Making the transition from college student to full-time member of the workforce can be a difficult time for many graduates. Many graduates will accept responsibilities for their own lives and their own financial support for the very first time. A surprising number of graduates are advised of the challenges of finding a good job in the current job market. Many graduates are advised to simply apply for and accept any job that comes to their attention. Unfortunately, far too many new graduates are guided by this advice and settle for jobs in which they are undervalued and under-challenged.
But, you don’t have to settle. You can find a challenging job in which you will be valued and in which you can thrive. We offer the following top tips to new grads as they enter the job market.
1. Know your skills, abilities and strengths. This applies to both “hard” skills, and to those “soft” skills that make people good with other people.
2. Know what you want to do and focus on jobs that will allow you to do what you love. Remember that smart organizations hire for passion and train for skill.
3. Know the kind of environment in which you can thrive. If you know that tight, regimented routines with someone looking over your shoulder every minute don’t work for you, look for environments that value and reward innovation and creativity.
4. Create a powerful professional pitch. Develop your own brief statement of who you are, what you can do, what you are passionate about, and why someone should hire you.
5. Dress for success. Whenever you are interacting with a potential employer, dress for the role you are seeking. “Be” the part, help the employer see’ you in the position.
6. Be yourself. Pretending to be someone you are not will lead to problems in time. Of course you should put your best foot forward, but be real.
7. Learn how to interview. Learn the etiquette and the expectations of interviews. Anticipate difficult questions and prepare appropriate answers.
8. Never give false or misleading information. Lying on an application or in an interview or otherwise giving false or misleading information about your education, skills, or experience will set you on a road to disaster.
9. Learn to stand out from the pack. You may be applying for a job with hundreds of other applicants. You need to be memorable in the right ways.
10. Believe there are great jobs out there and that you can get one. Attitude is everything. Confidence is important. Plan to get the job of your dreams.