It’s a well-known fact that 60-70% of college graduates don’t end up in the career field in which they earned a degree. There are many reasons for this, including:
- Choosing a career field that offers few jobs, or highly-competitive ones
- Choosing a career field based only on salary and not on one’s abilities and interests
- The economy — fewer jobs, many lay-offs, saturation with over-qualified workers
While we can’t do much about the economy, we can choose what we go to school for. College is a huge investment of both time and money, so it’s wise to put plenty of thought and research into what path of study you want to pursue. Consider not only the current job market, but the projected trend over the next ten, twenty, and thirty years.
Get some experience in your intended field to get a taste for what you’ll be doing, as some careers aren’t what they seem. Most of all, make sure your degree track will be well-suited to your abilities, personality, and interests. After all, you’ll be spending most of your life at your job, so it should be something you enjoy.
While I could give advice all day about which career path to choose, none of it will matter if you can’t get a job in your chosen field. As statistics show, that can be a hard feat, no matter how amazing your resume.
The following four activities and behaviors will help you land that dream job you’ve put thousands of dollars, and years of your life, into achieving.
1. Network, network, network
Networking is the act of creating social and business contacts that’ll help you get where you want to be. Naturally, the more outgoing you are, the easier it is to network. But even introverted people can network, whether by forming a small, tight-knit group of friends, or simply taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves.
The magic of networks is that they branch like a tree and create more and more potential the larger they reach. Practically, you can network by putting yourself in places where you’ll rub shoulders with the people who can help you accomplish your career goals.
2. Attend workshops and conferences
Networking goes hand-in-hand with attending events that will lead to more networking, business contacts, possible internships, and grooming from mentors in your career field. All you need to do is search the Internet to find events in your area (or out of your area — be willing to travel) that will place you closer to your career goals.
3. Believe in yourself and let it show
Companies look for people who have confidence (not to be confused with cockiness) in their ability to perform their job. Just because you may not have much experience in your chosen field doesn’t mean you’re not in the running. Someone who shows an interest in their job, an eagerness to learn and develop, and the general abilities the job requires stands out more than a person whose resume is full but demeanor doesn’t sell it.
This is especially important for people who may be entering a second or third career later in life. You may be new to the field, but your lifetime of work experiences and confidence is what will land you the job.
4. Be willing to start small
Not many people start out at the top. If that were the case, there’d be no room for promotion and growth. Even if the best you can land is an entry-level position, it’s important to get your foot in the door so you can prove your worth. If you’re willing to work hard and put in extra effort, you can work your way to the top in no time. Don’t discredit small beginnings.
Putting yourself out there is difficult when you’re fresh out of college and don’t have much experience. By using the resources you have, being willing to work hard, and most of all, believing in yourself, you’ll eventually land the job you’ve always wanted.
What behaviors would you add to this list?