A Blueprint for Finding a Career After College

Feb 21, 2014
  |  by Jennifer Cook

The transition from student to professional may seem difficult; however the ample opportunities that are available should put graduates at ease.  This blueprint for finding, not just a job, but a satisfying career will simplify the job hunting process.

Preparation

The road to success starts long before graduation day.  A journey to a rewarding career begins with a significant amount of preparation.

  • Choosing a school – It is important to attend a credible University that offers a variety of quality degree options.  A school that is accommodating to different learning styles and offers a flexible schedule is ideal.  It is especially important to find just the right fit for students who have families, jobs and demanding schedules.
  • Select a degree program – Making the decision on which degree program to pursue can be difficult.  It is important to select a major that is interesting to the student.  There are many online quizzes and surveys, such as the ones on CareerPath, that can give students direction and guidance. 
  • Network – While in school, students should take advantage of every networking opportunity.  The importance of networking cannot be overstated, as it often leads to introductions to contacts in the business world.
  • Land an Internship – Completing an internship in a related field is one of the most important things individuals can do for their career.  Internships open the door to an immediate job opportunity, they often earn students credit at their universities, and most importantly, they offer invaluable real world experience.

Searching and Applying for a Job

The job search can be intimidating, but that shouldn’t discourage applicants.  Those with the determination to work their way through school will also have the determination to navigate the job market.  The seek, search and sell method is designed to help you succeed. 

  • Seek: Potential employees should seek out companies in the industry for which they would like to work.  Employees who work for companies that don’t reflect and enhance their professional values and career goals are often unhappy with their jobs.
  • Search: Research these companies to learn more about them and consider the following:
    • What skills do current employees have?  Brainstorm how to directly apply your experience and knowledge in similar ways.
    • Is there room to grow?  Are there opportunities for internal promotions?
    • Review current job openings that are listed on company websites.
    • Do an extensive job search in newspapers and on career websites.  This is a good way to ensure that there are no missed opportunities.
    • Applicants should not be intimidated.  Even new graduates have applicable and valuable skills that companies need.
  • Sell: Applicants can sell themselves by sending a cover letter and resume to the Human Resources department.  It is important to follow this with a professional phone call or email.  This demonstrates initiative, which is appealing to all employers.  Use contacts that were made through networking to request informational interviews at different companies.  A position may not be available at that time, however you will be in a prime position to be considered for any future openings. 

When it comes to the interview process, candidates should portray confidence.  This is not the time to be modest, be sure to highlight all your strengths.  Let employers know what they will gain by hiring you.  It is also important to ask questions.  This indicates that the applicant is interested in the opportunity. 

Finding a job immediately after college is becoming easier as the economy improves.  However, the worry of finding a job remains.  For new and future graduates, this blueprint aims to be a guide to finding a career that will allow for professional growth and workplace satisfaction.


Author bio: Jennifer Cook writes about online education, learning trends and student life for Strayer.edu. She loves it when teachers connect with students online, and she’s scrubbed her social profiles clean, just in case Big Brother is watching.

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