Faize M El-Khali – YAN
College graduates leave school with a degree in their hands and enthusiasm for the career they want to build however many have trouble landing a job after graduation. College merely prepares students for the job market and arms them with the tools to succeed. However, many new grads still struggle to find the right fit for their skills and interests or end up working in non-professional jobs to make ends meet. Yet, students should always stay motivated even when morale is low and focus on continuously building and improving their resumes and interviewing and networking skills to land that perfect job.
Students, or new employees, should learn to build their resumes and utilize available tools. Many universities and colleges offer free services to help students with building their resumes and perfecting their interview skills. Colleges and Universities help students connect with employers in a variety of ways. They host job fairs, on-campus recruiting, marketing events, networking events, on-campus interviewing, and many other programs designed to give students every opportunity to have that first job lined up before graduation. Our local college, Henry Ford College, offers exactly those services and more and can be found at https://careers.hfcc.edu/. Also, occasionally there are community career development services and activities offered that are posted on your local city page – i.e. for the city of Dearborn, Michigan: http://cityofdearborn.org/news-and-events/city-calendar.
Students should not wait until after graduation to start looking for a job, but by their junior or even sophomore year students should work on landing an internship in their desired industry. All companies value relevant experience. All else being equal, experience will be the factor that separates candidates form their student peers.
At some college’s students are lucky to have ample opportunities to speak with job recruiters at career fairs, student organization meetings, and info-sessions. This is the perfect chance to give the elevator pitch and sell yourself to get that 1st interview. Students should come prepared and target selected companies and avoid approaching recruiters asking, “What internships do you offer? I want an internship to gain experience and to learn new skills!”. Additionally, students can stand out to recruiters by doing more than being prepared to talk about themselves. Russell Kavalhuna, President of Henry Ford College says “The goal of an interview is to convince the interviewer that you can help the company accomplish its goals. You can distinguish yourself by preparing for your interview with specific information and stories that demonstrate that you have studied the company’s environment, challenges, and goals. You will want to talk about how your strengths would contribute to the company’s growth if they hired you.”
Students should interview the job recruiters about their companies and try to get a better picture of the company and available position. Furthermore, students should practice and use the STAR Method where STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result to sell themselves as a good candidates. STAR helps students craft replies to behavior-based interview questions in a manner that provides the interviewer with a clear answer.
Finally, students neglect to network. Networking is simply having a career conversation with anyone such as a classmate, professor, or an alum who is working in a company of interest. Maybe not everyone in your network would be able to get you a job, but your network will likely be able to provide contacts for employment after graduation. Ryan Miller a certified professional resume writer from Employment Boost says, “Don’t be afraid to reach out to employees at the company you’re applying for or experts within your desired industry to ask their advice on how to best access your goal of attaining your next position.” Some of those networking contacts can prove to be valuable life coaches and mentors. It is a good idea for students to develop a support network of knowledgeable mentors. To expand one’s network is to expand one’s social circle. On that note, students should also ensure a clean public social media life if they are to be taken seriously by recruiters. The most recognized social media platforms employers will be looking at is FaceBook and LinkedIn therefore every student should have an account with professional profiles and also display accomplishments and competencies.