“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” It’s not exactly music to the ears, especially if you’ve spent a significant part of your college years within the confines of the library, working toward what you thought would be best for your future. Professional aspirations have been the driving force behind your perseverance and you certainly hope that the rewards will match your effort. In reality, your efforts may not be enough.
The economic forecast isn’t exactly promising. It seems as if these sorts of discouraging facts are being thrown out at will across all news networks. The state of the economy is a subject that occupies the front pages of newspapers all-too-often. Our familiarity with how difficult it can be to find a full-time job, even after graduating from a top university brings about anxiety and even sets off a panic among aspiring young professionals who had been hoping that their vision could be realized. What went wrong with the American dream? Is it still possible?
Yes, of course it’s possible, but it’s a little different. There is no pure “David vs. Goliath” story to be found within the real American dream. There are those who achieve considerable success, having started from scratch, but they do so with the help of luck and considerable help at crucial stages of their upward rise. For example, immigrants often come to the United States with scarce monetary resources and minimal connections. They spend a few years assimilating into the culture and acquainting themselves with people who eventually assist them in reaching their goals. Though you may hear people say “I did it all by myself,” it’s likely a bit of an exaggeration.
One of the most important skills to have in your arsenal is sociability. Approach people openly, showcase your worth through acts of generosity, and gain respect by being upstanding. Good people will notice your effort and reciprocate with similar actions. As long as you learn how to make positive impressions on people, you will have the advantage of others’ help whenever you are in dire need. People are generally empathetic toward those who show themselves to be worthy of admiration and respect.
This advice should not be interpreted as an encouragement of brown nosing. You should never be artificial in your interactions with people solely with the goal of gaining some sort of advantage. Do not let ulterior motives drive your social life. Being genuine always brings about the right result, in that you surround yourself with similarly good people. It is these types of individuals that can eventually make a big difference in your life. They can help you escape your struggles if they feel like you would be there to assist them in a similar situation. The value of making the right friends and acquaintances can never be underestimated. In the process of establishing such connections, you are literally choosing who you will be surrounded with for years to come. Make sure to not make these types of decisions lightly.
If you are looking for a summer job idea, here is the place. Only certain jobs will hire college students, and most of them are part time. I have experience at many different types of summer jobs. In this blog, I’ll include my insight and hopefully help spark your interest. Let’s get started.
Retail stores will almost always need seasonal help. The summer season is perfect because while some of their school year employees will be leaving, they will have openings for the summertime. I work at Victoria’s Secret currently and I love it. If you enjoy talking to people and helping them out in whatever way you can, retail is for you. You need to be a generally happy person and personable towards strangers. At my job I enjoy assisting customers and watching them leave knowing that I helped to make their day. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, try applying to various stores in the mall as soon as possible!
I have previously worked in two restaurants. During this time in my life I was too young to serve so I found myself as a hostess. This is another job where you need to be personable. As a host you’ll enjoy discounts on the food! If you like to eat, help people out, and can easily entertain yourself during the slow time, this is the job for you. As a college student you will be old enough to serve food. This is even better. Servers at good restaurants can make a lot of money really fast. Alongside your pay check you’ll walk out with cash every night you work due to your tips. A lot of people that serve really enjoy it, and the money. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, try applying at restaurants in your home town.
A warehouse is where you’ll likely make the most money during the summer. Also it’s probably where you’ll have the least amount of fun. I spent all of last summer in a hot warehouse tagging clothes. Although I didn’t enjoy my job, I made enough to buy my first car all by myself. Warehouses are great for big money fast. Every day I had to be at work by 7am and didn’t leave until 3pm. It’s a very long day. I made 9 bucks an hour though! It’s tedious and long but the money was worth it. If you are a scheduled person and are excited for a lot of hours and money, try applying at a local warehouse, they always need all the help they can get.
To wrap it up, these are the three different jobs I have firsthand experience with. If you’re looking for a summer job but don’t know where to go, try one of these options. The options I listed are usually looking for people this time of year especially. Good luck on your search!
