Being a prospective graduate this May, I have been diligently scouring the internet for potential employment opportunities. This experience has taught me a few lessons, but definitely a couple that stick out the most for me (and many of my fellow peers) are determining which jobs I’m qualified for and secondly, what type of position I ultimately want.
All too often, many people, myself included, have constructed this idealistic job in their minds. Not only does this position pay considerably well, but it’s also located in the perfect region and aligns considerably well with previous professional experiences. Now I’m not saying this position doesn’t exist, but the truth is many entry-level jobs out of college aren’t necessarily going to meet all your expectations and maybe a bit of stretch given your current qualifications.
Although it is important never to be reckless when applying to jobs you may not be qualified for, there is some credibility in pursing positions that might be a bit of a reach. In this case, it is important to take into careful consideration “required” and “preferred” qualifications. Review the job description closely, and take some time to reflect. Think about your classes, volunteer experiences, internships, work experiences and campus involvement. Ask yourself, “have I done this before?" If the answer is “yes,” fantastic! However, if the answer is “no,” ask yourself if there is a way for you to change that “no” into a “yes?” This might mean a little extra work on your part, whether it’s some extra reading/ research or asking to take initiative on a project from a professor or a supervisor. In the end it will be worth it, because you will be able to expand your knowledge and skill set, and ultimately utilize these experiences to build your resume, enhance your cover letter and discuss during an interview.
Another suggestion is to carefully review your “wish list.” While it would be great to land that perfect public relations job in NYC and live on the Upper East Side, Gossip Girl style, it is important to carefully consider what is most important to you. Do you really need to work for a high-profile company right out of college? Although it is great to have goals and aspirations, it is important to realize that working for a smaller company might mean more opportunity to grow and take on a diverse number of responsibilities. My suggestion is to be open to the unexpected. Just because a position does not fulfill all the criteria on your “wish list” does not mean that it won’t be a good fit for you!
Lastly, be persistent and hopeful! The job search process can be challenging. Just remember The Career Center is always here to help. Whether you need to figure out where to start or need help with resume, cover letter and/ interviews, we want to help! Stop by or give us a call at (516) 463-6060.
~Alison Charlebois, Graduate Assistant