Today we continue a series where we follow a college student as she navigates the final years of college and the professional world. Every quarter you will get an update from our “Soon To Be College Grad” about her career preparation and job search process. Hopefully, this will also help you see what resources are available and what other college students and new grads are doing as they head out into the real world. If you have any other advice of what you are doing to prepare for after graduation, please share in the comments! I am excited to hear your thoughts!
Here’s an exciting update from Clare from Twirling Clare. Her story is a GREAT example of how you never know where you might meet someone who can help you reach your dreams and goals. Always be ready! If you missed her initial introduction, make sure you read Life of a Soon to be College Grad: Meet Clare.
How is the job search going?
Over Christmas break while working in Alligator Purse, a women’s apparel boutique in Cincinnati, I assisted a male customer searching for a Christmas gift for his wife. While he was in the store, we got to talking and I mentioned to him about my blog, my career interests, and other outlooks on the current job market. After he checked out, he informed me that he was the Publisher of an up and coming Cincinnati Lifestyle & Event Guide magazine called Venue. He left me his contact information and I emailed him to pursue a possible career opportunity. After several weeks of discussing potential projects, we decided that I would be a weekly correspondent on local philanthropies and nonprofits around the Cincinnati area. I will be writing about a 300-400 word write-up on these local foundations each week which will be featured on Venue’s website. I am ecstatic about the project and eager to start working. The first publication was just released and you can read it here on the Venue website. I am officially the Venue Lifestyle and Event Guide as a weekly blog correspondent on Nonprofit and Philanthropies in the Cincinnati area.
Have you used the career services office at your school? If so, how have they have helped you?
In addition to my job opportunity, I also stopped into the Career Service Center at my school to talk about life, networking, and all of the other fun “real world” steps that will need to take place in the next couple of weeks. I met with the Director of the Career Services Department for over an hour and the meeting went very well. After checking in, I was asked to enter my contact information into a database to connect students from our school with networking opportunities from a broad collection of alums who are also registered in the system.
When I met with the director of Career Services, I told her about my upcoming project for the semester. She said that I was on the right track for lining up future job opportunities and told me the important skills it takes for relationships like that to work out positively. She said that a vast majority of the jobs available are not advertised, not listed online, not in classified pages. If an employer meets you and wants you to work for him or her…they will do anything they can to ensure that you’ll be a new employee. So, how do you become that person? Personality. Even though good grades, involvement, and a strong resume helps, a lot of times you’ll be hired based on who you are as a person. Your charm, your conversation skills, your demeanor. Your personality is your best asset and you are in full control over your behaviors…and it just so happens that this will make the best impression. Therefore, regardless if you are working in a boutique, at a networking event, or simply grocery shopping, let your personality shine! There are the strongest moments for someone to recognize your character and see whether or not you would be a good fit for his or her company and they will act upon it if they want you.
What is one thing that you want to share with readers who may be in a similar situation as you?
It is important to realize that every connection, every job opportunity, is a step to fulfilling your dream. Continue to build a networking list and come up with goals. Start with short term goals, like where do you want to be this summer? If it’s an internship, what type of job? Do you like interacting with people? Answer basic questions such as those to pivot you forward for your next steps. If you have a job now, do not hesitate to suggest an assessment point. It is always helpful for you and your employer to take a step back and observe how your work is going and whether or not a revamping needs to be done. Not only will you feel more invested in your work, but it will also show your employer that you want to provide the best for the company and yourself.
Finally, do not hesitate to reach big. Have a dream job? Contact their Human Resources department, it never hurts to try. The most important advice, on that note, is to know your passion. Just as your personality is your strongest asset, so is your passion. Be well versed on your area of expertise. Do you love fashion? Tell someone about it, tell them why you love it, know why you love it. Are you a scientist? Tell someone about your research, an experiment you are working on, a development you hope to be part of in the overall scientific community. The same can be said about whatever your interests are and wherever your passions lie.
What’s your advice for preparing for the real world after college?