Jobs are a hot topic as Election Day comes closer. Recent U.S. Labor Department statistics show the unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level in years, but more than half of recent college graduates do not have jobs or are considered “underemployed,” which means they have jobs that do not require degrees.
Most new grads assumed that going to college and earning a degree was the right thing to do. They predicted that their shiny new degrees would lead to decent-paying, salaried positions.
In reality, though, many are performing tasks like serving coffee, baking pizzas, and running cash registers for $10 or less per hour. These jobs may be a good way to become more humble, but humble does not necessarily make student loan payments.
There’s no denying that it’s a tough time for job seekers, but making yourself stand out from the crowd—in a good way, of course—is your key to success when it comes to getting a job after college. Whether you’re a new college grad that is pounding the pavement or you’re still in school, consider the following:
It can cause your schedule to seem jam-packed and probably eat into your social life, but paid and unpaid internships during college have plenty of benefits. Not only will you interact with people who are working in your desired field, you will gain practical skills and learn basic on-the-job etiquette. You could also make connections that lead to a full-time paid position after graduation. USA Today College reports that students who interned during college and subsequently got a job in their major earned an average of 15% more than students who did not do an internship.
Even if you’re still in college or you recently graduated yet do not have a job, get yourself some business cards. Your contact information—name, phone number and email address—should be the main focus, but you can also include the field that you are interested in or your anticipated graduation date, explains Fox Business. If you go the extra mile to stand out from the crowd and carry business cards, order professionally-made ones. Don’t make your own and resist the urge to order those free cards that blatantly promote “free business cards” with the printer’s website on the back.
Most of us assume that dressing professionally and arriving on time are obvious decisions when it comes to job interviews, but far too many people still wear sloppy clothes or arrive late. Do a bit of research beforehand so you have basic knowledge about the company and what it does as well as its employees. There’s no need to quote line-by-line from the company president’s “About” page, but know who he is.
The days of total anonymity are just about over. It’s nearly impossible to Google someone and not find something. Even if your Facebook page is restricted to only your closest friends and relatives, remove any questionable photos, status updates, and comments that are on your timeline “just in case.” Things always have a way of leaking, and you don’t want a prospective employer to be turned off by your drunken photos or ill-worded remarks on your Twitter profile or personal blog. Be sure to create a LinkedIn profile, too, even if you’re still a student.
More and more people write quick—sometimes sloppy—responses to email on smartphones and abbreviate things in text messages, but make sure your writing is free of misspelled words, typos, and grammatical errors if you want to get a job. Pay attention to your attitude, too. When you call a prospective place of employment on the phone or arrive for an in-person interview, treat everyone from the janitor to the CEO with the same respect you would like to be treated with.
Some college-educated people make the mistake of assuming they are instantly better than everyone else in the world—everyone without a degree, that is. Even among those who are not being forced to work in food service or retail, it’s common for new grads to make less money than they thought they would. A recent survey conducted by Accounting Principals found that 43 percent of recent college graduates expected to earn a higher starting salary, reports The Huffington Post.
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Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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