Congratulations on graduating from college! Now it's time for the hard part: finding a job. After years of all-nighters, tests, and term papers, it's time to hang up your backpack and pick up your briefcase. But when's the best time to look for a job after college? When should you start looking for a job? The short answer is: immediately. Unfortunately, that might not be what you want to hear (or, in this case, read). You might be tempted to take the summer off and enjoy your “last summer" before officially entering the “real world." And hey, I don't blame you. However, this probably isn't the best thing for you to do right now. Hate to break it to you. “The truth is, employers want to see hustle," said career expert J.T. O'Donnell. “They want to see drive, they want to see eagerness." What they DON'T want to see, according to O'Donnell, is someone who sits back and waits for opportunities to come. Great employers are looking for grads who are proactive and take initiative. The competition is tough during graduation season, it's true. Everyone is getting out and looking for work, so it can be hard to stand out. But you need to get started as soon as possible in order to get ahead of the game. “The sooner you get out there, the sooner you can prove to employers that YOU are the one to hire," said O'Donnell. Plus, even if you start now, it could take months to find a job after college. So, don't put it off - otherwise, you might set yourself up for an extra long stay at your parents house while you look for a job…
For some college students, an educational major is more of a choice stemming from one’s personal passion and interest rather than what might be most practical for a traditional post-education career. This can certainly be said for the bold, brave, and visionary individuals who go into art education to expand their knowledge. Related: 6 Ways Recent Graduates Can Stand Out As Professionals And there certainly are career opportunities for those skilled in providing new perspectives. Those with creative vision can make extraordinary artists, authors, and inventors—but when that vision is applied recklessly or without focus, graduates can be burned by hiring managers like a fledgling Icarus flying too close to the sun. Art majors may not have as surefire of an employment rate as other fields. In fact, photographic art, fine arts, and graphic design all appear in Forbes’ “The 10 Worst College Majors” list due to higher unemployment levels than more traditional business-oriented degrees. However, bearing in mind the following food for thought can help you reach your professional aspirations. While statistics can be grim, the fact is that individuals with passion and an original vision are always in high demand in today’s workforce. So, before taking the college plunge, how do you find your footing in a real world career with an art degree in hand?
Identify What Makes An Employable ArtistUnemployment in the arts is not a reflection of poor artistic skills. Rather, it can indicate a wide range of problems, most of which can be corrected with patience and persistence. Take freelance opportunities whenever you’re able. Whether a Fortune 500 company is looking for a new visionary for their ad campaign or a local band is soliciting posters on Craigslist, keep in mind that no job is too small when it comes to expanding your portfolio, experiences, and network. Just make sure you’re compensated fairly for your hard work and make sure your clients value your time as much as you do. This will keep your rent paid, expand your body of work, and help avoid those dreaded unemployment gaps while you’re looking for a steady job. Make the effort to network with your peers and with any clients with whom you’ve worked or freelanced for in the past. In an industry where anyone with access to a computer can slap together a logo on free image editing software and call it a day, you need a network of believers who can vouch in your work and rely on you when something professional needs to be created.
Reassess Your Need For Professional QualificationsIt’s worth considering that such a nontraditional career choice might not necessitate a traditional 4-year Bachelor’s degree. At a fraction of the cost and time, earning a lower credential at an accredited online university or trade school may be all that you need to develop your portfolio and gain the experience necessary to catch the eye of potential employers. For many art-related careers, personal skill amounts to far more than alengthy formal education. A vocational certificate in fine arts or digital arts can provide the base skills necessary to create a portfolio in a sliver of the time it takes to acquire a full degree, and are more often than not applicable towards a full degree’s credits depending on where you transfer.
Ask Yourself: Is A Career For You?For those reading this far, the question can feel redundant. Do you produce work that you feel requires a nine-to-five? Can you sustain yourself as a freelance artist, or do you need to zero in on a career for financial stability? While the starving artist persona may be romantic for some, it’s not a lifestyle that every artist is cut out for. For those who feel iffy about their prospects, expanding your education by acquiring a certificate or Associate’s degree in a related artistic field can help expand your opportunities if you lack the experience or skill set to produce marketable or business-oriented work. Even taking one course to refresh your skills in modern editing software or applications can be a tremendous boon to your abilities. Nobody wants to consider themselves a sell-out, but at the end of the day, steady employment depends on your ability to create relevant, impactful art that businesses can use, people can connect with, or that users find desirable. Staying hip to current design trends while being a proactive networker are your greatest assets in keeping your career on the up-and-up. As long as you’re able to meet those needs, you just might be surprised with your opportunities as a visionary. This is a guest post.
