College graduation is a great accomplishment. But if you arrive to your college commencement with no job prospects, the celebration could be short lived. Depending on your major in college, chances are you did not complete college with any real marketable work experience. Don’t feel bad; there are very few undergraduate degrees that translate directly into professional experience. Unless you are an accountant or something really useful or specialized you will be facing the job market like the rest of us letters and science majors. Generally educated.
After graduating with my BA in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley, I worked for 4 years in downtown San Francisco as a recruiter for software engineers. I found the job listed on the on campus job board. My kind of process…call…set appointment…show up…start on Monday. My boss was straight out of a Jerry Maguire movie. Plan your work and work your plan. In the process I learned to coach computer programmers and software development managers on the hiring process.
If you are in a specialized field such as computer programming or accounting chances are after a couple of years of on the job experience you could be helped along your career path by a recruiter. Sometimes recruiters are called headhunters. Headhunters from independent recruiting companies often help to fill important or specialized positions in a company. In my case it was mostly computer programmers. But there are a lot of employment companies that specialize in clerical help too.
When you begin your job search focus on important aspects of your college experience. Following your professional interests as closely as you possibly can go a long way to accentuate your strengths. Sometimes a particular specialty that sparks your interest will be a shared interest with your potential employers. All good hiring managers will tell you that skills and education will get you in the door but it is being a personality fit that will get you the job.
Having a strong, well-organized one-page resume that showcases your past experience is a given. But what will set you on course for the dream job? Get out a journal because setting some goals is the name of the game. Writing down your goals can help set your vision for the future firmly in mind. Ask yourself the important questions like where do I see myself in five years? Or what makes you special over the competition? Because if you have the opportunity to be asked these questions by your future employer, you want to have authentic heartfelt answers ready. Even if your future boss does not ask you these questions you will be happy to look back years from now and know you stuck to your guns and lived your dream.