“The time has come,” the walrus said, “to get a job.” Transitioning from college to career can be difficult for some. But if they’re prepared, new graduates can make that transition a little easier for themselves. So, what do recent grads need to know going into the workforce? According to career expert J.T. O’Donnell, a lot of employers are skeptical about hiring recent grads due to their lack of experience. But what can grads to do overcome this common challenge? If you want to stand out and prove your value to employers, you have to show that you’re resourceful. “They’re looking for young professionals who can prove that they can hold themselves accountable, that they can manage themselves, that they can figure out problems for themselves, that they can seek answers on their own, that they can get work done without a lot of hand-holding and instruction,” said O’Donnell. “They’re looking for real independent self-starters.” But how can you convey this to employers as a recent grad? According to O’Donnell, the best thing you can do is to share examples of times in your life when you took initiative during job interviews. When were you able to step up, take care of business, and get things done without a lot of help? Those are examples you need to share. “When you can prove that to employers, you’re proving that you’ll truly be resourceful on the job and they’re not going to have to do all of that extra hand-holding,” said O’Donnell.
We've got some bad news for you, college grads. That diploma you've worked so hard to get isn't worth as much as you might think. In fact, your college degree doesn't matter to employers (in a lot of cases). Here's why... While they are required in certain fields, college degrees have become sort of a prerequisite for jobs. That means, more people are attending college. As a result, there's a LOT of competition out there when it comes to finding your first job after college. So, your shiny college degree doesn't set you apart from the thousands of other graduates just like you. But what can? According to career expert J.T. O'Donnell, your aptitude and personality can really help to set you apart from all of these other recent grads. Your aptitude is your natural ability to do something. What unique strengths can you bring to an organization? How can they add value? Your personality is also an important factor here. How do you interact with people? How do you connect with them? Your personality can really set you apart from other candidates if you're a good culture fit at an organization, so don't be afraid to let the real you shine. "When you can display great attributes with your aptitude and your personality, you are going to stand out to employer because EVERYBODY has a college degree," said O'Donnell. Plus, most recent graduates don't have a ton of experience to offer employers. As a result, the only things they can differentiate you on are your aptitude and personality. Remember, in most cases, your college degree doesn't' matter to employers. Get clear on your strengths and character traits so you can show your value to employers.
Full disclosure: I graduated college a LONG time ago. The year was 1975 to be exact. Gerald Ford was President of the United States, gas was 44 cents per gallon, and the Cold War was on. The Vietnam War was still raging, and some kid named Bill Gates was founding something called Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Related: 5 Tips For Recent Grads Entering The Workforce My first job as a teacher in a rural school district in Virginia paid me $5,800 a year…that’s right, a YEAR! I was paid in 10 installments, so my check before taxes was $580 per month, and my rent was $180. I split that with my roommate (until she moved out). I managed by eating yogurt for lunch every day. (I could buy 5 for a $1.00 on special every week.) My dad would occasionally give me a $20, and eventually, I got a second job to help supplement an income that wasn’t enough to pay my bills on its own. My second year out, I took a comparable job teaching in a neighboring district and got a $4000 raise. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! Now that I look back on it, I realize just how narcissistic I was. I was 23 years old, and I was only barely aware of what was going on in the world because I watched the 6:00 news…there weren’t as many channels to watch, and all you could watch at 6:00 was the news. Imagine! What was going on in the “world,” however, had little to do with me…I thought. I was just trying to make it from day to day. I cared nothing about much of anything except my small little world and my even smaller daily routine. Now that I am at the other end of my career, looking back, there are things that I wish I had known as I accepted my diploma in June of 1975, and as new graduates prepare to accept their diplomas, I would like to offer the following four bits of advice:
Are you already feeling like you’ve missed out on the top graduate jobs and big graduate schemes? Don’t worry, there’s a great opportunity that you may not have thought of, that might even suit you better. Apply to work at an SME. Related: How To Get A Graduate Job After College So, what is an SME? Small Medium Enterprises make up more than 99% of private sector business in the UK and the US, and are characterized by a lower number of employees and lower turnover rates. Importantly, it seems like staff are actually far more content at SMEs. Research by TUC discovered that SME employees are not only most satisfied at work, but also most content with their freedom to choose working hours, most engaged by their employers, and subjected to much lower levels of stress and bullying. Besides the statistics, why should you apply to work at an SME? Well, just to start you’ll…
As a young, soon-to-be college graduate, I have been facing the many of the same anxieties other soon-to-be grads are facing: Where am I going to work after graduation? How will I land my dream job? How am I going to pay off this mortgage-sized loan that built up for a degree? These are just some of the questions that swarmed my head on a daily basis throughout college. Related: 5 Tips For Recent Grads Entering The Workforce Although uncertainty is something that makes us most nervous, it shouldn’t. Undergrads should be excited that they do not have the rest of their life mapped out because it’s never a straight line to your dream job.