By Amanda Brody
Throw off your cap and gown and grab your diploma, it’s time to enter the real world; getting a job like everyone else. And if you’re lucky, you already have one secured before graduation but unfortunately for most college grads it’s not that easy.
Students should not wait until the last minute to begin their job search. Jobs do not magically appear and take a lot of hard work and dedication to get them, especially in today’s trying economy. According to Danielle Dellilo, recruiting coordinator at Hofstra’s Career Center, students should start looking for jobs beginning in their junior year. There is no need to apply to jobs that far in advance but it is a good idea to have knowledge of the position and the salaries in your chosen industry.
When applying for jobs it is very important to read over the job description two or three times says Dellilo. Often, people don’t know what the job actually entails and this can be an embarrassing situation, which is easily avoidable by knowing the job description backwards and forwards.
Students should be confident when applying to jobs. “Hofstra students have a lot more to offer than students from other universities,” says Dellilo. Yet, students should not wait until the last minute to begin their job search.
Applying to jobs six to eight months prior to graduation is a good idea, says Suzanne Dagger, Director of Career Services at the Career Center. The timeframe for getting a job really depends on the individual and the industry, anywhere from a month to a year.
“Because the economy is unpredictable right now, students have to be open-minded,” says Dagger. Being creative in terms of where to look for jobs is crucial. For example, Dagger says, students in finance or accounting may look to the healthcare industry for employment, at least in the short-term.
“When students hear that the economy is bad,” says Dagger, “a certain percentage of students take on a defeatist attitude of ‘I’m not going to get a job, so I’m not going to try’.”
But what students really need to do is assess the skills they have and see what they can market to employers.
“You have to remember that your first job is not your last job,” says Dagger. It should serve as a stepping-stone for your career in the future.
But how do you get that first job? There is a lot of preparation involved; networking, resume writing, internships and of course figuring out what you really want to do.
Social networks can be your best friend or your fiercest enemy, depending on how you use them. Networks like Facebook and Linked-In can help you find a job but it can also hurt your chances of getting one.
Trish Rubin, author of “The New York Minute: Your Guide to Event Networking” and social networking expert, says, “what people need to realize is that it’s (getting your first job) a big step in terms of development. Right now it’s all about you, but it has to be all about your employer.”
The millennial generation, anyone born between 1980 and 2001 is considered to be more egocentric than generations in the past because of social networks and have a high-level of entitlement. But that sort of attitude needs to be checked at the door, especially when looking for your first job. According to Rubin, “ senior year is about being reflective about the change your going through and part of that change is becoming less egocentric.”
Cleaning-up your Facebook page is a good idea. Rubin says you should disassociate from people you don’t really know, look over all the associations you belong to and de-tag any pictures that would be considered inappropriate to an employer.
With social networks, “you don’t have the control you have with face-to-face communication,” says Rubin. Employers can be very suspicious of social networking sites because they are not as familiar with them as millennials.
Rubin says, “Enjoy it (Facebook), it’s a great resource but it’s like ‘drink with responsibility’.”
Linked-In is a social networking resource that can be useful for finding a job and staying in touch with your industry. Rubin encourages young professionals to use Linked-In but says, “don’t be intimidated by it because most people are established.” She says that students should set up a basic summary and join a few groups that are business related and start asking professionals in the industry for advice.
Before you can even think about networking, you should have a concrete resume on hand. According to Dagger, what you really need to highlight on your resume are your transferable skills, which are writing, research, leadership, organization and communication. These are the types of skills that employers look for.
It is a good idea to include community service on your Resume. “Employers are looking for students who are involved with their communities,” says Dellilo.
Other things that should be included on your resume:
- Strong work experience
- Involvement in college activities
- Community service
- Greek Life
- Leadership roles
- Honors and accomplishments
- Foreign language proficiency
Does GPA matter? Many students are under the impression that GPA is not important to employers but that is not true. According to Dagger, GPA does matter, but varies in importance depending on the industry. What a GPA shows an employer is your work ethic. Listing a GPA on your resume of less than a 3.0 is not recommended unless specifically requested by the employer. Some positions even require a certain GPA. For example, Dellilo says, “ at NBC, I know they ask for a GPA of 3.0 or higher.”
