Friday, September 14, 2012

Career Advice for College Students About to Enter the Job Market

A crowd of college students at the 2007 Pittsb...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
With another school year just over, countless college seniors are preparing themselves for gainful employment. Students will draft resumes and request letters of recommendation, each hoping that their record stands out among the rest. It’s likely that hundreds of similarly qualified college grads will vie for the same few positions in a company.

In other words it’s no secret why so many seniors would be anxious about their job prospects—times are tough. You can see the evidence of student anxiety over the job market on college campuses across the nation. Most students who attend job recruitment sessions want helpful career advice rather than detailed information specific to a company’s recruiting needs. Networking and communication skills will make the difference in a young professional’s initial foray into the job market. Students must understand the importance of marketing themselves to potential employers if they want to be part of the American workforce.

With so much at stake, it’s critical that college students are prepared for their careers as soon as they receive their diplomas. Here are some tips for students intimidated by the lack of job prospects as they begin their final year in college. 

Build marketable experiences in college

When you apply to jobs right after college, you want to cite skills and exploits that you undertook and learned from. These ‘marketable experiences’ garnered through earnest involvement in organizations and institutions would serve to highlight your ability to a potential employer.

Use these resume decorations to your advantage as a way to showcase your strong suits. Positions in student government, founding campus organizations, speaking on a panel on behalf of the university: students should understand that employers see these experiences as a signs of leadership, perseverance and commitment—all great qualities in an employee. Be sure to include only the experiences that you can discuss in length and those from which you can cite real life lessons. Otherwise you’ll look as if you’re padding your resume. 

Cultivate your knowledge in the field

You may lack hands-on experience for your first real job after college, so try tempering that inexperience with in-depth knowledge of the requisite field. A potential employer interviewing you will be well aware of your relative inexperience if they know you’re a recent college graduate. Before an interview, use all the resources at your disposal to research the fundamental components of a job.

When you meet with a potential employer, surprise them by showcasing a strong command over knowledge related to the job—be it business, marketing, engineering or design—to prove that you the basics necessary to flourish in the position. There’s nothing wrong with exuding enthusiasm during an interview. After all, it doesn’t hurt to be charismatic about your profession! 

Make connections where you can

Remember that you’re surrounded by useful resources in your university. Feel free to utilize these resources to make in rows with a contact that may prove to be useful in the future—that’s why they’re there! You can investigate useful connections with professors of related disciplines, relevant student organizations, or visiting professionals that work with the university. While you’re in college, you have access to all the resources you could ever need, so take advantage of your time and use them to their full capacity.

Carol Wilson is a freelance blogger who writes about business, finance, and higher education for When she’s not writing about her passions, Carol is usually out in the sticks hiking or brushing up on her photography. Feel free to write her some comments!

1 comment:

  1. While your attending college you should be doing all you can to network and make contacts in your chosen field. My daughter is in her last year of a Psychology degree. She has joined the Psychology professional group. Also she has joined clubs and done volunteer work in her field. She has a paid internship with a mental health company. He has stayed in contact with all her Psychology professors.

    She has a network to where she has already many choices in potential jobs. Doing the work now before you graduate only puts you far ahead of your fellow students that have made no effort and will have a cold start upon graduation.

    My advice to students is to join clubs, internships, professional organizations, summer jobs in your field, and whatever allows you to meet people and make contacts in your industry. Do not wait till you graduate.


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