On the road to life after college, you’re bound to encounter a few bumps. But as you merge onto your career path, you can make a smoother transition with these five strategies:
- Visit your College Career Center
Make this your first stop. Take advantage of the many free services a Career Center offers: everything from help with writing a resume and cover letter to internship opportunities and job interviews. Many colleges offer informational interviewing programs. Don’t miss out on these ready-made opportunities to learn about available jobs.
- Play the skill-match game
Parlay the skills you’ve used in your studies into a job, says Erin Mahoney, interim executive director of Career Services at DePauw University. For example, an English major uses writing, communication, research and project management skills. Match those skills to those listed in online job descriptions, which might include attention to detail, organizational and communication skills. Mahoney recommends using the US Department of Labor’s O*NET (onetonline.org), to browse occupations and discover which ones match your skill set. O*NET’s Interest Profiler lets you match work activities to your personal interests.
- Network, network, network
“Networking is key,” says Mahoney. Some people are intimidated by the word. All it means is talking to people and making connections. Make a list of those who might be able to help you in your job search and reach out to them. Don’t hesitate to touch base with alumni, professors, mentors, advisors, upperclassmen, neighbors and parents. You’ll practice your interviewing skills and learn about potential jobs and opportunities you didn’t even know existed.
- Follow your dreams
Explore opportunities and talk to people about what they do; don’t just look at how much money you will make. There are so many other factors: your values, your interests, geographic location. If you look at just one factor, you won’t be doing justice to your search.
- Keep learning
“More and more employers are talking about the need to be self-directed in your learning,” says Mahoney. Just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean you should stop acquiring knowledge. Learn everything you can about your new job and company and continue to acquire new skills. You never know where your curiosity might lead.
Top 10 Skills Requested by Indiana Employers
- Communication skills
- Organizational skills
- Writing skills
- Customer service
- Attention to detail
- Research skills