Keeping your resume to one page is standard for people with little work experience, but Dellilo says, “nowadays everyone is more involved, keeping it to one page is hard, two pages is not a problem.”
According to Dagger, things that shouldn’t be included on your resume are activities from high school or jobs that you had for only a short period of time. It also doesn’t hurt to put projects or classes on your resume, if you don’t have a lot of work experience says Dagger as long as it pertains to your career.
Dagger says that internships are extremely important for every type of career. “You have to do an internship,” says Dagger.
Some majors at Hofstra require students to do an internship, but either way an internship is vital to your career. What internships give you are work experience in a working environment, things that you can’t learn in the classroom. The bottom line is that students who don’t have internships are at a disadvantage and the job market is extremely competitive right now.
Salaries and Benefits
According to the Career Center, the average starting salary for a college graduate with a Bachelor’s degree ranges from $30,000 to $55,000. Salaries also depend on the location of the job and is often higher in big cities. Some starting salaries are even lower than $30,000 in fields like communications and education majors who start off with teaching assistant positions. Accounting and finance majors can expect the highest starting salaries in the job market.
Even though starting salaries may be grim for some and promising for others, Dellilo says that starting salaries are going up every year. But with the way the economy is heading, salaries increasing this year doesn’t seem very promising.
“You should never look just at a salary when accepting a job,” says Dellilo.
Researching a company is very important, especially in terms of revenue because then you can determine whether or not this is a growing company. “Research the company to see where you fit in,” says Dellilo
Benefits are another thing to look for when accepting a job. “An organization that is offering a retirement plan like a 401K and health benefits are crucial,” says Dagger. Not only are you then thinking about your future, but being smart financially.
How to Get A Job
The Career Center offers many services that can help you get a job. Not only do they set up job fairs year round but also offer mock interviews, resume writing workshops, coaching videos and Pride Recruiting.
Pride Recruiting is an interview service that the Career Center offers through numerous employers in a variety of fields, who specifically want to recruit employees from Hofstra. The program general begins a few months before graduation. Students graduating in May, August and December 2009 are ideal candidates for the program and junior accounting and finance majors.
The Career Center also offers job postings like many websites do through the Pride-Career Management System, which can be accessed through the Hofstra Portal under the support tab. “Students are not utilizing these resources,” says Dagger. For most of the hundreds of job posting there are from zero to five applicants.
Alumni are also a great place to look for your first job. The Career Center keeps in touch with many Alumni who are looking specifically for Hofstra Grads to join their staff. Also it is a good idea to see what connections your Professors have. Many of them have former students and friends in the businesses you want to work in.
There is also the option of visiting a career firm or agency for your job search but that can end up costing you more than you can afford. And how can you afford a service like that if you don’t even have a job to begin with? The Career Center does the same things they do and it’s free, even after you graduate.
Also websites like CareerBuilder.com, College Recruiter.com and Monster.com offer job postings and places to publish your resume. Professional organizations and honor societies often offer places to do this as well.
So when you finally figure out what you’re going to do with your life, get ready, be prepared and take the plunge into the jobosphere.
* For more information on the Career Center, you can visit their website at http://www.hofstra.edu/StudentAffairs/StudentServices/Career/ or call to set up an appointment 516-463-6060
Top 10 Fastest Growing Jobs
According to the U.S. Department of Labor are the fastest growing jobs expected by 2016.
- Network Systems and Data Communications
- Personal and Home Care Aids
- Home Health Aides
- Computer Software Engineers and Applications
- Veterinary technologists and technicians
- Personal Financial Advisors
- Makeup Artists for Theatrical and Performance
- Medical Assistants
- Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
The 15 Best States to Get A Job
According to CareerBuilder.com to best states to get a job are based on their low unemployment rate.
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
Job Posting Websites
These websites are recommended by the Hofstra Career Center.
- Artjob – http://www.artjob.com
- Career Search – http://v2.careersearch.net/client/
- Current Jobs for Graduates – http://www.graduatejobs.com
- Spotlight on Careers – http://www.spotlightoncareers.org/
- The International Educator – http://www.tieonline.com
- There Communication Group ArtSearch – http://www.tcg.org/artsearch
- Washington Information Services – http://www.h1visajobs.com