Get a Job– After graduation look for a temporary or part-time position right away, whether it is at a coffee shop, a restaurant, a local summer camp, or temping in an office. Besides bringing in some money, I have had countless friends and clients who found their first professional position through a regular patron at their coffee shop or the parent of one of their campers. Our culture needs to move past the stereotype that you are somehow a failure if you work at Starbucks and have a college degree. Better a barista than being supported by your parents! Just make sure that you carve out some regular time in your schedule for job hunting- you do not want to lose sight of your bigger goal.
Define Your Goal– Many new graduates (and job seekers of all ages) go into their job search thinking they will just apply for any job for which they are qualified. Do your research on the field and occupation you want to work. What is the employment outlook in that occupation? What are companies in that area located in your town? What skills are needed for an entry level position? Not only will be able to land a job faster but doing your research will also help you learn if the field is a good fit for you. It is better to focus your job search on one or two types of positions that are a good fit for you. After a few months, if you are not able to land a position in that field move on to another type of position that you are interested.
Learn a New Skill– Often in the university setting, we do not take the time to develop the core competencies that needed in the workplace. Being able to google how to use Excel functions (which the writer is guilty of) is not the same as being proficient in Microsoft Office. Besides Microsoft Office, learn what skills and tools are needed in your area of interest. If you are interested in a career in marketing, learn a data analyst’s tool like AdWords and Google Analytics (you can get certified online for free) and any small business or nonprofit would be delighted to have an employee with basic website coding skills. There are so many good many good free or low-cost training providers such as: Treehouse.com or Udemy.com. If you prefer in person learning, your local library most likely offers a variety of classes or your local university or public school district probably provides low-cost adult education opportunities.
Moreover, please, please spend some time with a relative and friend in their office environment and learn how to use a photocopier, office phone, fax machine (yes, those are still used) and a coffee pot- your first workplace will appreciate it, and you will feel confident in your new environment!
Network– Studies show that 70- 85% of jobs are found through networking. Join your local alumni group for your alma mater, reach out to your parents’ friends, old high school friends, and former co-workers. Utilize Linkedin and Twitter to establish yourself professionally (and while we are on the subject- remember to delete any discriminating material from your web presence). Remember, networking is not just about other people helping you land a position- it is an opportunity to learn more about their occupation, role, and company. Hopefully, if you make a good impression, they will ask you for a copy of your resume or think of you the next time there is a position open.
Ask for Help– The fact is many of the skills needed to find a job are not taught in undergraduate (or high school or graduate school!). The standards and best practices of job search are always changing, and it is a skill one needs to learn and master. Jewish Family and Career Services have been providing career counseling and employment coaching for over 70 years. We can provide support whether you are still trying to figure out what you want to do with your college degree or if you know what type of job you would like to land but need assistance getting there. From resumes to salary negotiation we can assist you to land your first position out of college and put you on the path to success.
Still, need help deciding what your employment goal is? Jewish Family and Career Services can help you explore your strengths and point you in the right direction. Call us today at 502-452-6341 or email Erin Heakin.