Millennials around the world feel it --- the pressure to get a steady job straight out of college.
According to a 2014 report from Pew, “Millennials are the best-educated generation in history; fully a third (34%) have at least a bachelor’s degree.” That’s a lot compared to the mere 13% to 25-32-year-olds in 1965. Not all those graduates are landing jobs straight out of college either.
So, what should college students do now to ensure the best opportunity for a career? Here are ten tips that will bring direction and peace of mind to any forward-thinking student:
1. Figure out what you want.
The age-old question of “what do you want to do when you grow up?” is finally here --- you are grown up! (WHAT?!) The good news is you don’t to have your whole life planned out. But, you should at least start contemplating what you want to do and be. In a radio monologue earlier this year, Glenn encouraged millennials to take responsibility for their lives, even when things go wrong.
“It is their responsibility to fit in the world,” Glenn said. “The world doesn’t shape-shift for you, you have to find your way in.”
By fully understanding what it is you want to dedicate the next season of your life to, you can refine your search and really begin getting down to job-hunting. The more clarity you have on what you want to do, the more passion you will develop for it, which will lead to more enthusiasm (and employer’s love enthusiasm).
2. Make sure your resume is on its A-game.
Resumes can be tricky, and it should come as no surprise employers are always seeking top-notch candidates. According to hiring statistics reported by Inc, every corporate job attracts an average of 250 resumes. That means your resume must stand out from the 249 others. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there to make your resume look the best it can.
Your resume is your way of saying, “look how involved, charitable and experienced I am” (in a humble way, of course). Make sure it shows you off as much as it can! Take advantage of resources offered at your college as well as trusted mentors to get your resume in tip-top shape.
Here are a two sites that will get you on your way to having a professional, hire-worthy resume:
3. Don’t forget to stay involved.
With all the pressure to maintain an impressive GPA, get valuable job experience and begin looking for post-grad jobs, it’s easy to forget about staying involved on your campus or within your community. However, this can be a great way to set yourself apart from other job applicants. A study on the value of extracurricular activities by eLearning Infographics found "70% of CEOs held at least one office in a club or organization during college."
In addition, "68.2% of extracurricular activity participants are expected to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher, in comparison to 48.2% of non-extracurricular activity participants."
Demonstrating you can balance a social life on top of all the other things thrown at you appeals to many potential employers seeking well-rounded individuals who can multi-task and thrive in a fast-paced work environment.
4. Remember money isn’t everything --- but it is important.
You've probably heard people say the first job you have won’t be your dream job, and it most likely won’t have your dream salary --- and that is okay. However, it is important to understand how much life outside of college costs. Be sure to consider where your expenses are adding up, keep a budget and look for ways to maintain enough income to support these expenses.
5. Keep your options open.
Believe it or not, people will want to hire you! Take every interview you are offered and don’t accept any offers until you weigh your options and figure out which one best suits you. Sometimes, you are allowed to be picky!
6. Seek advice.
Find someone who you admire professionally and trust and ask them if they can serve as a mentor for you. One of the most valuable resources exists in those who have gone before you. They know the process, they know the system and they know you.
Steven Spielberg nailed it when he said, “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.”
Keep your ears and eyes open, because there is still so much to learn.
7. Make connections.
Network, network, network. As much as this word is used, you know it must be important. Be social, go to events that will put you in situations to meet other professionals, and don’t be afraid to step into conversations.
George Ross, an advisor to Donald Trump, once said, “To be successful, you have to be able to relate to people; they have to be satisfied with your personality to be able to do business with you and to build a relationship with mutual trust.”
As much as an education and work experience is valuable, who you know and the connections you make along the way make all the difference.
8. Stay in contact.
As important as making connections is, maintaining connections is also key. This takes effort and intentionality, but it is necessary to make people remember you.
According to one Forbes author, the most important people to stay in close contact with are those who have pushed you to be your best:
The person who pushed you not only thought you were great --- he or she saw that you had even more potential. And when it comes to future career opportunities, that’s definitely someone you want on your side.
These connections may be useful in the near future or years down the road, and the more people you have in your corner, the better.
9. Make yourself relevant.
When applying for jobs, it goes without saying one of the most important things you should know is what the job will require of you. Research the company and the job opening until you understand exactly what they are looking for. Then make sure you fit the mold. This does not mean you have to change yourself or stretch the truth about who you are. However, if its a job you really want, you should be sure to highlight the abilities and experiences you have that will fit what they need. Make yourself the most logical fit for the job.
10. Get out there.
Contrary to popular belief, a college education is not enough to land you a job straight after graduation. You must be proactive and diligent in seeking out employment, never expecting anything to come to you.
While discussing if college is really worth it, Glenn said it best:
We’re teaching our high school students to go into college and then get that diploma and that will be a magic ticket to a job and then what happens? They sit around and they say, well, nobody’s giving me a job. Get off your damn ass and create something.