I have two words of advice that just about sum up life. Pre-college, during college, post-college.
Carpe diem. Seize the Day.
I’ve always *tried* to live by these words—which is why I have them tattooed on my wrist. Take my advice—seize as many opportunities while you’re in college as you can, because once you’re out, everything changes. Go on trips, apply for internships that seem impossible. Immerse yourself in personal projects to further your experience within your field before you’re thrown into the real world.
Once you’re out of college, you’re going to need as much ammunition as you can muster when you hit the job market.
So what’s life after college like? To be honest, it kind of sucks. If you’re lucky like me, you have a 9 to 5 job, which is awesome, but then again, if you’re like me, you’re also working a second job on the weekends to make a little bit of extra money to prepare for those accursed college loans that’ll be rolling in come November.
That’s why you need to seize the day—once you graduate, there’s no more fluffy summer vacations—no more planning for fall and spring break trips to outlandish places. After college, your main agenda is finding a job that either pays well or a job that’s an entrance into your chosen field. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll find both, but don’t expect jobs to just fall into your lap.
When I graduated, I had an over-zealous look on life and what was unfolding before me. I was so sure that, even though I was prepared to look for several months, I’d have the opportunity to apply for a handful of jobs and get call backs from at least a couple. News flash—it doesn’t work that way.
Most of the jobs posted these days for virtually any field, not just journalism, communications or new media, have a litany of expectations that most college grads can’t live up to. The first of those is the ultimate crusher of dreams. “A minimum of 2-3 years experience in the [insert your professional field here]or related field is expected.”
Did you know that most prospective employers don’t consider a two-year internship to count as experience? I learned the hard way. Even at my job, a colleague told me that when he goes through resumes, he usually tosses aside the resumes that list graduation dates as being within the last year. It almost makes you want to omit the date altogether from your resume.
So what am I doing about this? How am I coping, you ask? I’m applying to at least five positions every week and playing the waiting game. Don’t sell yourself short—I’m not. I’m not afraid to apply for positions that request two years experience, because in my mind, I have it. I just have to carefully word the cover letter.
Ah, cover letters. There’s a hidden art in playing yourself up to the HR representative who will be reading them. Don’t hesitate to brag about your accomplishments, however small you might think they are—you never know what might spark the interest of an employer.
Here’s a final piece of advice. Utilize CareerWorks. If it wasn’t for Becky Campbell, my resume never would’ve gotten me the internship I’ve been at since the summer of 2010. And, of course, seize the day. Go on trips, network and make some lasting memories. You never know what doors might open while you’re out exploring the world.