Creating a resume is the biggest wake up call of your life. Not only do you have to think of all the responsibilities you had—or didn’t have—at your last internship, but you need to find a way to stand out. Especially when writing a resume for the very first internship you’re applying for and the only work you’ve ever known is a good old fast food restaurant, it might be tempting to embellish or even lie. While you certainly have to sell yourself and prove to the potential employer that you can get the job done and done well, there are lots of tips and tricks to keep in mind when crafting your resume.
Most importantly, you have to tell the truth. Think of yourself as Pinocchio. Sure, embellishing your duties here and there might seem like no biggie. This particular interviewer might not call up your references and ask. That added skill that you don’t really have might not be needed for this job…but what if they do call? What if that skill’s needed? Adding to your resume might help get you an interview—or even the gig—but at the end of the day, it isn’t worth it. Knowing you lied might trip you up during the interview, especially if they call into question what you wrote (not that they’ll think you’re lying necessarily, they just need to know more sometimes). Honesty is really the best policy for jobs.
If you don’t have a lot of experience or feel like a particular internship didn’t give you a lot of responsibilities, don’t sweat it. Resumes should be limited to one page. Honestly, we’re in college—if you have that much more than a page worth of stuff to tell in a resume, I applaud you. Stick to the most relevant experiences you’ve had. Even if it was an award you won in high school or a major accomplishment, it can stay on—though eventually you’ll cut those things off as you grow in experience and more related qualifications. Instead of lying to fill out your one page, you can also discuss classes you’ve taken that are pertinent to the position. If you want to be a web design intern, add on your web design class. But also be weary of tacking on your whole schedule. Be choosy about what you list on your resume, and keep the unrelated or unhelpful off the page if possible.
In addition to being choosy about the positions you include, you have to be choosy about how you sell yourself. Your interviewer wants to get to know you—but in a work-based sense. Meaning keep your life story out of your resume! If you had a life changing trip to another country, great for you. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be on the page (unless you can add “speaks Italian” to your skill set or gained some kind of related experience while abroad). You don’t need to include a head shot, your random hobbies or even your likes about a particular internship. These things can come up in the interview—if they’re worthwhile—and that kind of talk can be saved for in-person.
The resume is all about the basics: who’d you work with, where did you work , when were you working there, what did you do there with a touch of why you’re qualified for the new position you’re interviewing for. For every internship or job you list, make sure to include all those details. Have at least three bullets for each describing—with action verbs, like “Researched this” and “Wrote that”–some, if not all, of your responsibilities. Include a skills section for specialties, like Adobe InDesign or html or any languages you may know. Don’t forget to have a section for your education, not just the school but possibly your GPA, if you’re on the dean’s list or anything that helps you stand out. You can also have an honors and awards section, which may include scholarships, any awards you’ve won, or any mentions of excellence. Every accomplishment, no matter how seemingly trivial, counts and can make the difference between you and another applicant.
At the end of the day, a resume is a sheet of paper. Yes, it is important and yes, you should spend the time and energy to make it look and sound nice and professional. But you in person is worth more than you on paper. So don’t sweat it if you don’t have any awards to your name or your skill set appears limited. Put yourself out there, let your personality shine in your interviews and don’t just let your resume do the talking.
The following is a guest post from Margaret Mannix the Executive Editor of U.S. News & World Report’s best-selling higher education reference books, including Best Graduate Schools 2013 and Best Colleges 2012.
Given today’s economic turmoil, corporate belt-tightening, and abysmal unemployment rate, a second degree could mean a higher salary, a big career boost if you’re already out there in the working world, or an exciting new direction if you’re still floundering around with that part-time job at the mall. It’s a pricey proposition—you’re talking tuition and fees of $9,000 at public universities and more than $20,000 at private schools—but the payoff could be tremendous: People with master’s degrees earn more over their lifetimes than those with baccalaureate degrees.
For many of you 20-somethings, the decision might be a no-brainer. Coming out of grad school in your 20s or early 30s means you’ll have decades of high-earning power. And just think what that fatter paycheck will help with—rent, clothes, a car, and those student loan payments that seem to have no end. But—and this is a huge caveat—pulling in the big bucks in this day and age depends on your chosen field. The median salary for someone with a master’s in engineering is $107,600, according to a recent report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. That’s more than twice what someone with a master’s in English will earn.
