In our society, it has been assumed that kids go to college after they graduate from high school. Then, once you graduate from college, you assume you will go out into the world and get a job. But, there was one thing that nobody told you, and that is how hard it was going to be to get a job in your chosen career.
Past Versus Present
It used to be that everyone wanted to hire college graduates. You didn’t necessarily have to have the specific skills to do the job; employers only wanted their employees to have that degree. But now, employers seem to appreciate the value of previous job experience, and tend to hire applicants with experience, degree or no degree.
After you’ve looked for jobs in your field for a while and haven’t found anything, you may begin to get discouraged. You start to wonder if you made a mistake when choosing your major and if you’ll ever find anything in your field. So, should you have majored in something more lucrative?
In a word, no. But how do you get experience to land a job?
Capitalize on Your Existing Skills and Experience
A lot of the things you learned in college will fit a lot of other fields and careers. Don’t get stuck into the “this is the job I need to be happy” way of thinking. Just because you graduated with an English degree doesn’t mean you need to be a teacher or a writer; you might be good in a human resources job, for example. All you need to do is learn how to apply the basic skills you learned in college to a wider variety of jobs and career fields.
There are plenty of hiring managers that don’t care about your college major, but do care about the skills you have that are needed to complete the job like the fact that you know how to work hard—how else would you have finished college? Career expert Richard Nelson Bolles says that we all are born with skills we take to every place we work. These skills can be broken down into three categories: people, data and things. So, for example, if you’re good at fixing a car (thing), you will probably be good at repairing a computer (thing). So before applying for a job, look over your resume and ask yourself what you do well that would coincide with the company and the proven education or experience you have to prove those skills.
Sometimes it’s hard to find the great skills you possess. Talk to your instructors, classmates and friends or family that know you and what you’re good at. Let them tell you what you’re good at and what you need to improve on. You’d be surprised what skills you forgot or didn’t even think you already have.
You may end up finding that your major is only part of what you really want to do. A great solution could be to continue your education online. You can work at your own pace and on your own schedule, which is perfect for getting a part-time job to simply pay the bills or to get an internship in your field. This may be just the little extra push to finding a career path that truly suits you or the bonus skills that an employer is looking for.
Getting a job can seem quite daunting. However, the open-mindedness to learn new things and the ability to adapt to new situations is what college was for, and these are valuable life skills. And that’s the thing that’s going to get you the job you always wanted, even if you didn’t know it when you started.