So you put in all of the work and everything does come down to this moment. You have finally finished all of the standardized tests and written all the papers for all of the overbearing professors. You no longer have to worry about anybody telling you that you have to complete this task by this particular time if you do not want to. However, you will also find that this freedom comes with a price.
The fact that you are now out of the protection of the school means that you have to create your own structure, aka get a job. Here are some of the ways in which you can create that structure around yourself.
– Take a look at the industries that are geared towards your area of study.
There is a huge push towards the notion that most of the college degrees that you get in the liberal arts are useless. Although it is definitely true that STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degrees are more direct pathways to high paying jobs, you can get a job with any liberal arts degree if you know how to play your cards. The secret is to market yourself with the specific skills that your potential employer needs.
If you have a so called “soft degree,” such as sociology or psychology, you need to play up your hard skills. Talk about the industry standard programs that you took in your minor classes and give your employer something to work with from day one. This is what employers of people with liberal degrees are really looking for – something that they can start using to make money with on day one of your employment.
– If you do not know any industry standard tech, then learn some.
Your degree will give you an expedited entrance into many short tech courses that will provide you with a specific certification that you can use immediately. For instance, you can gain a certification in Microsoft that tells a potential employer that you are a master of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access, and the rest of the programs in the Microsoft Word bundle. With a degree under your belt, you can graduate from these classes in a summer or less. Use the summer after your graduation to earn one of these certifications. Alongside your degree, you will make a very attractive package.
Make sure that you target employers before you choose your certification program. Your choice of certifications needs to be very precise to the industry and the company that you choose. Remember that you need something that your employer can use on day one. If you do not know exactly what your chosen employers might want, simply check one of their online job descriptions.
– Start a business of your own and leverage that into a position with a company.
Many employers are hand picking their new employees not from resumes, but from side projects that people release themselves. This is one of the top methods for the top tech firms to pick their new employees. They will wait until recent graduates put together a successful project and pick people with the skills that they need from that pool.
Most importantly, even if you are not one of these first round draft picks, you will begin to build the skill set that you need in order to employ yourself. This is one of the ways in which new graduates are putting together a living – having many part time jobs instead of just one full time job. As a matter of fact, this is the preferred method of employment in large metropolitan cities such as Los Angeles and New York. Apply with temp firms that are specifically in your industry and start taking the small jobs. They essentially amount to paid internships, but they are a great way to get your foot in the door with top employers in your field.
– Make sure that you are connected with the decision makers in your industry on social media platforms.
As you build your business and apply at temp firms, you must make yourself available on social media. There are many sites that employers use specifically to find new employees. You need to get on these websites and maintain a presence.
Sites such as LinkedIn give you the ability to connect with top employers and make an impression through writing articles and participating in group discussions. You can soft sell your services here without seeming desperate.
Amy Klimek is an experienced HR recruiter and VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter, a company that simplifies the hiring process for small to medium size businesses. Prior to that Amy has held similar roles at Rent.com, eBay and US Interactive.
For Amy, corporate culture isn’t about dogs and free lunches, it’s about empowering employees and creating an enriching environment for people to excel.