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Although recent graduates haven’t been leaving their colleges and universities with optimistic predictions about finding the jobs of their dreams, the current situation on the job market looks promising. According to the latest estimations, 90% of the graduates of class of 2008-09 (which finished their studies at the onset of the crisis) have been employed. Related: 6 Job Search Tips For New Graduates The largest graduate employers are assured that recruitment opportunities for graduates are improving with a steady pace. The chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters, Stephen Isherwood, recognizes that the market is still tough, but many employers are willing to invest in graduate talent.
Which sectors welcome graduate students?The level of recruitment differs between different sectors, but the largest number of vacancies is advertised in the sectors of consulting, retail and engineering, as well as the public sector. A steady growth of recruitment has also been noticed in the IT and telecoms sectors. However, there are industries where recruitment is still pretty flat, such as law and baking. The statistics released by Hesa (Higher Education Statistics Authority) are showing that 14.1% of the graduates that finished full-time degree courses in 2008-09 found jobs in the professional, scientific and technical sector (which includes many fields from legal advice, to bookkeeping or architectural services), while 18.8% were employed in the sector of health and social work. The educational sector was the most accepting sector for graduates, hiring 25.5% of them.
The trend of graduates starting careers in the educational sectorAlthough the educational sector has been dubbed as a plaything of politics (read Essay: Colleges As Playthings Of Politics), many graduates are willing to get a job in education. Teach First certainly has something to do with this trend, since this organization inspires students from top universities to start building their teaching careers in state schools. The director of graduate recruitment at Teach First, James Darley, says that this scheme managed to attract many young people because it offers them an opportunity to give back to society. This program is extremely popular today, which indicates that graduates don’t mind perceiving the startup of their careers as “a job for now” instead of “a job for life”. Teaching jobs are extremely valued “portfolio careers”, since they add versatility to young people’s professional biographies. Not all graduates who complete the Teach First program decide to stay in teaching, but the fact that this organization offered them a valuable experience is undeniable. Since 2003, more than 50% of the graduates who were part of this program decided to continue with their careers as educators after completing two years of teaching.
How important is the degree subject?Many recent graduates who decided to become part of the Teach First program are not interested in staying teachers for life. Their plans usually involve this path for the first few years after graduation, but most members of the program want to continue working as professionals in the field they graduated in. Politics and international relations, for example, are very attractive fields for young people, but they are also difficult to get into, so many graduates decide to accept a teaching career until they pace the route to their professional accomplishment. Michael Collins, a graduate of politics and international relations, says that he accepted teaching history because he wanted to get a job that involved responsibility and commitment, and would be fulfilling and challenging for him at the same time. Although history wasn’t his degree subject, he studied it with excellence. Although not all graduates who are part of the Teach First program end up teaching a subject related to their degree, most of them find the degree subject exceptionally important in the current job they have. Nowadays, many employers are not very interested in the degree field of the job candidates; they are more bothered with the right creative and thinking skills. Of course, some sectors, such as the engineering for example, remain fishing in their corresponding pools, but human resource departments of broader sectors (such as retail or management for example) don’t mind giving chances to graduates with various degree subjects.
Are creative degrees a wise choice?Students with degrees in creative disciplines have a lot of potential to bring diversity and improvements in many sectors, from engineering to entertainment. Although creative degrees are not always considered as an artful choice, they have helped many graduates to use their potential within the design industries, as well as seemingly unrelated industries, such as healthcare or engineering. Every sector needs talented professionals who can make its products more effective and user-friendly. We no longer imagine an artist as someone starving because of being misunderstood. Students with creative degrees have greater opportunities than ever before. The job description of an artist is greatly changed in the era of technology, animators, web designers, and so on. Instead of being part of only one segment of the job market, creative graduates are now needed literally everywhere.
What are the salaries of recent graduates?Unfortunately, graduates from design and creative art courses are usually among the professionals with lowest income. Those sectors, along with agriculture, documentation, mass communication and related fields, are usually earning less than $35,200 during the first few years after graduation. Naturally, the amount a young graduate earns is dependent upon the subject of their studies, as well as the industry they get employed by. Graduates from dentistry and medicine have higher earnings, starting from $50,000 after graduation and going up to $67,000 after two or three years. According to statistics, male graduates earn more than their female counterparts.
