For a college student, nothing feels better than moving your tassel from the left to the right, signifying that you are officially an alumni. You have finally made it! All of those sleepless “ramen noodle-study” nights have finally paid off. It is almost like an instant feeling of euphoria, like you have finally arrived. Then suddenly, all at once, all of your thoughts become jumbled into one big mesh of confusion, and reality begins to set in; I am actually an adult now.
If you participated in an internship or various volunteer efforts throughout your college career, then more than likely you already have an offer on the table for a position of employment. However, if you were not previously employed in your field of study prior to completing college, or if you have not participated in an internship, then this is the time that worry and anxiety begins to flood your mind. Questions of “What do I do now” or “Will anyone hire me without experience” begin to fill the mind. If this sounds like a story or a fairy-tale, it is not. Many college students encounter various obstacles and real life challenges when they exit their college career.
One obstacle that college graduates commonly experience is lack of necessary education. Depending on one’s career choice, furthering your education may be a requirement in order to receive certain positions. For instance, to become a teacher, depending on the grade level that one will teach, masters level or even PHD level courses may be necessary. Another obstacle that college students commonly face when exiting their college career is accepting failure. One of my high school friends graduated college with her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice last year, and has ventured off on many interviews, but to no avail. One vital piece of advice that she gained from her interview experience was, in order to succeed in your job search, you must first become comfortable with failure. Most college students believe that they will land a job straight out of college, but the reality is, there are many employers that will not hire without prior experience. However, failure is not always a bad thing. The process of going on multiple interviews can enlighten one on what they will like, dislike, expect and require from the job that they will eventually obtain. Persistence is the key to finding a job, so failure will teach you what employers really want.
Another challenge is lack of opportunity and settling for less. Due to lack of experience and limited opportunities for college graduates, most students feel like they have to settle or accept anything that comes their way; Negotiation is key to succeeding as a college graduate in the work force. Set clear boundaries, be firm and know what you expect before approaching an interview or accepting a position.
One piece of advice that is helpful for choosing and successfully landing a career out of college is being diligent. Research information about each company prior to endeavoring on any interviews; Know the company inside and out, have questions that your are ready to ask and express interest in what you like about the company. Showing an employer that you have done your research before hand, is an excellent way of selling yourself to the employer and showing how you stand out. Most college students expect to receive an easy handout when searching for careers, but the reality is that there are many qualified applicants that are willing to push the envelope to show what they possess. So don’t be afraid to brag about yourself a little bit.
In conclusion, there are many challenges, obstacles and eye opening realities for college graduates. However, with persistence, diligence and confidence, one can master the trials of the job force.
By: Lamasia Moss