Recent statistics show that this is the best job market for graduates in the past decade. However, these graduates also carry more college debt than any other generation before them. Never before has it been more important for young people to find work and start making money as soon as possible.
“College debt can be astronomical,” says employment expert Rob Wilson, CEO of Employco USA, “The weight of this can often pressure new graduates to take any job they can find and start working right away. However, that might not be the best plan of action. It is better to be purposeful and discerning in your job search. Remember, you are building the foundation for a career, not just trying to get a paycheck.”
Here are Wilson’s top tips for how graduates can land a dream job:
1) Don’t be lured by a big paycheck. “Money isn’t everything, even if you do have debt looming down on you,” says Wilson, “It is better to take a job with a smaller paycheck that is in the field you actually desire than to take a job with a large paycheck that has nothing to do with your long-term career goals.”
2) Live at home if you have to. “I know most college graduates want nothing more than to break away and have their own place, but the reality is that an unpaid internship isn’t going to help you get that big city apartment. But that doesn’t mean that the internship isn’t the right choice. Working as an unpaid intern can be stressful, but it can be a very wise move and help you build lifelong connections that will serve you throughout your career.”
3) Make Google work for you. “Everyone knows that an employer is going to Google your name before they decide if they want to hire you,” says Wilson, “So make sure that your internet presence is going to be impressive. Have a personal website or create an online portfolio that features your work. Have a Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn account that reflects drive, intelligence and professionalism. Don’t be afraid to show your personality a little bit, but remember: This is about your career, not tweeting about the Kardashians.”
4) Keep attending school. “I know most graduates never want to return to a classroom, but nothing is more impressive to a prospective employer than an applicant who has continuing education credits in their field or someone who attends seminars in their field of interest. Keep learning, even after you have a diploma in your hand.”
5) Consider temp work. “Temporary work can be a great way to keep your resume padded and your bank account full,” says Wilson. “Employers hate to see big blank spots on an applicant’s resume, so prove that you are hard-working even when you haven’t found a full-time permanent position yet. Plus, temping can be a great way to make connections, build experience, and learn more about what it is like to work in a professional environment.”