You’ve just graduated from college and feel that you have completed a major milestone in your life. True. But in many ways you have only created a stepping stone for yourself, and you must now work to learn about the business world and apply your education to a career.
The first decision that you need to make is to define what specific job you are looking for. If you don’t focus on a specific job, more often than not you may become overwhelmed with options and unable to create targeted and compelling cover letters.
Know what you want. Once you have established (at least initially) what job you will search for the next step is to find out what is expected of you and ask yourself how you can meet these expectations.
Once you know what you want, and what you have to offer a company – you must network! Jobs will rarely fall into your lap. Even if a job does fall into your lap, how will you know if it was “the” job unless you have explored your options within various industries and companies.
Work on finding contacts at various companies and developing a relationship with these contacts. At the same time be searching newspapers, job websites, and individual company websites for job openings. Your success will increase greatly if you can find a contact at a company, that also has a job opening in which you are qualified. Be resourceful!
If you’re an MBA graduate, chances are that you have strong direction for your career and have obtained an MBA to use as a tool to reach your goals. In many ways, the hard part has just begun. Your degree won’t guarantee you a high-level job nor will it guarantee that you advance quickly within a company. You have the background, but you must now commit to developing knowledge within the business world and channeling that knowledge into your future career.
As you have heard time and time again, it’s not what you know, but who you know. Well – as an educated professional you probably feeling strongly that what you know is important. But, a significant part of that equation truly is who you know. While a company might be advertising a position, it is a person who will ultimately make the decision on who is hired and most employers are looking for a combination of “smarts and personality”.
The best way to display your drive and personality is through face-to-face networking. In fact, a combination of knowing someone within a company, as well as being on top of open positions within a company, will be your best plan. You can ask your newly discovered “insider” to pass your resume on to a hiring manager, and if you have adequately displayed your enthusiasm this person might even be willing to provide you with a recommendation. Never underestimate the power of a personal impression.