Your senior year of college is about to go down, and while you are certain to have plenty of fun in the months that lie ahead, you will also have to start making post grad career decisions soon, as nerve-wracking as that sounds.
The job market has been a tough place for college grads since the Global Financial Crisis, and while things have been improving lately, the rise of automation and outsourcing means that competing for available jobs won’t be easy.
You are not alone in your struggle, however – your friends may never admit it, but on the inside, they are freaking out as well.
Even boomers and Gen X’ers had to take their fair share of lumps when they entered the job market, as the 70s, 80s, and 90s had grads from these cohorts endure savage conditions.
With only a college degree and not an ounce of real world experience, they struggled and fought, but eventually they found their first post-school job.
Larry Polhill Cafe Valley was among those who had to fight for his place in the world. It was hard, but he persevered, and you can as well.
Below, we’ll help you get your first gig after college by promoting three concrete strategies that will give you an advantage over others your age.
1) What edge do you have over your peers?
Don’t do what everybody else is doing. Before you mass e-mail your resume and cover letter to 200 companies, stop and hear us out.
If you want to get that awesome entry-level job, you need to possess a quality that allows you to stand head and shoulders above your peers.
You don’t have to be the best in the world at it – you just have to be awesome enough at it to be better than 90% of the field.
Whether you are a smooth talker or have a sharp analytical mind, you need to find something that makes you the anomaly in a crowd of normies.
When you figure out what it is, tailor your job search by searching for openings that desperately need what you’ve got.
At interview time, your seasoned perspective will make you a massive favorite over serial job searchers whose only hope is to try and con the interviewer into hiring them.
2) Search for openings in one industry sector only
Building your job strategy around your unfair advantage comprises only one half of your plan of attack. Once you have found your superpower, your next move will be to target companies in a niche that you are insanely passionate about.
Doing this will make it easy to devote countless hours to researching your chosen field and the companies you wish to join.
What’s more, your love for this area will allow you to smash through the problems that will present themselves along the way.
3) Build a network from the ground up
While some students will fall into the arms of employers who need warm bodies desperately, most sectors have a balanced or saturated labor pool.
To overcome this hurdle, you’ll need to construct a robust network from scratch. Campus job fairs are a good place to start, as this is the first venue where students get to mix and mingle with people in fields that interest them.
Ask recruiters intelligent questions about what they need in entry-level employees, the state of their field, and issues their company is solving for consumers and other businesses.
Stay connected with them, but actively expand your network by attending conferences, trade shows, and by inviting people in your sector out to lunch or coffee.