The month of August seems to bring new life, and especially after our seemingly endless Permafrost due to the Polar Vortex, new life is beyond welcome. The month of May also brings a new round of college graduates ready to bring new life to the workforce after years of educational development and preparation. If you’ve graduated recently, this blog is for you!
First and foremost, congratulations on your degree! Your seemingly endless hours of studying and prepping (and occasional partying) will pay off, but it is up to you to emphasize what YOU bring to the workforce and not rely solely on the a piece of paper that says you earned a degree. The diploma is an achievement, but how you use your education is the greater achievement. From employers’ eyes, companies are seeking individuals who can utilize education in a way that yields benefits to the companies themselves. How you apply what you learned is the key that opens new doors.
Your homework does not stop at graduation. It is only the beginning. When you are applying for jobs, do not apply whimsically. Research the companies in which you are looking. Know the companies’ products, locations, and what they really do. Ask yourself, “Does this company appear to offer opportunities to challenge me where I can grow?” along with “Is this a company where I feel like I can ethically work?” I am quite sure you are thinking, “Sure, that’s nice to think about, but I have loans to pay off so I need a job now.” I am not disagreeing there…those loans will need to be paid back and paid back soon, but you need to find a company where you fit just as the company needs employees that fit their culture.
Job Tips for New Graduates
From a recruiter’s eye, seeing an applicant’s resume with an extensive display of job jumping of six months here, four months here, nine months there can easily make the recruiter want to pass on you, even if you are qualified, because you would be considered a flight risk. According to a CBS MoneyWatch article, employee turnover digs deeply in the company budget, and an organization cannot financially take the risk on hiring someone who might be job jumping again in a few months. Longevity is a good thing. Even if you accept a position that is not your dream role, stay at that company for at least a year but preferably two or three; you do not know when you might be able to internally transfer to a new role that you prefer, and future employers will find your commitment appealing.
When you go on interviews for the jobs to which you applied, be ready and be confident. Again, that is easier said than done. There is that Catch 22 question: How do I get a job if I don’t have experience, and how do I get experience if I don’t have a job? Focus on any college employment and volunteer activities in which you participated and share what you learned and how you grew from those activities. When meeting with recruiters, explain those responsibilities and how those skills you acquired and refined can transfer to the job in which you are interviewing. If you were not very involved in college, start volunteering now. Volunteering is a great way to serve others, and in addition, do some professional networking.
Work on your communication skills. Speak with a confident tone and eliminate the “uhhhs.” Make eye contact, but do not stare because that can be considered a rude or aggressive behavior. Practice makes perfect so complete mock interviews with your college Career Services office or with professionals with whom you trust their feedback. In your interviews, emphasize another key aspect you bring to the table–technology skills. Your generation grew up with technology so describe the tools you have used and how you are eager to learn about incorporating new technology to maximize efficiency.
Willingness & Enthusiasm Matter
Be open-minded and look at the macro (world) and micro (company/employment field) with wide eyes. You are a novice, but that is ok! Share with the employer that you are willing to learn, and you can bring a plethora of ideas that can bring new life to the company. Not all of your ideas will be implemented or even supported, but if you show you are willing to share your ideas and are accepting of constructive criticism, your ideas could bloom where they are planted. Employers want employees that are firmly rooted in the wellness of the organization so this is your time to shine and share. You are not going to get the corner office and move up to CEO immediately, but hard work can help you move up that ladder.
Congratulations again, Graduates! You have been receiving “wisdom” from others for years so take that wisdom and customize what you have learned on your endeavors. It is a new, exciting and even scary time for you, but if you do your homework and continue to learn, whether it be about your profession or specific companies or related topics, you will continuously improve your most influential and powerful tool…yourself!
ExactHire provides recruiting and employee onboarding software to small and medium businesses to help them leverage technology in the hiring process. For more information about my company’s product, please visit our resources page or contact us.