It is one of the cruel paradoxes of the world that college students cannot wait until graduation – until the threat of graduation is actually looming over them. Then they never want to leave.
As grueling and tiresome as, at least, four years of college can be, it’s much easier than facing the terror of living in the real world.
College offers students a sort of purgatory. They’re adults, but they’re not actually adults. They have jobs, but they don’t have careers. Because of this, life after graduation, particularly the part involving finding a job, can seem daunting to many students.
The bad news? You might already be behind when it comes to job hunting.
“I would recommend that students start looking into jobs as early as three or four years in advance,” said Jeff Christensen, a career counselor who also teaches a course in career and life planning. “That way you can get an idea of what qualifications you’ll need early on.”
He added that while students shouldn’t necessarily be actively applying for jobs they’d like as a freshman or sophomore, they should be scoping them out to determine exactly what it takes to make it in that career.
The good news is ISU has a number of resources to assist students in a smooth transition post-graduation.
If you have no idea what kind of job you’d like, the Career Center has multiple aptitude and personality tests, as well as individual career counseling to help you decide on the best career for you.
“I think it’s very important for students to tailor their career to their values, not their values to their career,” Christensen said.
If you already know exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life, the Career Center can help you in scoring the job of your dreams. It can assist students in all aspects of job hunting, including filling out applications, tailoring a resume to fit a specific job and coaching students in interview and communication skills.
According to Christensen, three things that can help students land their dream job are preparedness, job familiarity, and networking.
“Students should know how to communicate on a variety of platforms,” Christensen said. He added that knowing new technology can be a huge asset to students.
Christensen actually teaches a seminar to familiarize students with LinkedIn, a website many employers use to screen and recruit potential employees.
It’s also important for students to know what employers value most when hiring. There are studies done every year to determine what employers look for in potential employees, specifically those fresh out of college.
One recent survey of employers done by USA Today College showed that most employers take GPA into account, but it is not the first or even second most important factor they consider when making hiring decisions. Overall, they look for graduates who have a well-rounded resume, work experience and company connections.
Graduation from college and getting booted into the real world is overwhelming as it is. Add job hunting into the equation, and it’s no wonder many seniors feel nervous about the future.
“I think students are scared of the unknown,” Christensen said.
But with the resources and assistance available at the Career Center, students can worry just a little less.