Does the degree grade matter?Higher rates of unemployment are generally related to lower degree grades. All employers who want to hire recent graduates with a higher intellectual level are not only interest in the degree classifications, but in Ucas points as well. Besides expecting a higher degree grade, employers are also looking for self-awareness and self-confidence in job applicants. They don’t want to hire just any graduate; they are looking for people with commercial awareness, ability to work with numbers, and good skills of communication. Besides appreciating good grades, employers are also paying attention to the way candidates come across at interviews.
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There's a reason why good business grad schools are putting more dollars and resources into their career centers these days. It's because job hunting is complicated, especially for those who are entering a new field as newly graduated professionals. Related: 11 Job Search Commandments For College Grads Take a look at these common job hunting mistakes, and you'll already be a step ahead of the competition…
1. Trying to be a jack of all trades.It may have looked great on your business grad school applications to list all of your extracurricular and volunteer activities, but an employer wants to know specifically how you'll make a contribution to their team. That's not to say that you can't apply for jobs that aren't directly related to your major, but something on your resume, or in your interview answers must indicate why you are a good fit for that particular position/company. For instance, something like, “My work with the student newspaper taught me how to manage a project within a specific budget, and on deadline."
2. Thinking employers will come flocking to them.Once upon a time, a couple of generations ago, you might have heard about graduates being offered jobs on the spot by corporate recruiters, simply because they had strong GPAs. That sort of thing just doesn't happen these days (well, except for maybe an elite few). Expect to pound the pavement, attend job fairs, build a network, and hone your resume if you want to get noticed and stand out in a good way.
3. Not tailoring cover letters and resumes to the job listing.When you're applying for a job, take the time to find out the name of the hiring manager (“to whom it may concern" is an instant turn off!). Then, be sure to read the listing and match your qualifications and experience to what the company is looking for in terms of their needs. It will show that you went the extra mile.
4. Only inquiring about jobs that are listed.There's some stat out there that only 15 percent of hires result from help wanted ads. The fact is, many job openings are simply not posted on online job boards, but that doesn't mean that your dream company isn't hiring. Sending out letters of interest along with your resume is a good way to at least be brought in for a meeting, get on the radar of and connect with someone at the company, or even be put at the top of the pile should a position open up.
5. Not maintaining employer-friendly social media accounts.You might think a killer LinkedIn profile is all you need to look good to a potential employer, but think again. Many recruiters and HR professionals will Google you, check out your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts, and even dig up nasty comments you left on someone's blog two years ago. Keep a clean digital footprint, or it will come back to haunt you.
6. Dressing like a student.There's no such thing as overdressing for an interview. When in doubt, go with the suit and tie, even if you suspect a more casual workplace environment. This applies to on-campus career fairs as well. Showing up in jeans and a college sweatshirt will not leave a favorable impression of you as a potential employee.
7. Thinking too narrowly about where to apply.Just because you majored in accounting doesn't mean you can only work for an accounting firm. Nearly every business needs to have a financial whiz on staff to manage things like payroll, accounts receivable, budgets, and so on. In other words, don't be afraid to venture outside of the few companies that you've imagined yourself working for. Consider the possibilities across other industries, too. The key is to put yourself out there, but in an intelligent, well thought out way. Happy hunting! Enjoy this article? You've got time for another! Check out these related articles:
It’s time to grow up. That’s what they tell everyone after college. It’s time to get a job and be a productive member of society. Nearly everyone in the professional world has some kind of a social media account. This is something you can use to your advantage as a fresh college graduate. Who would have thought that all that time you spent managing your MySpace would turn into practice for finding the right career? Being savvy of the trends in social media is one of the distinct advantages that millennial has over the older members of the job seeking community. Social media can play a key role in helping you establish your professional brand as well as create numerous opportunities that might otherwise not have been made available. I’ve outlined a few ways you can use social media to network after college below:
1. Create An Online PortfolioWith any potential job opportunity, an employer is going to want to know what you’re capable of. There’s a heavy interest in the type of results you can deliver, what your skills are, what you’re experienced in, and so on. That's where an online portfolio comes into play. Sites like Behance.net or dunked.com allow you to create a free online portfolio and upload your work to share on their site as well as other such as LinkedIn (I’ll talk about this more later). Another benefit to online portfolios is they give you a place to share your academic accomplishments. Not all of us are able to engage in work experience prior to graduation, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have any experience or haven’t worked on projects that demonstrate a real and creative person. So, really…add any relevant work you’ve done that helps demonstrate your ability and accomplishments whether it be professional, educational, or just stuff you’ve done freelance or on your own. There aren’t any limitations unless you set them yourself.
