Good news for upcoming college graduates as recent studies indicate a positive job outlook for job seekers in 2015. An improved economy and a continual trend of hiring young professionals are driving factors behind this shift. In order to put things into perspective, a recent survey from Michigan State University reveals hiring of college graduates plans to jump by 16% in 2015.
If you fall under this category and are counting down the days until you receive your diploma, take a look at the following ways you can prepare:
Position Yourself Correctly: In order to maximize your full potential when entering in the job market, it is crucial to determine the best way to market yourself. One way to accomplish this is by preparing for your interview. This is one of the easiest things you can do in order to separate yourself in the eyes of a hiring manager. Thoroughly research the company beforehand and ask specific questions such as, “How do you see this role contributing to the success of the organization?” And, as you discuss your background and qualifications with the hiring manager, aim to convey to the employer how you can help the organization succeed. This is essential as employers look for employees who pay close attention to detail, think three steps ahead, and provide solutions to organizational challenges. Interview Success Formula, a resource that provides helpful career tips for current job seekers, indicates that 36% of employers look for the ability to multitask, 31% look for initiative and 21% look for creative thinking in a candidate before making an official offer. During your interview, give scenarios from your previous role in which you were able to oversee multiple budgets or provide them with data where you may have increased sales or decreased spending. Show the hiring manager that you are willing to go the extra mile in order to get things done quickly and efficiently.
Set Expectations– Who you know in the market is important. If you enter in the “real world” thinking a job offer will fall in your lap just by completing a few forms online, it’s time to alter your perspective. Hanne Parmele, Corporate Recruiter from TRC Staffing Services, Inc. provides her insight on how to separate yourself in today’s job market: “Be sure to get a jump on the competition by attending industry-specific events. Career fairs are a great place to network and most of the time you’re meeting the person who is the first line of the hiring decision for organizations, so you’ll have the opportunity to make a good impression. Follow-up immediately by sending a thank you email. You would be surprised how many conversations this can start with potential employers.”
Get Comfortable Financially: Go ahead and get in the habit of setting aside extra money on a monthly basis. This is a task that can transition easily in your routine and any amount helps. If your employer offers a 401 (k) plan, contribute as much as you can as early as you can. The earlier you start, the better. Contributing towards saving plans now will make it easier to reach your long-term goals. Many organizations will offer a matching contribution up to a certain percentage- usually around 3% of the employee’s salary. Hanne also advises to “sign up for your 401(k) match as soon as your company offers it, and at the highest contribution rate possible. If you do this from the start, you will never miss that money and will not be forced to change your financial habits down the road.”
If you are still unsure of how to begin your career, consider using a staffing agency to find temporary or permanent opportunities. Many of these positions can lead to full time employment with the staffing client and can help you explore various industries that could help you narrow down your industry of focus. Do you have a plan of how you are planning to market yourself post-graduation?