idea, but on retrospect you seriously regret making that call. Be flexible and don’t be afraid to change it up if you’re beating your head against a brick wall.
So what do you think? Do you like this article? Hate it? Agree? Disagree? Whatever your answer, it’s all good in the hood… just show me your alive by leaving a comment down below!