Here are some things to think about if grad school is on your horizon (and you’ll find much more advice in our just-published Best Graduate Schools 2013 book!):
*Do your homework—and not just in choosing a program. Grill the career service people at all the schools you’re researching: Ask how many grads got jobs, what kind, and how long it took to get them. Ask about the long-term career path. Ask about the starting salaries for the jobs—and when you can expect a bump up in pay. Ask where all the good jobs are.
*For aspiring B-school grads, while the boom times aren’t back yet, there are definitely some bright spots. The tech sector is hiring more M.B.A.s, and international firms are seeking talented grads to help them take advantage of emerging markets like China.
*Prospects for newly minted engineers are excellent, with robust demand across the board—especially in electrical, biomedical, aerospace, computer, mechanical, and petroleum engineering, to name a few.
*Med school applicants will find that primary care practitioners are enjoying a seller’s market. Openings for nurse practitioners and physician assistants abound, too, and get this: One expert told U.S. News that more than 90 percent of people with a master’s in nursing nab a job within six months of graduating.
*Would-be J.D.’s might want to consider healthcare and intellectual property law, which are showing signs of rejuvenation thanks to recent legislation on healthcare, patents, and financial services.
eCampus.com has the absolute lowest price you will find for the Best Graduate Schools 2013 guide.
Right about now, you’re probably crawling out from underneath a pile of library books, term papers, and exam notes, feeling like you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. And you’re right, the school year is almost over, which means that if you’re a senior, you’ll be graduating soon. Congratulations!
While you should reward yourself for completing your degree program, don’t take a break for too long. There are many other details that need your attention now that school is winding down. To make it easier for you, we’ve put together a College Graduate checklist that will help make the transition in the “real world” a little bit easier.
5 Things Every College Grad Needs After Graduation
Job Search Tools
You might have already started your job search, but if not, now’s the time. For a successful job search, you’ll need a polished resume, 3-4 professional references, and a strong professional network. If you’ve never compiled a resume, you should be able to get some free guidance at your school’s career center. Professors, former employers, and student organization supervisors all make great references, so check in with those individuals now to see if they’ll speak on your behalf. As for networking, start with references, colleagues, coaches, and anyone else you’ve collaborated with in the past four years. Contact them about your job search, connect with them on LinkedIn, and pick their brain for any tips or job opportunities they know of.
If you’ve been living in the dorms the past four years, one of the first things you need to do before graduation is line up a place to live. Finding an apartment that fits your needs and price range can take a few weeks, so get started now. Make a list of what you want, what you don’t want, and start contacting apartment companies. Don’t forget that you’ll need money for a security deposit (anywhere from a month to two month’s rent), basic furniture (this is where futons come in handy) and to get the utilities (electricity, water, gas and cable) turned on in your name.
While you were in college, chances are that you were on your parent’s health insurance. The good news is that you can stay on you’re their plan for a few more years, until you’re 26, so if the internship or job you’re starting after graduation doesn’t offer a plan, you’re covered. If you do decide to switch insurance plans to what you’re employer is offering, make sure there are no gaps in your coverage, as that can currently affect your ability to receive treatment for pre-existing conditions.
A Work Wardrobe
Even if you luck out and land a job at a company with a relaxed dress code, you’ll still need a good suit or two for client meetings, corporate events, and business trips. Business clothes are expensive, so maximize your dollars by buying one or two suits in neutral colors, like black or gray, and variety of dress shirts in a different colors.
I know retirement probably seems very far away. But now is actually a crucial time in your retirement planning. Putting away a set amount each month, no matter how small, can have a huge impact on how much you’ll have when that golden day arrives. If you’re employer offers a 401(k) or similar plan, getting started should be pretty easy. If not, you can meet with a financial advisor and get started on your own.
I know the items on this checklist might seem overwhelming, but with the help of those who have gone before you (parents, an older sibling, an aunt or uncle) it’s all very doable, and the sooner you start, the easier your transition will be. Good luck!
Noël Rozny is Web Editor & Content Manager at myFootpath, a career and education resource for students of all ages. Visit myFootpath.com to find the bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD program that’s right for you.