Finding a job after college is no longer a given. College grads struggle to find work in any field, much less the one they’ve chosen for their degree, with a lack of any actual work experience putting them at a disadvantage. The good news is that purposeful preparation can increase the chances of getting hired. Here are five ways to beat the odds.
1. Get a Four-Year Degree
Young workers with a four-year degree still have better chances of finding a job than those who forego a college education. However, getting a master’s degree doesn’t increase those odds much. Be ready to enter the workforce after graduation and don’t rely on grad school to catapult you into a full-time position.
2. Develop Desirable Skills
One of the greatest hindrances to landing a job is lack of experience. You can tackle this problem by seeking out opportunities to get hands-on experience during your undergrad years.
- Find an internship—Internships in your field of interest help you discover what the job requires, learn how to work in an office environment, and develop the skills you need to be successful.
- Get a part-time job in your field—Waiting tables at a restaurant may help you pay your school bill, but it’s not going to help you land your dream job. Find a part-time job with ties to the industry you hope to enter in order to gain valuable experience.
- Participate in practicum opportunities—Practicum, cooperative education, and industry mentoring opportunities all give students the chance to learn from someone who knows the field and to develop needed skills.
3. Manage Your Online Image
You can bet on it. Potential employers will Google you, and you want them to see a polished, professional image. Not that embarrassing picture you took at your cousin’s birthday bash. Keep personal information private and make sure that employers see a person they would be comfortable adding to their team.
4. Cast a Wide Net
Graduates may need to adjust their expectations by being willing to accept a job outside their initial field of study. Great opportunities often come from unexpected sources, and students can prepare for a broader range of job possibilities by taking classes outside their majors and applying for many different positions.
Meeting people within the field gives students a foot in the door that could help them land a job after graduation. Join the University Business Association, create a polished LinkedIn profile, and make sure you present yourself professionally online.
College offers young workers an essential way to prepare for their future careers, but these days, students must do more than just get good grades. They must also begin creating a professional image, gathering work experience, and creating a total package that will make them attractive to employers.