Women: Advance your Career before Donning the Cap and Gown Reply

For most college students, graduation can’t come soon enough. This is especially true for young women eager to show the men of the world that they are every bit as capable in their chosen careers. However, in a time when employment rates are at historic lows, snagging a position is easier said than done. On average, bachelor’s-degree-holding young adults job hunt for six months. In male-dominated industries, such as construction and finance, that search can last considerably longer.

According to Kiplinger Editor Janet Bodnar, teenagers have difficulty walking into entry-level opportunities as many experienced candidates vie for positions. But there are things you can do right now to improve your chances of walking the line and then straight through the doors of your dream job.

Scout for prospective jobs once you decide on a major

There is no need to wait until your diploma is in hand to put your feelers out and see what types of jobs are available for people with your degree. Many colleges offer student-run consulting groups to help students in each industry pick the perfect profession. As well, you can check your campus placement office and local job listings monthly to see what’s out there. If you’re not yet ready to apply, at least file away in your mind companies you might like to target later on.

Choose your major wisely

It is not simply enough these days to hold a degree in an open-ended discipline, such as philosophy or liberal arts. In order to secure the highest-paying positions, you must pick your major strategically. Degrees in technology, public relations, and marketing are in high demand. These skills can be used across a breadth of industries, making you more hirable than other candidates.

Network early and network often

Yes, even college students – and in some cases high school students – should have a professional networking profile for use on social media sites, such as LinkedIn. However, while online networking may be most comfortable, you should also join organizations where you can make personal contact with hiring managers and other professionals who can help you get your foot in the door. If you’re getting close to graduation and have a city in mind, it’s a great idea to spend a week or two there, set up shop, and schedule a few interviews in advance. Immersing yourself in a networking community will connect you to a group of knowledgeable industry veterans and create new opportunities and experiences related to your chosen field.

Don’t ignore the power of an internship

Real-world experience in your desired profession goes a long way, especially when coupled with proven academic prowess. When looking at candidates with identical degrees, most hiring managers will grant a coveted interview with those who’ve proven they can perform their desired job.

Work on your soft skills

Soft skills, those that don’t seemingly affect your job, are vital to your overall success. Things such as communication and customer service skills can lead you further down your chosen career path.

Job hunting tips

Before you ever go to your first interview, it is important to polish your face-to-face skills. Go ahead and outfit your wardrobe with a few key pieces, including some classic black pumps, which pair well with any outfit. Make sure you know exactly what the company does and what the role requires. Don’t ask the interviewer questions that you could’ve easily found the answer to on your own. Instead, show a genuine interest in the culture of the company. Speaking of the interviewer, make sure to remember their name(s) – there is nothing more embarrassing than calling your future boss Carol when her name is Cindy. Be polite, courteous, and succinct in your answers. Maintain an air of professionalism at all times…even while sitting in the waiting room. Finally, don’t be afraid to tell the interviewer that you believe you are a strong candidate, that you’re interested in the position, and that you would welcome the opportunity for a second sit down session.


Gloria runs WomenLed.org, which celebrates women’s achievements in the workplace and beyond. She believes that while women have made many advancements toward “shattering the glass ceiling,” there is still much to be done. It is her aim to help increase the number of women-led businesses by educating others about the topic.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

What’s Next After Graduation? Looking for Your First Job 1

Congratulations, you’ve graduated from college! But now that you’ve gotten your diploma, what’s next?

Step one: Find a job.

If you haven’t found a job and you are already into the summer of your graduation, then it is time to update your resume, apply for a number of jobs that you qualify for, and prepare for the professional interviews that are to come.

When building your resume, be sure to research as much as you can online from a variety of different sources. Trends in hiring can, and do, change quite often, which means it is vital for you to be able to create a resume that will highlight your skills and experience and get noticed by potential employers. A resume is a bit like an elevator pitch of your accomplishments. Keep in mind keywords, format, length, readability, relevant experience, and anything else that will show hiring managers what value you can bring to their company.

