Even with a tough job market, there's a bit of a silver lining for upperclassmen ramping up to graduation - employers actually love hiring people your age who tend to be more motivated, more open-minded, and more willing to pour that youthful energy into getting the job done.
On average, about two million college graduates with a freshly minted bachelor's degree enter the workforce every spring looking for a full-time opportunity, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Businesses are actually starting to hire at higher rates than last year!
Treat It as a Stepping Stone
There's been much written about the phenomenon of "millennial turnover" in the workplace and the fact that fresh-faced employees stick with jobs, on average, for about two years before moving on to another.
Clearly, though, employers aren't going to stop hiring millennials since they're anticipated to make up three-fourths of the global workforce by 2024. Millennials are infusing the workplace with a lot of new ideas, enthusiasm and creativity.
So, realizing that your first job is very likely not going to be your last, treat it as a springboard and a means of honing your skills and developing a professional network of contacts.
Who knows? You may end up loving the job, but you shouldn't let the mirage of finding the "perfect job" deter you from getting started on your career path.
Start with an Internship
It's actually been shown that employers are more willing to hire you right out of college if you've been an intern.
In fact, the average employer rates previous internship experience higher than your college GPA when it comes to potentially extending you a job offer.
Internships are important for a few more reasons: Internships expose you to professionals in the field; internships provide you with new learning opportunities, and internships significantly increase the odds of receiving a full-time job offer.
Concentrate Your Efforts
This might sound like a bit of a contradiction to the last piece of advice but it's really not. A common, yet understandable, mistake that a lot of students make their senior year and right out of college is applying for every job out there. Sending out hundreds of applications rarely pays off, and here's why.
When you try to be everything for everybody you're effectively spreading yourself too thin to be really effective.
Doing thorough research on a dozen companies, calling up and asking your own questions, and making sure that you checklist everything those employers are looking for is a much better approach for making a lasting impression. Remember it only takes one offer to potentially make the difference.
It's a bit like applying to colleges, in that you're probably better off really focusing on your talents, interests and future career goals and applying to three or four schools which are seeking candidates with those personal traits, than applying to dozens of institutions haphazardly.
Touch Up…and Drink Coffee
Try setting up a weekly schedule for the time you have left at school, contacting career services, editing your CV, and asking professors and alumni for advice.
Especially on that last point, a thirty-minute coffee sit-down with an alumni established in the field can feed a lot of information your way…and potentially clue you into employers who'd be a great match. It's definitely worth a shot…maybe even a double shot.