In a 2014 survey, employers said they offered full-time positions to 65% of their interns.
It’s been three years of education, entertainment, and a heck of a lot of maturing. You’re on track to graduate in just two semesters — an accomplishment in itself. But your biggest test is about to come: Can you land a job?
The bad news for many college graduates is that the job market often poises them for jobs they’re overqualified for with a slowly diminishing 6.7% unemployment rate.* The good news is that the economy is slowly improving, and you can easily improve your chances of landing a job over the next guy if you follow these four steps.
- BRANCH OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.
It really is all about who you know. It may seem unfair, and it may go against everything you’ve been doing to get a quality education and prove yourself valuable. But, when it comes down to getting a position in this job market, employers have a large pool of candidates to pick from, and if it’s between you and a person they’ve met and come to know, they’ll pick the other guy. Plus, a huge percentage of jobs are never even posted. They choose someone who was referred to them or they find someone they want on their team and build a position for them.In a survey in 2010, nearly half of the participants landed their job through networking.* And it’s easy to get started. If you begin with the people you know and branch out through their connections, your network will quickly grow. Attend relevant industry events, put down your cell, and socialize with people. Make an impression and professionals will be vying to help you. One of the biggest mistakes people make in networking is making connections and neglecting to nurture them. Try to stay in touch with your professional network once a month: send an email, plan a coffee break, or ask for help. It’ll put you leaps ahead of your competition.
- GO FARTHER THAN AN EDUCATION: GAIN REAL INDUSTRY SKILLS.
Employers take notice when your resume shows you’ve done more than attended some lectures. Internships prove you can not only put your skills and education to the test, but you can also work in a professional atmosphere and be counted on. An internship or summer job in a related field are other ways to get your foot in the door and to grow your professional network. Plus, in a 2014 survey, employers said they offered full-time positions to 65% of their interns.*
- POLISH YOUR SKILLS — AND HOW YOU PRESENT THEM.
Your resume is your ticket into a recruiter’s office. It’s up to you whether or not it’s the golden ticket. The rule of thumb is keep it to a page. If it goes longer, edit for that specific job. If it’s too short, consider joining clubs, trying for an internship or two, or taking part in professional organizations. A LinkedIn profile is becoming just as important as your print resume. You’ll need both, but 94% of recruiters say they use LinkedIn to find candidates for jobs.* And with more than 277 million members, this social networking site isn’t going anywhere.
- DON’T WAIT FOR A SILVER PLATTER TO BE DELIVERED TO YOU — START APPLYING!
It’s tempting to start relaxing come senior year of college, but you’ve got a lot to do if you’re counting on a reliable paycheck. It’s better to start before the spring semester if you’re graduating in May. Employers aren’t going to be begging you to work for them, so you’ll have to do the asking. Send your resume out far and wide. Sure, have your dream job picked out, but it doesn’t have to be the first job you land. Plus, the more places you reach out to, the more interviews you will most likely have, and the better you’ll be by the time you land a meeting with the job you really want.
Don’t wait any longer. Planning for your career today may mean the difference of working in a job in your industry versus manning the checkout line at your local convenience store. You deserve better. You deserve a career fitting to the education you’ve received. And all the opportunities are in arms reach — it’s up to you to grab for them.
*NACE 2013 survey