Congratulations Graduate… Now What?

jbYou’ve completed your four (five or six) years of college, attended your ceremony, moved your tassel from one side of your mortarboard to another, and now the real work starts – finding your first job. If you are reading this, most likely you’ll be looking in your chosen field of HR or payroll.

Studies show that less than one in five have a job lined up as they approach graduation. If you are still looking there is both good and bad news. First the good news – you are not alone. The bad news is there is a lot of competition for HR and payroll jobs. As a recent, 2012 OSU Business School grad, I wanted to offer a few pieces of advice that have worked for friends, colleagues, and myself.

Never Stop Learning
This is cliché and no matter whom your commencement speaker was I am sure you heard a version of this. But clichés are clichés because they are backed by truth. That being said, if you are offered a position that you feel is “beneath” your education and training, consider taking it… strongly. Entry-level jobs are often scarce and even harder to land with limited or no experience. It is not a “forever” job; it is called an “entry-level” job. Perform and learn and you may find yourself in the job you want a lot faster than you would if you hold out for the perfect offer.

Internships Matter Too
Hopefully you have already interned in college for credit, but if your experience within HR and payroll (or your chosen field) is lacking, you may have to take a low- or no-paying internship just to get a foot in the door and gain relevant experience. If you do take an internship, take one that allows schedule flexibility so you can apply for jobs, go on interviews, etc. Internships garner you valuable experience now required for entry-level positions.

Professionalize Your Resume
Your resume should only be a single page as a recent graduate. Focus on your education and remove the fact that you were on the high school pep squad. Also highlight leadership skills, relevant internships and recognition during college. Set yourself apart from the crowd by avoiding common resume mistakes. Want more resume help? Willory’s resume resource center is a great place to start.

Lean On Your Network
Research shows that you are ten times more likely to land an interview when your application is accompanied with a referral from an employer – ask for one and either attach it to your application or quote it on your resume. You may not have an employer to do that – so connect with professors, advisors, and contacts obtained through internships.

Polish Your Online Presence
Obviously update your LinkedIn and clean up your Facebook and Twitter from anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. Of course, you will want to Google yourself to make sure your name isn’t associated with anything untoward. Looking into a candidate’s digital presence is often the first step a hiring manager will take. While you are at it, think about posting your own professional thoughts on Twitter and LinkedIn with links to articles could help to impress!

If you are looking for a job in HR and payroll, we are happy to help your career get off on the right foot, contact myself or anyone on the Willory team for assistance.


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