Getting a job after graduating from college can feel like an insurmountable task. According to AfterCollege Inc, a company that looks to pair recent college graduates with potential employers, only 17 percent of graduating students in 2014 have jobs lined up after college. If you, a family member or a friend are in the graduate unemployment-boat, take some advice from bestselling business author and founder Gary Keller.
Build a Database
Gary says that the first priority for any college student is to study for their degree. What many don’t realize is that their first priority as a future young professional is to build a strong database.
What is a database you ask? It is a list of everyone you know personally or through a friend that you can source for opportunities. If a college student consistently added people into their database throughout college, by the time they graduated from school, they should have a considerable network to reach out to for employment advice and prospects.
Your database should consist of anyone you know and even those you don’t. Family members, friends, friends of friends, roommates, co-workers and managers are all great sources to consider when adding people into your database. We suggest using a simple spreadsheet to keep track of all of the names, phone numbers, e-mail address and mailing addresses in your database. Make a note of who they are and why you added them.
Even Joe Smithsonian, that person you swapped travel horror stories with while sitting on the tarmac at JFK Airport for a few hours, is a great person to add to your database. Ask him what he does for a living and exchange contact information. When you get to your travel destination, add that person to your sheet and send him a quick e-mail thanking him for the stories.
At first, it may seem a little funny asking old friends and acquaintances for a lead on a new job or to help you connect with someone else; however, keep in mind that they may be calling on you soon for connections for the very same purpose. Networking is not a parasitic relationship; it is a win-win deal for both you and those in your database.
The second tip for getting your college grad into the workforce is to help them realize the importance of doing things outside of the classroom. He says, college graduates typically have a hard time finding a job because they’ve been lied to by their educators throughout their academic career. Receiving an A on a test is not going to help you get a job out of school. Experience is. When looking at a resume of a recent graduate, Gary doesn’t look for grades. He looks for activities, summer and part-time jobs, internships, committees, clubs and personal ventures that the candidate participated in during their time in school.
Internships are the best way for a college student to obtain real-world experience while focusing on their studies. The in-office time and network connections gained from an internship can often lead to employment down the road. According to an Internships.com survey of 1,800 college students and graduates as well as 440 human resources and recruitment professionals, 73 percent of companies with more than 100 employees say that “finding full-time employees” is the main reason why they hire interns. Even if an internship doesn’t result in a job, a good attitude and work ethic will give you valuable relationships to add to your network.
And, if you or the college student you know is having trouble figuring out where to intern, remember to tap into that database. If your database is thin, attend a job fair, and exchange contact information with professionals who work in careers you might be interested in.
Do you have any employment advice for recent graduates? Share with us below!