2. Create A BlogOf the best ways to demonstrate your thought leadership and skill set is to create a blog. With your blog, you can share your own thoughts and ideas, as well as the thoughts and ideas of others. If something is happening within your industry, write a blog post and discuss it. Share content you come across and write something up about it. One of the cool things about a blog is conversation it can create. First, with blog comments, users can comment and share their opinion and a conversation can start. Second, if you’re referencing someone else’s content or write something based off other content, you can contact that person and let them know about it. That leads to an opportunity to potentially build a relationship with them as well as potentially have your blog post shared with their networks. The real thing to remember is a blog allows you to express yourself and your thoughts, and increase the opportunity to be seen and speak with others.
3. Join LinkedInMore and more, you hear people saying it’s a good idea to get on LinkedIn …and that’s because it is. LinkedIn is the premier social network for professionals to connect. LinkedIn allows you basically create an online resume to brand yourself professionally. You can also obtain professional endorsements; so if have any previous work experience, find who you worked with and ask them for an endorsement. These are a great way to let others know what you’re capable of, and depending on whom that person is, can carry a lot of weight in how others perceive you. One of the really cool things with LinkedIn is that it allows you to bring a more personal touch to finding a job; something that seems to have been lost in such a digital age. It used to be if you made a good impression with the hiring manager face-to-face, it was likely you got the job. Well, with more and more job applications being done online, it’s hard to even make that first impression. With LinkedIn, you can search out jobs as well as search out companies who are hiring. From there, you can find the individuals who work at that company and find an opportunity to engage with them. Depending on the person, you could message them, find their Twitter or blog, or find a group they’re a member of on LinkedIn and join that group, too. In a sense, you’re cyber stalking them, except that you don’t want to put them in your trunk …you just want to create a professional relationship and make a good impression. Ultimately, LinkedIn is the place to brand yourself professionally on a social network and you can do that through both your page and by connecting with others via groups and direct messaging conversations.
4. Keep Your Accounts ProfessionalIt’s no secret that when someone is applying for a job, they’re going to get Googled, and the buck doesn’t stop there. It’s likely that the hiring manager is going to take a look your various social networks, so it’s a good idea to remain professional online (sure you could make your accounts private but that hinders your opportunity to demonstrate who you are and why you’re different from the rest so just keep them public). Don’t go off blasting F-bombs every two seconds and posting pictures being passed out at the local dive bar on a week night. Now, I understand that the way we carry ourselves is open to interpretation, but there is a definite understanding of what should and shouldn’t be posted online. Think of it this way…would you want hire someone who is making a fool of themselves online …probably not. Now, I’m not saying conduct yourself online in a sense that is looks like all you care about is landing a job and talking about x,y,z in industry news and updates …because that looks very fake and boring. What I’m saying is just act like a normal AND professional person. Share anything that interests you and talk with your friends …but just keep it PG-13.
5. Be Social On Social NetworksContrary to what you may think, or see, not everyone is interested in how many industry articles you can share in a day. If you are using social network, be social! Talk with others, comment on their posts, share other people’s post that you find interesting or you think your friends will enjoy. Find relevant hash tags or trending topics within your world and use them to join in conversation. As mentioned earlier with LinkedIn, join relevant groups to either jobs you’re seeking or the industry you’re in. Another important thing to remember is to have a purpose or strategy behind how you’re socializing. Don’t spend all of your time talking with folks who have no bearing on your career or future. Create targeted lists of people, companies, or industries you wish you network with and focus your time and energy engaging with those people since they will be more beneficial in advancing your career and where you want to be. Lastly, by being social, you are able to learn from others, gain new insights, and learn about potential opportunities that otherwise may not have been made available to you.
6. Take Online To OfflineAlright you’ve spent time creating some stuff, you’ve been talking to some people, and people know who you are …now what? Creating and establishing yourself online can get you far…but in order to take it one step further and really carve a niche out for yourself, take your online relationships to the offline level. Once you’ve created relationships with these people, find a place you can meet up and meet face-to-face. It could be a networking event, a coffee shop, a restaurant for lunch …all of that is up to you but the point is to meet in person. Meeting in person can strengthen your relationships and help position you for future opportunities. The more and more you spend networking with your peers both online and offline will help create brand recognition and people will begin to recognize who you are. The stronger your relationships become, the higher potential that when an opportunity comes up, that you’ll get the heads up, or in some cases, the recommendation. All in all, it’s no secret that employers have the upper hand in today’s job market. It’s vital that you do your best to stand out amongst other job seekers. By using the social media skills that have been outlined above, you’re sure to have your voice heard, and be opening the door much sooner to your successful future after your college graduation. Enjoy this article? You've got time for another! Check out these related articles:
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