I entered my senior year of college with a clear goal in mind: to get a job after college.
I had wrapped up my second internship with the Boeing Company and wasn’t extended an immediate offer right at the start of the school year. Since fall quarter in the business school is recruiting season, I took the start of the school year to reflect on what I wanted out of my next chapter in life.
One of the first questions I faced my senior year was: do I take a job that relates to my major? Or do I do something different?
I had majored in marking and sales but my two summer internships were in business operations/project management. They were also in the supplier management and fleet services organizations of the Boeing Company.
Then I had to ask myself: do I pursue fashion as a career? Or do I keep it a hobby? Ultimately I decided to start Emma’s Edition to make sure fashion had a place in my life alongside my career.
And lastly I asked myself, what other industries or companies excited me? Was it technology? Was it consumer goods? Or was it airplanes and manufacturing?
I ended up spending all of fall quarter interviewing with 10+ companies. I went through final round interviews with four different companies and received 3 offers – Boeing and PepsiCo were included in that group of companies. I made the choice to start my career with PepsiCo by December of my senior year.
If you’re currently a senior in college, have you taken the time to ask yourself:
1. Do you want to find a job after college? Or is there another endeavor like travel you want to pursue?
I personally had student loans to take care of after college so I chose to prioritize security and stability to take care of my finances.
2. Then here are the next series of questions I would ask yourself before you find a job after college:
- Do you want a job that’s related to your major?
- Or do you want to do something else?
- Do you want to pursue your interests as a career?
- Or are there other industries and companies that excite you?
Aside asking yourself these questions, here are a few other tips for finding your first job out of college:
3. You don’t usually get your dream job out of college and that’s okay.
You most likely will get an entry level job out of college and that’s where most people start (unless you’ve been working all through college in a current role and graduating results in a promotion for you). There will probably be one or two of your friends who luck out and find a job that they absolutely love. But this isn’t the norm – especially right out of college.
4. Instead, focus on finding a job that’s going to be a great first step for you.
How do you know a job is going to be a great first step? The job is either aligned with your skill-sets or you’ve identified skill-sets you want to build up. The job is either at a company or industry you’re excited about. Or you’ve connected with someone who works there and feel like it will be a good company culture. Let’s go in depth….
5. Identify skill-sets you want to build or skill-sets you want to use on a day to day basis.
A great exercise to do while you’re looking for jobs is doing a SWOT analysis on yourself. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What are your opportunities (skill-sets you want to build)? The threats portion may not apply but identifying what your good at and what skills you may not be good at can help you figure out if you want to take a job or not.
For example, I ended up going into a finance role after my first sales job. I knew it was going to be challenging because I didn’t have a background in finance. But I needed to build up my analytical/excel skills (weakness turned into an opportunity to develop a skill). I wanted to be comfortable using pivot tables and sorting through large amounts of raw data sets.
6. Identify companies or industries you’re interested in.
Are there any companies out there that you admire or make you excited when you hear about them? Are there any industries that feel like their growing, innovating or making a difference in the world? Or are there companies out there that have been around for a long time and seem like a stable place to work?
My recommendation is to literally make a list of 5-10 companies that sound amazing to work for you. I recommend going on LinkedIn, reading about their companies, researching them online and seeing what type of products or work they do.
7. Identify products or services you’re interested in.
Are you interested in airplanes, cars, or trucks? Are you interested in make-up or beauty? Are you interested in athletic wear – like shoes or clothes? Sometimes figuring out products and services that excite you can lead you to figure out where you want to work next.
My recommendation is to make a list of 5-10 products and services that you can get behind and excite you.
8. It’s never too early to start looking.
After you’ve figured out what type of skills you want to build or what companies you want to work for, I’d recommend starting the search early in your senior year. The business school heavily recruits fall quarter, so by December of my senior year I had locked down a job with PepsiCo. I knew by the end of fall quarter that I was set to move to California at the end of graduation and start my career.
If you’re in the middle of spring semester or just starting fall quarter, start looking!!
Additionally, in my first job out of college I decided I wanted to leave PepsiCo. It literally took me 6 months to get a new job. And I had four internships, a year’s worth of working experience, and a college degree. You can read more about that experience here.
9. Schedule informational interviews
An informational interview is an informal meeting where you reach out to someone to learn about their career, role, or industry. Whether you are a student, an intern, unemployed, or employed, informational interviews are a great way to learn about corporate culture and career growth.
Here’s why and how to schedule informational interviews.
10. Take advantage of career fairs, employer events, and your school’s job website
If you’re looking for a job this year, check out your school’s calendar and look up when all the career fairs are happening. Look up what companies are visiting and identify the ones you want to connect with. That way you aren’t just wandering around the career fair with your resumes in hand. You know exactly who to visit and hand your resume off to.
Additionally, I recommend looking up what employers are to coming on the campus each quarter. For instance, Husky Sales Club in the Foster School Business literally had recruiters come once a week from the different companies.
If your school also has a jobs/internship posting website, I would pay attention to that on a daily basis. If you’ve gone through the exercise of figuring out what skills you want to build or what products you want to support, you’ll have an easier time sifting through all the job postings.
There you have it friends! Those are my tips to helping you find a job after college!
What are your tips to help new grads find a job after college?
Thank you for reading! If you’re a junior or senior in college, I really hope this helps you find a job after college!
Photos: Holly Phan