Depending on your degree, stay open minded about the types of jobs you apply to. Look for work that has decent starting pay, is generally in your desired career field, and offers you a chance to gain quality experience and learn from your employer. You may be sick of learning, but college and work are two completely different worlds. Getting an internship at a company where you want to work is also a good way to get your foot in the door.

Never pass up the opportunity to work under experienced professionals that can mentor you and give you valuable skills to put on your resume for your next job. Believe it or not, only around 27 percent of college graduates find a job that is directly related to their major, according to the US Bureau of the Census. What this means is the bulk of your skills will come from on-the-job experience, so finding an employer that will help you grow is essential.

No matter what your goals are, the most important part is to keep an open mind. You never know what sorts of opportunities will present themselves. Fortune favors the bold, so get out there and start applying.

Important Tips for the Recent College Grad Reply

The late nights cramming for finals is over; you’ve put your cap and gown away…yes, you’ve survived college and it’s time to enter the real world.  Now before you start picking out the Ferrari or the McMansion, the first thing you’ll need to do is find a job.  While you’ve likely taken some type of employment seminar, nothing in the real world is ever textbook.  Below are important tips that I believe every new graduate should follow.

Network, network, network!  Like most recent graduates, your network is likely more limited than those who’ve been in the workforce for several years.  One thing to remember, especially in a tight job market (and even in a great market) is that many times the old adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” does hold some truth.  Sure, you still need to be qualified, however it never helps to have someone on the inside.  So how does one network?

  • LinkedIn– not your traditional networking, however this is one social network you don’t want to dismiss!
  • Connect/converse without limits– don’t sell your network short by networking with only those who can help you achieve your goals. Be open, honest and genuine with everyone- it’s amazing how small the world is and karma has a way of coming back to find us.
  • Listen- don’t just listen for opportunities in the ‘now’, listen to what those around you say. What makes their job difficult?  Is that something you can fix?  If you’re able to connect these dots the opportunities afforded to you will be many.

Concentrate on that Resume!  A resume, by Webster’s own definition, is simple- it’s a personal summary.  So why not skip all the theatrics, slap together a few blurbs around your experience and start getting those applications out the door?  The reality is that for each position you apply for, there are hundreds, if not more, other people trying to get the coveted interview.  Now you don’t need to ship your resume off with glitter ink, watermarks and neon orange paper (unless the position calls for quirky or gaudy), however you do need to make sure that the content of your resume is organized in a manner that easy to digest.

  • Styles- make sure the overall style of your resume plays to your strengths. As a recent graduate you will want to focus on the skills and knowledge that you’ve just earned.  A narrative focusing on how those courses and any extracurricular activities relate to the position at hand may be the best way to go.
  • The little things– even the most perfect resume in the world is quickly derailed by spelling and grammar errors. Unless you’ve broke out the quill and ink vial, give the spellchecker a click and then make sure you give it a once over- if possible find another set of eyes to review.  Don’t be that guy…or gal who fails to heed this advice!
  • Customize- unless you’re applying for the same position at the same organization over and over again, you should have more than one resume. In fact, you should make sure that each resume is suited and tailored for each position which you apply.
  • Keywords- make sure your resume is filled with keywords, this will ensure your resume will make it through the applicant tracking system. Often, keywords are simply job titles, skills, certifications and so on. I would suggest making a list of your targeted jobs and review the job posting and make a list of what terms or keywords appear many times, as this will give you an idea of what to use in your resume.

Beyond these tips, remember that even in the greatest of economies it takes time to land that perfect job.  If you’re not getting much traction in the way of interviews, consider using a professional resume writer.  They’re often able to help punch past that first layer and help land the interview.  In the end, remain positive and be persistent as you follow your dreams.

 

Michelle Kruse has more than 10 years of hiring and recruiting experience and a background in coaching and leadership development. At ResumeEdge, Michelle recruits and hires resume writers, provides training and ongoing support, manages strategic partnerships and serves as a subject matter expert on the job search process.