Tuesday, May 27, 2014

21 Career Advice Tips for College Graduates

You graduated college now it’s time to get a job! A typical job search nowadays usually takes between 3 - 6 months or longer. Many new college graduates will spend the summer tenaciously applying for positions and going on interviews. Some will land jobs right away, while others may find employment months later.  Going to college you live a sheltered life because you are not aware of the realities of the real world.  Your parents shelter you and you live in a micro-society at college that seems so distant until graduation day arrives and reality sets in. 

Now it’s time to be an adult and make decisions that will affect your future. Each daily decision you make will affect your future. If you decide to spend all your money each paycheck, buy a luxury car, go into debt or default on your student loans, all of these bad decisions will come back to haunt you in a tragic and costly way.

Graduating from college you may have to start doing things you didn’t do in college such as attending networking events, keeping track of dates and appointment such as job interviews or training classes, creating a budget to track your spending and setting goals for the future. 

A common saying is “It’s not what you know, but who you know”. Sometimes this is true and sometimes it doesn’t matter how you know, if you are the best candidate for the job you will get hired. According to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers plan to hire 13% more new college graduates than in 2012, however the job market is still competitive. Here are 21 career advice tips for college graduates.

  1. Prepare. Do research on the company. Write down questions to ask on the interview. Don't take the first job offered unless you are in dire need of employment. Ask for a signing bonus.
  2. Employment.  Contact staffing agencies or consider relocating to another state. Work with at least 3 recruiters to help you find a job.  Provide them with writing samples, highlight your strengths, mention classes you exceled in and inform them of community service or organizations you are a member of. Apply for at least 5 jobs a week until you get hired.
  3. Stay encouraged. Avoid going to graduate school because you are frustrated with the job hunt. This will put your further into debt and you may miss out a good opportunity because you are in school.
  4. Memberships. Join a professional organization or attend networking events.
  5. Volunteer. Volunteer in a field you are interested in working even if you get hired.
6.      Use social media. Many employers look for candidates on social media websites. Use social media sites like Facebook and Linkedin or Craigslist to find employment.
  1. Credit. If you have bad credit disclose that information during the interview or on your job application. You also need to have a plan to improve your credit score or provide an explanation of why you have bad credit.
  2. Ask. Talk to your school counselor or former counselor to learn about possible job opportunities or job leads. Tell everyone you know and meet you are looking for a job.
9.      Dress the part.  Dress like an executive. Borrow clothes from a friend or relative or go to a thrift store or consignment store to fit professional suits and shoes. Dress conservatively when working unless you are told otherwise.
10.   Interview. Hide your tattoos and remove your piercings.  For men remove the earring(s) in your ears. For women have only one pair of earrings in your ears.  Don’t wear loud or noisy jewelry. Avoid using your phone or texting during the interview. Turn your phone off or on silent during the interview. Sit up straight and make direct eye contact during the interview. If you don’t know the answer to a question be honest and say so and avoid giving the “blank stare look”.
11.   Training.  Search the internet for interview tips, free online quizzes or training classes or read books on how to prepare for an interview and how to advance in your career.
12.   Use Connections. Use your social connections, alumni, membership organizations or social organizations that you are member of and ask about employment opportunities.
13.   Socialize. Attend networking events, local Chamber of Commerce events in your area, membership open house events, alumni events or membership events to make connections that may help you gain employment.
14.   Profile. Create a simple email address for employment. Clean up your social media profiles and remove videos and pictures of you in bathing suits, questionable poses, pictures of you drinking or making signs in the air, dancing or making advances someone.  Remove posts on your profiles that contain profanity, sexist remarks or remarks that may seem offensive, rude or questionable. Consider changing how you communicate on social media if you want to get hired for a full-time job. Avoid talking about who you had sex with, how much you like to party, who you don’t like or how drunk or high you got the night before. This may prevent you from getting hired.
15.   Contact. Keep your contact information up-to-date with recruiters and on job websites and list your email address on your social media profiles. 
16.   Resume. Use a standard resume format. Avoid using highlight, color or italics. Use bullet points and keep your resume to one page or less. Keep your resume up-to-date and tailor your resume for specific jobs.
17.   Edit. Proofread all application materials prior to submission and ensure that you are qualified for a position prior to applying. Customize your cover letter for every job you apply for.  Knowing how to properly use grammar and spell or use spell checking tools will definitely help you when writing a memo or email when looking for employment and after you get hired. Avoid using slang, texting abbreviations and words in the workplace and in workplace conversations.
18.   Support. Create a support network of friends, relatives, co-workers or others who can encourage you and provide advice to help you achieve your career goals. If your friends are not on the same path as you are consider getting new friends. You should have at least 3 friends who are most successful than you are who can help you move up the career ladder.
19.   Mentor. Get a mentor who can provide advice and lessons learned on how to be the best employee and help you achieve your career goals. A business mentor can help you become an expert in your career and personal life. Mentors also provide valuable advice, help you solve problems and help you think strategically about your career.
  1. Be creative. Think outside the box and be creative. While you are looking for employment consider starting your own business either part-time or full-time.  If you are aware of a problem think about creative ways to solve it or find something that you are passionate about and use that to start your own business.
  2. Stand out. Find the most senior person in your office and learn everything they know. Volunteer for additional work, large projects, to work late hours or on the weekends.

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