Graduating from an university is one of the greatest accomplishments a person can achieve. You spend endless hours in lecture halls studying, and many sleepless night’s writing papers, all in pursuit of that piece of paper that will secure your future. The special day finally arrives and you walk onstage to receive your diploma. Celebration ensues with flowers, family pictures, and overall happiness. You think your future is sealed, but in reality your journey is just beginning.
Graduating from university is the first step in what can be a long and frustrating road to seeking gainful employment. A university degree is an advantage but not a guarantee in finding a job. Many graduates find that they are unable to find entry level positions in their prospective fields. Their only option is to do jobs completely unrelated to their degree to support themselves and repay student loans. University is excellent in providing the knowledge one needs to work on a job, but lacks in providing the important hands on experience that is favored by potential employers. The key to gaining this experience is getting on the job experience before leaving school.
I attended college before university and I found college more beneficial in preparing me for the workforce. It should be noted that the term “college” and “university” differs in my country of Canada than in the United States. The term “college” in the U.S. tends to be broader and refers to all post secondary undergrad education, whereas “college” and “university” in Canada are regarded as separate institutions. In general, a college in Canada is a more technical and career oriented college, which offers a diploma or a certificate, while a university offers a three or four year degree. For me, college was more hands on, allowed more one on one time with professors, provided a more intimate learning environment with fewer students, and required mandatory field placement consisting of 500 hours.
I was able to learn the in’s and out’s of the job during my field placement. I was able to determine if the job was suitable for me. I made the necessary connections I needed to secure a job. In my case, I realized the career I had chosen in corrections wasn’t for me and decided to further my education by attending university. However, the vast majority of my peers had secured jobs before they even graduated and are still employed to this day. Finding contacts within your college or university is crucial in gaining access to entry level positions post graduation. Here are some helpful hints to aid in your success:
· Talk to your professor and get as much job related advice as you can. Many professors are part time employed or retired from the same field you may be interested in pursuing. In my case, my professors were former lawyers, police officers and correctional officers. They know the people that can help you get hired.
· Perform volunteer work within your desired field. Work on the job as if you were a paid employee. An employer is more likely to hire you if they see you’re enthusiastic about the work and able to perform the job well.
· Take extra courses or seminars to touch up on skills you may be lacking. If a job requires that you have first aid training, sign up for a class and get a first aid certificate. Don’t give your potential employer a reason to not hire you. Study your job prospects the same way you would study for an exam. Tailor your resume to your strengths and emphasize your job related experience.
· Network at ALL times. Let the employer know who you are and what makes you unique from other candidates. Stand out from the rest of the crowd. Make them want you!
· Keep your public profile clean. If you have are a member of a social networking site, be cautious of what others can see. Employers look through these sites to see what you’re really like outside of the workplace, and may use these impressions to determine if you’re suitable for the job.
The successful completion of these steps along with your newly acquired degree or diploma can greatly increase your chances of getting hired into an entry level position. Finding a job may not happen overnight, but hard work and determination have always had a way paying off in the end. Be consistent and confident. In no time you will see that your efforts will be rewarded and you will be settling into your new job.