If you’re familiar with the latest labor statistics, you probably know that finding a job as a recent college grad is far from easy. Fortunately, there are things you can do as a college student to increase your chances of finding work after you graduate. Here are a couple of strategies you should most definitely consider trying out while you’re still in school:
Aggressively Seek a Paid Internship
An internship will look best on your résumé if it’s paid and if it allows you to develop highly sought-after skills in your field. An unpaid internship that mostly involves clerical work won’t impress many employers. Few college students graduate with good quality, real world experience in their fields. If you want to set yourself apart from the masses, make finding a prestigious, paid internship, a priority.
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Since the competition for paid internships is fierce (thanks to the not-so-wonderful economy), you’ll need to put forth some serious effort into finding a good gig. This means you’ll probably have to regularly search job boards and company websites, tailor your résumé and cover letter to fit specific internship descriptions, and make a few cold calls to companies you know hire paid interns. Looking for a paid internship is similar to looking for a job. It’s not easy. So make sure you’re ready to be tenacious until you reach your goal.
Take Networking Seriously
When people talk about how important networking is, they’re not exaggerating. Who you know makes a huge difference when you’re looking for a job, especially when you’re a recent college grad with relatively little relevant work experience. Networking isn’t always easy for college students, however. As a college student, you probably have a pretty big academic network. Unfortunately, your college buddies and college professors aren’t always the best people to know when you’re looking for a job.
If you want to network with the right people, you have to get out of your comfort zone and meet professionals in your field. Consider calling up or emailing a few people who work at companies you admire and asking them if they’d like to do an informational interview with you. Informational interviews are an opportunity for you to learn more about positions you’re interested in, and they’re an opportunity for you to make good impressions and connections with bigwig employees at your dream companies.
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In addition to arranging informational interviews, you can also attend Chamber of Commerce meetings and join professional associations in your field. You may be one of the few people in your age group to go to such meetings and join such associations, but that’s actually a good thing. It will show the professionals you meet that you have initiative and are willing to go the extra mile.
Preparing for the tough job market as a college student is hard work. You’re going to have to fight to get a paid internship, and you’re going to have to put yourself in new and uncomfortable situations to network with the right people. Just stay confident, don’t give up, and create a brighter future for yourself.
About Author: Amanda Watson is a freelancer blogger who writes about online mba programs and other topics pertaining to online higher education. You can reach Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org.