by Rachel L. DiCaro, 2000 graduate from Stetson University
After another stressful day at work, I daydream about my college days when I would sleep in the middle of the afternoon and set my alarm to wake up for a TLC Wedding Story. Boy, have things changed. If I could give advice to the next class of budding young professionals, I would tell you these five pearls of wisdom.
Real-World Pearls of Wisdom for New College Grads
Pearl No. 1: Nothing in college prepared you for this
OK, get over the initial, “I am college graduate; why wouldn’t they hire me?” Think about it. According to the Department of Education, more than a million college students graduate each spring. So, what does this mean to you? Differentiating yourself from other graduates is extremely important because if you don’t, you will find job-hunting difficult.
Pearl No. 2: Sell yourself
The key to marketing yourself is to market what makes you more qualified than average college graduate? Did you do an internship? Are you a computer whiz? Companies want employees who are computer literate and bring something to the team. Think about previous jobs that you have held. Do you have presentation skills, Web site development skills, or database management experience? Every experience you have can be a unique skill that could get you that job.
Pearl No. 3: Just do it! Go and get an internship
OK, your professors have mentioned it. Some of your friends have participated in an internship program or two. Maybe the only thing you every heard about it was that it was not a fun experience. Joking aside, internships provide a wealth of avenues for college graduates. One advantage about an internship is that it provides a way for student to connect with professionals. Two, it allows you to get you feet wet within your field of study. It is also the best way to try out a career without sacrificing too much. [Editor’s note: While this advice might seem too late for college graduates, there’s no rule that says you can’t do an internship after you graduate.]
Pearl No. 4: Practice interview questions
By now you should be aware there are general questions asked during an interview. Questions about your abilities, interests, and why you are the best for the job will come up in a job interview. Why not have a game plan? Have a general idea how you would respond. You don’t have to memorize your response, but rather have an idea how you would address certain questions. [Editor’s note: For questions you can use for practice, see our Quintessential Careers Job Interview Questions Database.]
Pearl No. 5: Be prepared for rejection
OK, we all want to be accepted, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. The first thing is to find out why you were not hired. (Warning: Asking takes some guts on your part, but if it helps you get the next job, isn’t it worth it?) Next, give yourself some time to sulk, but not long. After you allow yourself to have pity party, get back out there. If you were not accepted for the position, chances are it’s for the better.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Rachel DiCaro, a 2000 graduate from Stetson University, DeLand, FL, in marketing with a minor in psychology, was a sales and marketing coordinator for Environmental Tectonics Corp., Orlando, FL, when she wrote this article. She has since earned her master’s in applied economics from Johns Hopkins University, and currently works for Hobsons US.
Here are some key college student career resources to go with Rachel’s pearls of wisdom:
- Quintessential Careers: Real World Section
- College Student & College Grad Resources
- Internship Resources for College Students
- Guide to Job Interviewing Resources
Here are some key career and job-related articles to go with Rachel’s pearls of wisdom:
- How to Find Your Ideal Internship
- It’s Never Too Early — or Too Late — to Visit Your College Career Office
- Making the Most of Your Internship(s)
- Using Key Marketing Tools to Position Yourself on the Job Market
- Your Senior Year in College: 15 Activities that are Pivotal to Your Job-Search Success
Maximize your career and job-search knowledge and skills! Take advantage of The Quintessential Careers Content Index, which enables site visitors to locate articles, tutorials, quizzes, and worksheets in 35 career, college, job-search topic areas.