Looking for a job after college produces a special kind of anxiety for many soon to be grads. For some, graduation is an exciting new beginning and the official start of adulthood. However, for many others it can be a time of great uncertainty and anxiety. We’ve all been told “college is the best 4 years of your life”. The thought of the best years of life being over with (at 22) does not exactly elicit much excitement for many people. Furthermore a competitive job market makes it increasingly more difficult to find a job not only enjoyable, but also well compensated.
There are many things college students can take advantage of to boost their chances of landing that first post-grad job, and alleviate some of the anxieties which come along with the hunt. A person’s social network can be their greatest asset. Job opportunities can come from relatives, friends, friends of friends, your boss from your crappy high school job, your former babysitter, you name it. I’ve noticed sometimes getting a job through connections is looked down upon. “Joe got a job at Google, but he got it through his uncle so…” is the type of statement I’ve heard some of my friends make. While it’s commendable to get that first job without any help, there is no shame in getting assistance from wherever you can get it. This in fact is how I got this internship at BNA and I’m not at all ashamed by it…I am working!! Students should also look to take advantage of the services their school or university offers. Most career offices offer services such a resume and cover letter workshops, mock interviews, and job search tools. These services can be invaluable, and should be taken advantage of while you’re still in school and have access, as these services are only usually available to current students.
Upon entering my junior year of college, I was nervous about my summer internship search. The past three summers I worked at a sleepaway camp. While I have no regrets, camp counselor is not exactly the resume booster. Before working as an intern at BNA, I applied to numerous internships through LinkedIn, Indeed, and other job search services. I received very few responses, let alone interviews or offers. Despite going to a good school and getting good grades, my internship search was unsuccessful. I did not take full advantage of what my university had to offer and was not making the most of my network. The countless emails in my inbox from companies that started with “unfortunately”, spoke for themselves. I was once told during an interview my resume was boring, because I didn’t list any of my interests or hobbies. While my grades and extracurricular activities were impressive, my resume didn’t allow me stand out from my peers. Chances are there is somebody out there with an almost identical transcript and resume as you do and it can feel almost impossible to stand out. Use your resume to show who you are and what you are passionate about. Employers look at those skills just as much as they do your transcript and GPA.
To get your foot in the door and land that first job after college, use the network you have built up over your entire life, take advantage of job search services while they last, and provide a bit of humanity in your resume.
Written by: Andrew Shlafmitz