I wrote this as a guest post on the YouTern blog, but I feel that it’s such an important and great topic to write about, that I really need to share it on my personal blog as well. I hope you enjoy:
In today’s job environment, it’s no surprise that new graduates are worried about their futures and career prospects.
Many recent graduates are still unemployed and struggling with what to do in order to pay down student loan debt; their stories are often quite fear-inflicting.
But there are a few simple preparations soon-to-be graduates can make before they enter the “real world”. Even if you’ve just started college in recent weeks… get a head-start, and you may even find yourself a job before you graduate. Who wouldn’t want that?!
Email – Make sure you have a professional email address. No potential employer wants to email you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Instead, so you are easily remembered, choose an email address that utilizes your name.
Resume – Make sure that your resume is up-to-date and tailored to your industry and job category. Plug in some “hot” words for your industry that will pop up in a keyword search. Make sure there are no typo’s and that your correct phone number, mailing address, and email address are all listed.
Business Cards – Have some handy at all times. They should include your name, contact information, and industry. If you’d like, create a cool title for yourself and what you’d like to do. On the back, write a brief description of your career goals.
Social Media – Welcome to the digital age. All of your potential employers are online, and if you want them to see you, you need to be in the same places that they are. There is no need to delete a Facebook account, or to hide from the internet and act like you don’t exist. Just make sure that you keep all of your accounts professional, but also stay true to who you are.
Both physically and socially. Remember, physical activity is a great way to stimulate thought flow, and employers are on the look-out for creative thinkers. If you combine this with an active social media presence, you’re sure to be noticed. Create a LinkedIn profile (with a professional straight-on headshot), clean-up your Facebook profile, and join relevant chats on Twitter to make your voice heard.
Both online and offline… Make sure that SOMETHING comes up when potential employers or recruiters search your name online. Again: don’t delete your Facebook profile – instead, maintain a professional tone. Keep your Twitter account active with relevant industry and professional statements (please, no swearing or disparaging comments about your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend). Join networking groups and attend their events in your area. Show up with resumes and business cards to hand out!
Don’t be afraid to be afraid! Do what your brain tells you to shy away from doing. Pick up the phone and call some alums from your school to see if they have any advice. Sit down with a recent acquaintance for coffee. Say hello to people in the elevator and ask about their story. Raise your hand and ask questions in a lecture or at a conference. Do something badly and be okay with it. Take action!
DO find companies whose culture you like, and track their job openings. Don’t apply to every job you see on every jobsite you find. DO apply for the openings that fit you well, and that align with your goals. Don’t apply to jobs where you’re not qualified. DO apply for jobs you’d enjoy and that would enhance your growth. Don’t apply for jobs you think sound cool, but that have nothing to do with your career goals.
Have Faith and Patience
To develop into what you really want takes time. It’s too bad, but it’s true that you’re most likely not going to have your dream job for your first job. Everything is a stepping stone though, and you first have to believe that you can be successful in order to achieve what you’re looking for. People will sense and feel your energy, and that will excite them into giving you more opportunities.
Ignore the Odds
Stop watching the news! Cultivate your creative process and stimulate your mind. Show devotion to what you love and want to do, because it’s attractive to everyone around you. Let your voice be heard. Ask the universe for help (you’d be surprised at how many people want to, and are willing to help you out). Be open to inspiration and help in its many forms.
There is no denying that things may be rough right now. But there are always ways to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
If you take the time and make the effort in the right spaces, you will not go unnoticed. And your transition into the Real World will be much smoother than you’d think. Good luck!