I’m currently in the process of moving out of an internship and into a full-time career. It’s super stressful and really complicated. I don’t care where you went to school (unless it’s Harvard or Yale): if you are getting a business degree, you’re going to have a hard time finding a job.
I’d be thrilled to get into the economic discussion as to why this is the case, such as the market saturation of well-educated individuals due to government assistance while in school. But I don’t want to talk about that right now. What I would like to address are the important factors of getting a job in today’s economy- because they don’t teach you anything worth remembering in school.
- Get an Internship – I know you probably think you’re scrappy enough to claw your way into a job out of college. And that may be true! But unless you’re the valedictorian at an ivy league school, you are going to be spending all of your interviews competing with people who have worked internships. You may think you’re a hard worker; but while you were relaxing during the summer, or even taking extra classes in the summer, someone else was getting experience.
- Start your internship early – The company I work for accepts interns who are sophomore level! I bought into the lie that I had to be Senior level to get an internship. If I had known that I could have started years ago, then I would have 3 years worth of interning experience under my belt today.
- Get a job where you are interning – Do everything to get a job where you are interning. If there is no scale-ability to your internship, pass the by job. You don’t want to work somewhere they aren’t willing to hire you on full-time. Plus, you will have a serious leg up against external competition. It’s just the easiest way to go.
- Don’t have fun in college – Okay, I’m being a little misleading- you can enjoy yourself. But those 4 years you spend there are for your benefit to learn and grow, not to drink, play video games, or whatever college kids do nowadays. This means putting yourself in positions where you will succeed: leading groups, working extra hours at your internships, spending time learning corollary skills that go along with your chosen profession (for example, Digital Marketing only hires people who know HTML- get to learning it!)
- Networking – This is probably one of the silliest things I’ve ever had to do. My workplace offers a variety of networking events; we have something called “Noodling at Noon”, which consists of people talking about their respective positions and getting free Ramen (be still my heart). Go to these events anyway. Jobs are filled via referrals from internal employees, 78% of recruiters reported to finding most of their candidates this way. If your workplace doesn’t offer awesome stuff like this, then set up “informational interviews” in your field. Find someone who is in a position to hire for your field and get yourself on their calendar. Ask them questions about their job, how they got there, and find out what type of person they are looking for when they hire and become that person.
I’ll admit, I’m still getting acclimated to this environment. I’m certainly not the authority on this subject. I regularly see people who are trying to get jobs right out of college and simply can’t- then they settle for retail jobs or Multi-Level Marketing. Unless you want to be working at Starbucks right out of college or going door-to-door selling junk that nobody wants, you have to start making your degree work for you.