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How to Prep for the Job Market in College

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prepare for a job in college

A large part of the reason you’re at college is admittedly to have fun. The real reason you pay your tuition bill, however, is so that you will be well prepared to enter the job market upon graduation.

Unfortunately, more and more recent graduates are having trouble landing valuable positions once they remove their cap and gown. Many are taking jobs well below their training and a great deal are moving back in with their parents.

College, in and of itself, does a great deal to prepare students for the job market. There are, however, specific actions you can take (other than getting better grades) that will increase your chances of landing a job quickly after graduation. Here are three of them to help you get started.

1. Network, Network, Network

“It’s not what you know but who you know” that counts. This is especially true when searching for a job after college.

80% of all jobs are found through personal connections. The last 20% is split up between everyone who still thinks applying with a cold email and a resume is the way to get hired.

When you are in college you are surrounded by like-minded people all looking to help each other in any way possible. Getting to know a large number of these people and staying close with them is the best way to find a job you’ll like upon graduation.

Sending cold resumes to employers will (maybe) get you a 5% response rate. Calling a friend who works for a company you’d like to join is much more likely to land you an interview.

2. Get Experience Outside Class

If your resume has little more than your degree and some waitressing experience, you’ll be hard pressed to convince an employer (even the employer of your ex-roommate) to hire you. Getting internships at companies in the area you’re excited about is a great way to gain experience and differentiate yourself from the other resumes on your interviewers’ desks.

It’s possible to work an internship while in classes if you feel you can balance your time. Summer is also a great opportunity for getting experience as you will be able to work full time and hone in on specific skills.

[Search for internships in your area.]

3. Get a Unique Minor

Your big shiny finance degree may look good on your wall but it looks just like everyone else’s finance degree when buried in a stack of resumes. Adding a minor to your main degree in an area that interests you is a great way to differentiate yourself when it comes to the interview process.

A minor in biology or physics will make you stand out, and show that you have interests outside your career focus appeals to recruiters and interviewers. Job candidates who appear too linearly focused appear boring to hiring managers and are often the first to be discarded.

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