The moment has finally come! Your last semester of college is coming to a close and you are ready to kiss the late nights of studying and chowing on Ramen until 4 in the morning goodbye! Congrats! Give yourself a pat on the back! You’ve earned it! I do have some questions for you though: What’s next after you graduate? Have you thought about what you want to do? Do you have a job already lined up? What is your game plan to get noticed and hired by potential employers? If you don’t have answers to any of these questions you could be endangered of becoming one the 14.3% of unemployed youth (ages 16-24). Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid unemployment after graduation.
The first question you might want to ask yourself is do you have a resume? A company will very rarely hire someone who doesn’t have a physical resume. A resume more often than not is the first thing hiring personnel will review in the hiring process. As they say, first impressions are the most important and you want to leave a lasting one with a resume. If you already have a resume, now is the time to update it before graduation. If you have never created a resume don’t sweat it! There are a plethora of resources available online and many universities career services offer help in building your resume and even with mock interviews. Take advantage of the resources your university offers before it is too late and you have graduated! Also, take a look at NexGoal’s take on preparing a resume. As placement specialists we know what it takes to get an employer to notice your resume and push you through to the next step in the hiring process.
Another factor that could mean the difference between being employed and unemployed is job experience. According to a job survey conducted by High Fliers Research, “More than half of the recruiters surveyed suggested students who are leaving university with no previous work experience have little or no chance of getting a job offer for their company’s graduate program.” Even though it may be late in your college involvement to gain job experience, there are still ways to gain valuable experience before entering the job market. The most popular way to gain experience is through internships. Companies in every industry offer internships throughout the summer and these experiences can greatly increase your chances of being hired. You may not get paid very well or at all, but you have the chance of getting your foot in the door which will increase your chances of being hired full time by a company. Another feature of internships are that they allow you to test out different fields of interest and that will let you gain better insight on whether the field is a fit for you.
Internships are a great way to gain a direct real world experience, but companies are also looking for people who have a certain set of knowledge, skills, or traits that can be acquired through a non-working based activity. For example, as NexGoal recruiter Mike Kordel points out, being a former athlete can be an invaluable experience that could actually help your chances of gaining employment.
“The biggest misconception former athletes have is that upon graduation they are just another face in a sea of inexperienced job seekers. What they don’t understand is that while their athletic abilities might not translate to real world work experience, there are other strong qualities that will. By nature, athletes are driven, motivated, goal focused, coachable, team players who by way of their athletic achievements possess great time management and leadership experience that any employer would love to have on their team. Use these traits to separate yourself from the crowd and get a leg up on the competition.”
Though being a former athlete does not demonstrate work experience in the direct sense, it does demonstrate key characteristics like commitment and drive that employers value so much. Those sorts of traits can be hard to justify on a resume, but having an experience in athletics or a student group is a huge added bonus when trying to prove your skill set.
Almost equally important as job experience are connections. Often times it is not what you know that matters but who you know! A study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that referral recipients are more than twice as likely to be interviewed and, conditional on interview, about 40% more likely to receive an offer. The job market is an extremely competitive place and a referral could very well be the deciding factor between two candidates who have very similar resumes. To build connections, start networking! Networking can be as simple as attending job fairs, joining a society, or connecting through social media sites like LinkedIn. The more people who know you or recognize you, the better your chances could become to have them endorse you for a future employment opportunity.
To supplement these steps, you should have an overall goal that each one of these steps will help you achieve. It is important to have something that you are working towards and that you take all available measures to get there. However, don’t expect to reach your goals overnight. In order to reach where you want to be, you often have to start somewhere that might not be ideally what you were looking for. As said by Lewis Humphries from Shift Insurance, “A failure to appreciate the importance of workplace experience and its benefits is a significant cause for concern, while some graduates may also be carrying a sense of entitlement that is preventing them from being proactive in their search for work.” This sense of naive entitlement is an illusion. It takes hard work and setting attainable goals that can be realistically achieved with your current skill set, education, and experience. It’s these realistic goals that you set early on in your career that will help build to your ultimate career goals.
So do you now have a clearer picture on what you need to do to prepare for life after graduation? By building your resume, gaining job experience, establishing connections, and laying out your goals you should be able to put yourself in and better position to thrive after graduation. It also wouldn’t hurt to upload you’re resume to NexGoal.com! Being the experts at placing athlete candidates, we will greatly increase your chances of not only finding employment but also finding a cultural match that will set you up for success. The time to plan for post-graduation is now! Don’t waste another second and get started today!