As a new grad, I had difficulty finding work right out of school. As much as I had the education, I didn’t have the work experience and this is what I found to be a tricky loop: not having any experience is what kept me from obtain any experience. And we all know that as a new grad, your first focus is always finding work (unless you go travel, and that is also very cool).
My first piece of advice to new grads is to be creative with how to put experience on their resume- no, I don’t mean take creative license with embellishment, I mean creative with obtaining it. Find a volunteer role, or an unpaid (or better yet, low-paying) internship. This is a great way to apply your learned skills and even help make industry connections in the mean time. Another way to put experience on your resume is to change from a chronologically organized resume to a skills based resume. This will allow you to highlight what you can do, and can give examples from extra-curricular activities, volunteer activities or transferable skills from your life before graduating from school.
My second piece of advice falls under networking, but it also related to building a support network of peers and experienced resources. These are going to be you ‘go-to’ people once you are out in the workforce. These people will be those who will share industry knowledge with you, be able to share historical patterns with you and may even help you land your first job through being a reference or a referral for you. Build your network and keep it- leverage things like LinkedIn, professional associations, your school’s Alumni associations and friends and family.
My third piece of advice for new grads would be to keep up your education. I know once you graduate the last thing on your mind is more school, but make the effort to keep current with your profession’s industry standards. A part of career growth is knowledge based, but part of it is personal and a way to combine both is through professional development, leadership development and mentorship. I think everyone should play a part in a mentoring relationship- whether it be being a mentor to a new student, or even a new grad just a year behind you in addition having a person senior to you mentor you. Mentorship combines both personal and professional development in such a satisfying way.
I welcome your comments and suggestions on other development activities you may suggest. Best of luck class of 2013!