What Grads Should Do When Entering The Job Market
The job market underwent drastic changes in the past two years — from the growing prevalence of remote work to the acceleration of digital business. But on the flip side, it has also resulted in cutthroat competition for fresh graduates. For example, only 69% of 2020 college graduates were employed during the past year. This is a significant drop, considering that 78% of the college graduates from 2019 got a job within the same year. This is due to the recent economic downturn, which is another change caused by the pandemic. As such, fresh graduates need to prepare themselves as they enter the job market. Here are some strategies that you can try to increase your chances of getting a job offer:
Map Out Your Career Path
Finding your dream job is important, but it is only one half of the battle. If you want to turn your dreams into a reality, map out your career path, so you can identify concrete steps to your goals. To start, our article on choosing a career path recommends a skill assessment to help you pinpoint options aligned with your talents. Then, evaluate how you can enter that career field by considering the skills you need or job positions you can apply for. Finally, create a ten-year plan that consists of educational opportunities or career goals to help you get closer to your dream.
Tap into a Professional Network
Once you’re able to map out your career path, you need to branch out and connect with people in your desired industry. This act of professional networking is essential in opening up opportunities for career advancement. For instance, you can maximize your network and move your career forward by making yourself part of the industry community. You can do this by attending alumni events or signing up to platforms like LinkedIn. Then, foster collaborations by engaging with the members and sharing your own insights. By connecting with fellow professionals, you might find new job opportunities or gain valuable insight into prospective employers.
Consult with Mentors
Professional networking can also get you in touch with mentors who can enhance your skills and help you achieve your goals. As experienced professionals, these mentors can provide you with a broader perspective about you and your career plans. Through this relationship, you can learn how to recognize and cultivate your strengths for career advancement. Furthermore, mentors can discuss your job options and provide guidance so that you can take the right steps towards your career goals. Mentors have lots of experience, so they can provide you with industry insights that will help you get further in your career.
Build Your Portfolio
Finally, you need to collect your professional work to build your portfolio. This is just as important as your resume and cover letter since your portfolio contains works that exemplify your skills and capabilities. Your professional portfolio must include projects, reports, research papers, or even works of art that are relevant to your industry. You can also add pictures of yourself as you’re working on a specific project to give your prospective employers a glimpse of your work ethic. Finally, including feedback from professors and previous employers can create a good impression on the recruiters examining your portfolio.
The competition may be tough in the job market, but you can get a head start by following different strategies. Make sure that you map out your goals, tap into a professional network, consult with a mentor, and build your portfolio to further your professional career.
By: John Davis