I got the job I wanted right away
So, this might be worth your time.
Many of you will graduate in four or five years, some possibly longer. There are few of us that barrel it out in three. Regardless, that first Monday we wake up back at home, or in a new apartment away from our old stomping grounds, feels the same for all of us. We can’t believe college is over and now adulthood begins, for real. Business isn’t for the grades.
It is my hope, that by now, you had some sort of internship. Anything, anywhere. Experience in a functioning business environment is better than none at all. If not, get on the hunt. Stalk the industry/companies you want to work for. Go to a Career Fair. Talk to people for more than 2 minutes and about something other than your resume. Make a personal connection. Ask about the city you’re in: sports teams, restaurants, entertainment venues. Make sure you ask them how they found the company and why they wanted to work there. Ask them about their first step in the door of that industry. This will remind them of what it was like to be in your shoes.
Another important thing, make your resume interesting. If you’re too scared to open InDesign, chances are you have a friend who knows what he/she is doing. Buy them a beer and make your resume look professional. However, unless you’re in a creative industry, there is a fine line of ‘cool.’ Keep it organized and legible. My favorite is the ‘interests’ category. For example, mine includes my Yoga 200 RYT, the countries I’ve been to, and the types of books I love to read. You are more than just a degree and part-time server.
So, this buzz word, Networking. For you, right now, this means calling on all your parents friends, coworkers, aunts and uncles, professors and friends’ parents’ friends. Make a LinkedIn profile with your most professional photo and add all of these people. Add an earnest message like “Hello, I am Jane Smith, I went to school with your daughter and recently graduated from [University of USA] with a degree in [Student Debt] looking for an opportunity to get my foot in the door. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.”
Do not think in terms of salary, your best shot might even be an unpaid internship with a stipend. Certainly, as a recent grad, I encourage those of you in that situation to discuss with HR the need for financial compensation.
As far as interviews go, do your homework. Know the company’s clients, strengths and weaknesses, and all the available positions that could, at some point in your life, apply to you. Find connections between past projects, classes, and experiences. Some may be loose, but it’ll spark creative and forward-thinking potential in you. My strong interest in psychology and sociology hit home with an interviewer once who majored in sociology before going to law school. Even though I wasn’t, on paper, the best candidate for the job, he liked me. He connected with me on a mutual passion and felt I was someone he would like to teach and develop.
Once you’re in the door, it is so important to remember that life is an education. We are all, always learning. Be humble, open minded, and willing to help even if you’re terrified of the project leader and have no idea what you’re doing. Show that you are a sponge, soaking up all you can and brave enough to try anything. Most of us start out in the wrong discipline anyway.
Shake any inkling of entitlement. No one owes you anything. Earn your shots. (However, show humility and someone will likely give you a shot).
Have faith in yourself.