I have been out of the college scene for more than two years now and, after turning a three-month internship into a full-time position after graduation, I've learned a few lessons about the corporate world.
My most essential piece of advice: Network. It used to sound like a buzzword to me. But there's a reason every career expert under the sun can't emphasize the importance of networking enough. It's simple: Networking is being resourceful. You’d be surprised how many accomplished folks are willing to help you out.
Reed Daw, a recent grad and SEO associate at a start-up called Volusion, agrees, adding a great point: “Just about every business professional has received some sort of help reaching their current career and they are willing to pay it forward.” So peruse through your network and start calling! Chat about career paths and qualifications. Inquire about internships or referrals.
It might be intimidating at first, but remember, they aren’t going to expect you to know everything (or spontaneously challenge you to solve a Rubik's Cube). Practice chatting about your strengths and what you can do for your field. Check out these articles on networking to help you break the ice!
Of course, we all have our own paths to success. I asked a few other recent grads who have successfully landed a job to share their best advice.
1. It’s Okay to Take a Job that Might Not Pay Stacks on Stacks
“Once you can prove to your employer that you're worth the investment, it will be easier to get bumped up from that entry level position into something that's possibly more lucrative,” says Emily Candish, SEO Analyst at RankGiant.
This strategy worked for Candish. She landed her first job at RankGiant as a marketing assistant and was quickly promoted to SEO analyst after just six months.
In other words, if the job intrigues you and doesn't pay as much as you would like, you could make move up and make more in no time!
2. Put Some Serious Time in Your LinkedIn Profile
Spend a lot of time polishing, expanding and updating your LinkedIn. Why? Glad you asked. “Many recruiters use LinkedIn for candidates because it is easier to search keywords," says Christine Jackman, assistant account executive at Ogilvy Media Influence, who graduated in May 2013. LinkedIn is the easiest way to network -- after all, it's the largest professional networking site. Take advantage!
Jackman offers these awesome tips for recent grads:
- Make sure your work history and internships contain relevant keywords. You can find relevant keywords by looking at different job postings that you would like and pull keywords from there.
- Add influential connections whom you actually know, like professors, parents’ friends and old employers.
- Join groups in your prospective field.
- Find companies that you are interested in and follow them.
3. Internships are a Fantastic First Job
If you can’t find a full-time job, be open to internships. It’s a great way to meet people and build your work portfolio (No. 2).
“I interned at the company I work at now for five months before landing a full time position there,” says Amanda Barry, social media manager and publicist at Maracaibo Media Group. “Without it, I couldn't possibly be as knowledgeable as I am now in my position.”
She makes a great point – internships allow you to test the waters and see if you’re a great fit for the job! Plus, you can create more connections during your internship (it always comes back to networking!).