How to survive life after graduation

The much anticipated end of spring semester is right around the corner. Feelings of excitement and anticipation consume classrooms and hallways. Graduation often brings anxiety about post-degree life. Co-founder of first-time job seekers resource program, 1 Degree Hire, Jason Klein has some tips for nervous graduates.

1 Degree Hire strives to train students for life after graduation. They help students create their own personal brand and separate themselves from the pack. Klein reminds students that stressing about the perfect job right out of college isn’t necessary.

“One of the biggest mistakes students make initially is worrying about the first job after college,” Klein said. “A lot of students worry that the first move is going to determine the rest of their career. It isn’t.”

Most people will change jobs seven to 10 times in the course of a career. The first job opens the door to experience and networking opportunities. The second move is more important. Use the knowledge gained from the first job to propel into the second job. Take that experience and use it to its fullest.

Resumes

Everyone dreads them. Students pour countless hours of hard work into resumes. They feel like it’s the key to getting hired. Klein said that resumes may not be as important as we think.

“Employers will determine in seven to 10 seconds whether they think you’re somebody they want to talk to again. The resume is important, but it’s not as important as the other things employers are going to be looking at,” Klein said.

Klein stressed the importance of work experience, the portfolio and personality over the resume by itself. It’s about being the whole package.

Interviews

Few college experiences are as terrifying as walking into a job interview. This is where it really matters. This is the time to shine. The employer wants to see the person behind the resume. Applicants need to be ready to show their best sides. There are steps students can take to help calm nerves and better prepare themselves.

First, find out the name of the person conducting the interview. Learn about who they are. Do some research. Find out their favorite sports team, how many kids they have, what position they hold. Go into the interview armed with information. Try to make a personal connection with them.

“If you can talk sports with somebody or ask them about their kids, you’re going to automatically lower the tension in the room. It’s going to be an ice breaker and all of a sudden, it’s not an interview it’s a conversation,” Klein said. “That will be a lot easier to manage and everything else will fall into place.”

Remember to dress appropriately and bring work samples. Following these rules will insure a more productive interview.

Secondly, know as much as possible about the company. Know it inside and out.

“Go on their website, read their Facebook posts, their Twitter posts, learn about what the company’s mission statement is. Learn about their competition,” Klein said.

Going in with ideas about how to better the company will help first time applicants be seen as a valuable commodity. It pays to put in the extra effort.

Networking

After landing the job, it’s important to know how to get the most out of it. Don’t just work for the company; learn how to make it work for you. Networking is a key component to that process. It’s all about knowing the right people. Everyone has a network. Every acquaintance, neighbor or relative can be counted as an opportunity to branch out.

“Anybody you come into contact with is part of your network. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and ask them: ‘Would you mind introducing me to so-and-so?’ Or ‘Do you know anybody who can help me with this?’ Chances are they do. You never know who someone else is going to know,” Klein said. “Your network is bigger than you think it is.”

Internships

For students not graduating this spring, summer is a great time to intern. Any type of experience helps. When struggling to find the perfect fit, keep in mind options that don’t seem to correlate directly with your major.

“If you know what you want to do and you know what industry you want to be in, then finding an internship that corresponds with that is obviously great. If it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world,” Klein said. “No matter where you are, you’re going to be networking and gaining experience that will be valuable in a job interview down the line.”

Ultimately, Klein said he wants students to remember that life is full of “no’s.” Don’t get discouraged. Every “no” means taking a step closer to a “yes.” Students must believe that. Chances of getting hired on the first interview are low.

“It’s a marathon not a sprint. Just believe in your skill set and your ability to do a job. Your time will come,” Klein said. “It will take patience and dedication. Make sure you stay focused, and eventually you will get the job that you need.”

1 Degree Hire is an online resource program for juniors and seniors seeking a better understanding of what employers are looking for. They offer a digital 21-day course complete with E-book, mp3 downloads and a video library. Videos include interviews with CEO’s Human Resources personnel and managers in various industries. They explain everything from what they look for in applicants to mistakes they’ve seen in interviews. Students interested in the 1 Degree Hire program should go to 1degreehire.com for information

BY SARAH TYRE
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