“So what are you going to do?”
That is the burning question posed by friends, family members, and faculty to upcoming graduates. However, picking a career is not always easy; furthermore, it is not automatic that because you graduate from college that jobs are waiting for the taking. Competition is steep; technology is ever changing, and the job market is unpredictable.
So what can you do to make sure you are not left sleeping on your parents’ couch after commencement?
For starters, plan ahead.
While you are still in school, you are around a lot of free or inexpensive resources, so use them. For example, head to the Career Center and get help on preparing your resume. Having an updated resume, in the proper format is essential, as your resume is the first thing future employers will see. In addition, the Career Center is the place that students can get career counseling, information on job fairs, and access to online job boards, such as MonsterTrak. There are many job boards available depending on your career interest, such as, entertainmentcareers.net, for those who want jobs in the film or television field. Also, if you have a dream company you would like to work for, check out their website. Nowadays, company websites have a direct link where applicants can upload there resume, and search job openings.
WHAT TO EXPECT?
A lot of people will get their first post-college job because of who they know, not necessarily what they know, or what they can offer. For the rest of us, we have to search countless want ads, via the newspaper, or online databases. Surprisingly, during your search you will probably notice that you are not qualified for a lot of jobs in your major field. This is because you do not have enough work experience. Do not necessarily let that detour you. You can submit your resume anyway, let them reject you, do not reject yourself. It is my experience that resumes are passed to various departments. Therefore, there is a chance that even though you did not qualify for your target position, the same company may contact you for a different position.
Many recent graduates will also expect to make good money right away. However, depending on what field and position you are going into the pay could be considerably lower then what you may expect. Recent grads usually get entry level positions and those positions a lot of times make a few bucks over minimum wage, and sometimes a college degree is not required. Therefore, it is good to give yourself time to search around, so you will not be too desperate to take the first job offered to you. Find out what is important to you, and know that you will need to make sacrifices along the way. For example, you may have to choose to work for your ideal company, for low pay. Alternatively, perhaps, work for a company that you do not have any long-term interest in, but pays well.
WHERE TO LOOK?
Jobs just don’t grow on trees; you have to hunt for them. However, many graduating seniors pigeon whole themselves when it comes to tackling the job market. One of the first things soon to be graduates should do is ask around. Ask parents and friends if their job is hiring. You do not have to get the job, but you do want to familiarize yourself with the interviewing process. Also, the university you are graduating from is always hiring, don’t forget to check out their job hotline and employment webpage.
Are you looking for something as a starting point, with room to advance? Check out state and federal job openings. The State of California offer thousands of jobs from clerical, engineering, public relations, television production, accounting, to computer technician, to name a few. Once you obtain a state or federal position by passing an exam, you have the ability to transfer to different department and cities. In addition, as you gain more experience you can start taking other exams and get promoted to a higher pay rate.
To get success after college you should know what you want. However, if you are unclear, there is always graduate school. Graduate school is a great way to build up your resume, while also gaining more knowledge on a certain career. Graduate school is usually a two-year program that opens more doors for future employment, including teaching at a college level.
Whether your decision is to dive straight into the work force or head back to school, it is important to have a list of short and long-term goals written. Most people have to start at the bottom, but you do not have to stay there.