4 Must-Read Tips for Graduating Seniors
Let’s face it – in today’s job market, competition for entry-level positions amongst recent graduates is increasing by the second. In 2017 alone, over 2.03 million students (at the bachelors degree level) graduated from college. If you asked me, that sounds like a whole lot of competition!
Now, considering that not all 2.03 million students are flooding the job market with their resumes and job applications in hand, (some will go off to graduate school, some will travel and others will continue on with other endeavors), there is still overwhelming amount of competition amongst recent graduates to penetrate the job market.
Now, the question that should pop into every graduating senior’s mind: How can I make myself stand out in today’s job market
Here are my four tips:
Know what Google is saying about you. Taking the time to run a quick Google search of your online presence is just as critical as checking your credit score before applying for a mortgage – you just have to do it! Between Facebook posts, your Instagram and Twitter feed, you should always maintain a positive online image. (Rule of thumb: Never post something on social media that you wouldn't want to see on the front page of the New York Times.) If your online presence isn’t as tidy as it should be, check out this article for additional guidance.
Utilize your network. With a short window between now and graduation, it’s imperative that you (if you haven’t done so already) start networking as much as possible. Who knows, knowing the right person might lead to your next job opportunity. In addition to expanding your network, you should consider utilizing the network that you may not even know you already have, (i.e. professors, classroom guest speakers, previous managers, neighbors, etc.). Note: before you start connecting with these individuals via LinkedIn, refer back to Tip #1 and ensure your LinkedIn and other social media pages are tidy and professional.
Don’t be afraid of “post-grad internships”. Ideally, every student would love to start a full-time job directly after graduating from college, but sometimes things don't always work out that way. Whether it’s a lack of experience, a lack of technical skills, or something entirely different, it’s not always possible to land a full-time job after graduation. Although you may not be able to secure full-time employment by the time you graduate, a post-graduation internship is never a bad option. Internships offer numerous benefits. First, it’s a great way to secure more experience on your resume. Maybe you don't meet all of the minimum qualifications needed to secure a full-time position; an internship is a perfect way to gain the necessary skills and experience. In addition to gaining experience, internships offer an opportunity to getting your foot into the door. Many companies look to hire from “within” or “internally”; find a company you’d ideally like to work for and check out their internship opportunities. You never know, you might just impress the manager you’re interning with to either hire you full-time or navigate you in the right direction.
Get yourself out there. If you haven’t done so already, utilize your university career services and start attending as many networking events as possible. A simple introduction might lead to an informal conversation, which may even lead to a formal interview! Employers are always looking for that “culture” or “organizational fit”, and if you demonstrate that “fit” during your next networking event, you might find yourself sitting across from a recruiter at an interview sooner than you think.
In all, every graduate deserves an opportunity to thrive in a competitive job market. I hope these tips help you navigate your path.