Guest Post: 4 Simple Career Tips for College Grads

Are you graduating this year or thinking about your post-college career prospects? Check out these simple, effective tips from Lauren Berger, the “Intern Queen,” who completed 15 internships (!) throughout her four years of college. Berger is now CEO of www.internqueen.com, a free internship site where students can both apply for top-notch opportunities and read Lauren’s blog on how to make the most of them. Lauren is also the author of the new book, All Work, No Pay: Finding An Internship, Building Your Resume, Making Connections, and Gaining Job Experience.

1. Determine what makes you tick. When I was a freshman in college, I had no clue how I wanted to spend my time after graduation. In my book, I recall printing out a list of the college majors my school had to offer. I started circling everything that interested me. When I looked over the sheet, I’d circled everything within the communications space – PR, Marketing, Entertainment, Advertising. This was my starting point.

2. Visit your career center – more than once. The career center should be one of your first stops when trying to figure out what you want to do with your life. The career center spends time every single day building relationships with local, national, and international employers in fields across the board – for you! Many students make the mistake of only going in once and expecting magic. On your first visit, meet with a counselor and formulate a plan. Determine when your next visit will be. You should visit the career center every 6-8 weeks.

3. Do your research. Going back to my freshman year, I had my list of industries I was potentially interested in – PR, Marketing, Entertainment, Advertising. I sat down at my computer and started researching. I was going to Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida at the time. I typed into the computer “PR Internships in Tallahassee, Florida” – a few companies popped up. I clicked on the first company that popped up and read as much material as I could on their website. When researching, it’s important to review the mission statement, executive bios, and the about us section.

4. Con’t be afraid to cold call. When looking for your dream company, don’t be afraid to take initiative. If you cannot find any career or internship information on the website, call the company main number, and ask to speak with the internship coordinator. Remember to be polite to whomever you speak with. The gatekeeper (receptionist) might not put you through BUT it’s worth calling and attempting to speak with the internship coordinator. You never know!

Thank you, Lauren, for the guest post!

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7 Comments

    Comment: Posted by Ramesh Vyas on January 6, 2014 at 5:01 am

    As a recruiter from 6 years, what we look for in new graduates is their soft skills. How they talk and behave with the admin staff and others really matters for us.

    Comment: Posted by Linda Bucher on June 20, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    There is another issue with college grads: they don’t take the time to write a fine resume. I can understand that being a starter in real life it is not that simple but hey, why not listen to tips given by experienced ones? There are so many fantastic articles with advice (http://moneyland.time.com/2012/04/13/how-to-make-your-resume-last-longer-than-6-seconds/ , just as an example), they should only read them and work on their own resumes.

    Comment: Posted by Jillian on June 13, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    A lot of college students that I interview do not even make an effort to call back for a follow up call. I have only got a few calls related to job openings too. I don’t know if it is just a generation gap problem or if the latest additions to the workforce don’t realize that follow-up calls and cold calling about a job opening help their chances of gaining employment.

    Comment: Posted by Julie on June 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    My favorite is #4 – cold calling. As an entrepreneur it’s the best skill you can develop, and today job seekers need to learn to think like an entrepreneur.

    Comment: Posted by Vivian Adams on May 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    #3 is very important, especially once you secure a first-round interview. The interviewer will likely ask “Why do you want to work here?”, and you should have specific reasons that demonstrate your true passion and interest in the company. Not being able to articulate what differentiates a company from the ten others to which you applied can be a deal-breaker for most interviewers. Therefore, you should spend time researching the company to help formulate your answer.

    Comment: Posted by Lindsey Pollak on May 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    @Lori – Thanks for the comment!

    Comment: Posted by Lori Bumgarner on May 14, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    As a former college career adviser, I can definitely say that you are absolutely right in #2. It is never too early to start going to your college career center, and you can’t expect to only make one visit. Students should never look at their career centers as placement centers. They are not there to hand you a job on a silver platter. They are there to TEACH you and provide you the skills to find a job because they know that you will have to go through this process more than once (for some several times) throughout your career and lifetime. Thank you Lauren for a great article!

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