"It's just a first job, so who cares if it's not that great, right? Well unfortunately, wrong. A new study finds that bachelors degree recipients whose first job does not require a degree harm their career for years to come. In fact, they are likely to remain "underemployed" even 5 years later, and their earnings remain lower. So, it's important to get the best first job you can. While gaining knowledge in the classroom is important to succeeding in a career, job search skills are important to launching your career. You have to land the job before you can succeed at it! As with many things, "Three Ps" are key: Purpose, Preparation and Persistence.
Purpose: Don't just apply for or take a job because it's open. It needs to have a purpose on your career path. You're basically building a house-- throwing a random boulder in the foundation will not help it stand-up well. Developing a resume throughout college with relevant internship and job experience will help, not only for the knowledge you gain but also for the contacts. Ultimately the contacts you make, and the impression you make on them, will be the key factor in gaining both your first and future jobs. Along with the resume, while you're in college develop a LinkedIn profile, join relevant groups and attend trade shows and professional association meetings if possible.
Preparation: Develop a strong, results-oriented resume and cover letter, your "elevator pitch" and possible interview answers to highlight your unique abilities. Tweak them as necessary to align with your target companies and job postings and seek help editing and practicing until you feel comfortable. Also realize that even within a department, different types of jobs have different unspoken dress codes. Do your research and dress accordingly.
Persistence: Nothing of value comes easily, including a desirable job. Even with a tight job market desirable jobs will always be in short supply. Keep at it, set weekly goals, and realize that you are learning what works-- and doesn't-- with each step.
You have a lot of competition, so it's imperative to stand-out from the crowd. You need to go beyond the standard advice of college career offices, and customize both your search and your tools (resume, interview answers, etc.) to highlight your unique skills. Spending a few hours with a professional career advisor and receiving personalized help is a good investment in your future.
"I have always loved helping things grow. After successfully building many Fortune 100 brands and products, I am excited to use my marketing experience to help college and high school students and recent college grads stand-out from their competition and land the job or school of their dreams.