I get frustrated when I see my peers whining about the dreaded job search. Sometimes I feel like there needs to be a campus-wide memo that says “the diploma you receive from this university does not guarantee a job post-graduation.” If you’re not pro-active in your job search, you won’t find a job; it is as simple as that.
So if you’re in communications, and in college, and looking for a job because you don’t have one, heed this advice:
1) Get active on Social Media. I scored my internship via Twitter. Social media gives you a chance people never had before, which is to directly interact with these companies and agencies without even leaving your home. I’ve been approached by three different companies about internships because they were impressed with my social media presence. There’s also small communities out there building up on twitter, follow people in your field, follow people who interest you, and then talk to these people. When it comes down to it, the world is just about who you know and when someone hears of a job opening, they’re more likely to recommend you for it if they know who you are.
2) Don’t wait until your senior year to start “getting out there.” Start looking at internships when you’re a sophomore and plan out how you’re going to get those internships come your junior and senior years. If you are driven and do awesome at your internship, bossman (or woman) is going to be keener on having you full-time and giving you one of those fancy paycheck things every two weeks.
3) Speaking of Internships: Get One. Employers love job experience. If you don’t have job experience, then you need to get it. Flippin’ burgers at McD’s the past four years isn’t exactly what corporate yuppies are looking for, you know, unless you’re working corporate at McD’s. But if you’re in communications like I am, well, that just isn’t too impressive on your resume. The people you meet at these internships, assuming you’re not holed away in a storage room filing paperwork and filling coffee cups, can lead to full-time opportunities down the road. Plus, you’ll learn all kinds of valuable things. These internships really help you in figuring out if you made the right career choice.
4) Network your Heart Out: I <3 networking. The great thing about networking is that usually you can find yourself in a room with a handful of people who have the same interests that you do. So take advantage of that and chat it up. There’s plenty of networking events out there for young adults, or industry members. For my St. Louis readers, there is options such as these or these.
5) Go to class: I’m throwing this in here because it’s a good habit to have. Along with the other good habits to have, such as brushing your teeth, showering on a regular basis and not having an e-mail like firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t get in a routine of getting up late, because believe me, it is hard to break and it encourages your already-bad habit of procrastinating. Employers love punctual people (my boss also loves punctuation but that’s not related), so get in the habit of being on time so you’re not as miserable come your first day at the 9-5.
Most of the things I mentioned here are common sense, but unfortunately we can forget the most common things at times. Also, Gen Y is notorious for being lazy and less driven than their Gen X counterparts, or their parents’ generation. I’d personally like to say that’s a lie, but sometimes it does ring true. You can’t procrastinate on establishing your career though, because that will just result in a surplus of stress post-graduation and you’ll blog all of your woes away and nobody will care. Just sayin’.