Reality has set in, summer is over. For some of you, it means back to the work grind. For others, it means back to the school grind. And for others, it means job search time. If you are in college you may have realized that mooching off of your parents forever just isn’t going to cut it. What to do? Where to start? Here are some job seeking mistakes college students make and how to avoid them.
1-You don’t take your experiences in college serious. Staying up late is fun. Not living with your parents is fun. Throwing caution to the wind is fun. Yes, it is fun. But at some point (and hopefully it won’t be too late) you will realize that although fun, college is a great time for you to figure yourself out. It is a time of growth. Don’t mess that up. Have fun, but be responsible. If you get a job, go to it. Every day. If you can’t make it, call your boss and tell them. For goodness sakes, be respectful of other people and understand that pretty much everything you will experience in college will help you some way. Again, have fun, but be responsible.
2- You don’t utilize your career services department. See number 4 below. Enough said.
3- You don’t show up/you don’t give your new job a chance. If you get a job, show up. Show that company (and the people there) the respect they deserve and show up. Even if you think you will hate it, try it. You never know. Give it at least 30 days. If after the 30 days you still don’t like it, talk to your boss about other positions/options or move on. Be honest and if it isn’t a fit, give your boss your 2 weeks notice.
4- You aren’t networking. Anytime you have a meaningful conversation with someone new (that isn’t about how drunk you got last night), you are networking. A great networking tip is to use your friend’s parents, they have decades of experience and should be more than willing to help out.
If you agree with me about ^^that^^, here are next steps to get you moving in the right direction.
1-Talk to your professors. Yep, they are real people. Not just people who eat, live and breathe teaching you in a classroom. Most of them are professionals in their industry and probably can introduce you to the right people. If you are taking a class that you really enjoy, talk to your professor about jobs or internships you can be doing right now to gain some valuable experience (and make money!!).
2- Volunteer. Okay so I know this one doesn’t really count because you aren’t making money. When you volunteer but you are a) networking and b) giving back. A great way to look at volunteering is a way to ‘test’ out different areas of interest. You will also meet some really amazing people that can mentor you. Volunteer, you will not regret it.
3- Intern!! I cannot stress this one enough. If you graduate college without doing an internship you are behind the flock. Google internships in your area, talk to your professor or go to your career services department and find out how to get started. (Sometimes internships do not pay. Make sure you know if you are okay with that or if you need one that will pay you. If you are okay with not getting paid, be sure you know your rights before your internship begins. When is it okay to NOT get paid? According to the Department of Labor, an unpaid internship must meet all SIX criteria. Check them out here.) So, if I did not stress it enough, GET AN INTERNSHIP before you graduate.
4- Go to your career services department (now!). I heard a statistic once that really baffled my mind. Something like only 1 in 10 students utilize their career department (don’t quote me on that). I can’t really figure this one out. Why people, are you going to college? Oh for fun you say? Good for you. But for everyone else, it is to graduate and get a job. If I told you I would help you write your resume, I would help you look for a job, I would coach you on your interview skills and even do some mock interviews with you all for FREE, would you tell me to get lost? I think not my friend. I think you would come running to book your appointment. Why then would you NOT be running to your career services department for help? Please, go see them, I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t regret it. (If you do and they aren’t helpful at all, email me, really, I want to know about it!)
Take these tips and run with them. Good luck and keep on keepin on.