December Graduation is just around the corner, which means a fresh batch of job-hungry recent grads are in the midst of an overwhelming panic to find the perfect match. December graduation has become more common over the years, offering many benefits such as a head-start in joining the job market, as opposed to typical summer graduates.
Often times this process seems daunting, and for students who have never interviewed before, there can be a mix of emotions. The prospect of stepping into a whole new world of professional opportunities is thrilling, but it can also be difficult to know where to start.
Luckily, there are steps one can take to smooth the process of their first job search!
- Take advantage of networking opportunities. One of the best ways to find a job is through someone you know. And in this digital age, humans are more connected than ever! Online platforms, such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed provide free employment searches while also giving prospective employers access to your resume. That being said, colleges also host networking opportunities like job-fairs every semester. Potential candidates can meet eager employers and gain contact information in a low-pressure environment. Make sure to utilize every last on-campus event possible while you are still a student!
- Stay connected. Past professors can be a great tool during the job-search process. Their past experiences, opportunities, and knowledge can offer not only guidance, but also potential career-accelerating network possibilities. Reaching out to past mentors for a cup of coffee might seem like a small gesture, but it’s a great way to say thank you for their guidance throughout the years. Professional relationships with professors will pay off in the future, and it is important to start furthering those relationships nearing graduation season.
- Don’t feel like you have to accept your first job offer. Receiving your first job offer can be a euphoric experience. Keep that sense of relief in perspective; there are many other opportunities available, and the first job that comes your way might not be the best fit. In 2019, recent graduates and millennials prioritize company culture more than ever, so taking time to familiarize yourself with the company is very important. Nearly half of millennials leave a job in under two years (The Independent); a significant reason behind this frequent shift is a lack of the right company culture. Finding a company that reflects your own values and can embrace you into their culture is a must-have, given that the average person spends one-third of their lives at work (Gettysburg).
- Make a goal. You don’t need to have a perfectly calculated ten-year plan to have some direction. Start small by asking yourself, “What do I want to accomplish in six months?” These types of tangible goals provide more motivation to focus, as well as incentivize us to find individual methods of achieving goals. Developing a goal can help establish performance metrics, making it that much easier to track your progress during the job hunt. Professional growth never ends, and in the long run, you will thank your past self for continually setting goals.
- Be optimistic! The United States has a record-low unemployment rate of 3.5% as of September (Bureau of Labor Statistics). This is a great time to be entering the job market, and through a commitment to job research and prioritizing possible positions, graduates can hopefully find the perfect fit. While not every interview will lead to a job offer and rejection never feels good, maximize the learning experience in the context of improving your interviewing skills.
Wherever you are in the job hunting process, follow these tips and you’ll have interviews—and job offers—lined up before you know it!