College graduation season has begun! Congratulations to all the college grads and
their families for the commitment, investment, and sacrifice that has gone into the
past 4+ years of preparing for a wonderful career!
So, now what?
Disappointingly, a diploma does not guarantee a job after graduation and many new grads can feel
disillusioned by the job search process and frustrated and demoralized by the steps they need to
take to launch their careers, especially if they lack internship experience.
The pandemic has reduced the availability of onsite internships and many college students report
diminished engagement with online courses, further lessening their advantage in a saturated and
highly competitive marketplace.
With this I mind, I offer, Tips to kick off a successful new grad career campaign:
- Tell everyone you know about your job search and career goals and be clear on what you are
asking for: an introduction, job lead, reference; don’t be shy–people want to help but may not help if
they are not clear about what you want. Don’t make them guess and don’t allow them to feel as if
they are putting themselves out on a limb for you and not trusting what you do with their assistance.
- Take time to identify what your true value offering is – not just your new degree – that you offer
an employer if they hire you. Remember the reason an employer hires anyone is to add value to their
organization and to solve a problem for them. They do not hire employees to provide them paid
access to experience. That is an internship.
- Target companies, not just job titles. Targeting companies is a great way to be sure you are
aligning your abilities and personal values with the mission of the business and its employee culture.
Do your research and be able to clearly articulate why you want to work at a certain company. Then,
make a plan to begin speaking with people on the inside to learn more and develop allies to boost
- Showcase your internship, school leadership, and team project experience on your resume and
LinkedIn profile. Be introspective and determine what your contribution to these experiences/events
were and highlight those elements. Provide specifics to enhance your credibility.
- If you don’t have experience, create it yourself. Consider externships, volunteering, starting a
blog/podcast, or developing an innovative campaign to get in front of a decision-maker at your
target company. The sky is the limit and over and over again, there are people who have had doors
opened to them because of the initiative and creativity they demonstrated.
- Don’t waste the summer “catching up on your sleep” or “enjoying your last summer of freedom”
unless you have a start date for the new job. You don’t have that kind of time. Instilling urgency in
your job search is different than panic, so get familiar with the difference. Urgency is intentional.
Panic is reactionary. Student loan payments are designed to allow you time to land a job and begin
generating income before the first payment is due. Allowing your parents to pay your student loan
back is a dodge. Step up. Having bills to pay is a great motivator for finding a job.
- Find ways to keep your energy and motivation high. Employers are attracted to candidates with
high energy and drive. Prioritizing self-care (ie., adequate sleep, good nutrition), lays the foundation to
keeping your energy and motivation high for a journey that may take several months. You would pack
supplies for a hike or vacation, so fill your career knapsack with what you will need for the duration.
Finally, don’t give up! Your dream job is waiting for you but don’t expect it to come to you. Go out and
Want more great tips? https://www.inspirecareers.com/in-the-media/ for recent career-related information I’ve shared on numerous podcasts, television outlets, and radio shows.
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