jobs

5 Important Skills to Learn Before You Graduate

There are some things you are definitely going to want to master before you finish college.  Finding a job after college is harder than ever and you want to be as prepared as possible.  You’ll likely start in an entry-level position and this list will prepare you for what lies ahead!

1. Photoshop

 photoshop

The world is becoming increasingly digital.  Any company you end up working for has a website and one or more social media accounts.  Photoshop is a great skill to have in your arsenal because it will likely come in handy for a great number of future projects.  Photoshop can help you create/adjust logos, flyers, newsletters, etc.  This is an excellent skill to have on a resume because potential employers will see it as a great asset!

2. Microsoft Office

microsoft office

This may seem obvious, but knowing all the ins and outs of Microsoft Office is essential.  Don’t just know how to use the basics of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook, know how to use every feature of each program.  You’ll likely be using Microsoft Office a lot in whatever job you have and you’re going to want to know everything you can; it’ll make your professional life much easier!

3. How to Use a Copy Machine Extensively

Copy Machine

When you’re first starting out in your professional life, the Copier is going to be a big part of your routine.  The last thing you want is to be the person that breaks the copier or needs help using it; to avoid this, take the time to learn how to use all of the features of one of the copy machines on campus—it may not be the exact machine you will have at your future job but it is a great start.  Also look over the machine to know how to fix it when it jams and how to change the toner!

4. How to Write a Professional Email

email

 This is extremely important.  In most jobs, you will be corresponding with many different people and you want to always make a good, professional impression.  Whether it is an email between you and a co-worker, you and your boss, or you and a client/affiliate of the company, you want to make sure you come across as intelligent, organized, and professional.  This is also an important skill when you are emailing with a potential employer about an interview!

5. Social Media

social media

Learn the ins and outs of several social media platforms.  Most companies several social media accounts, so having a lot of knowledge about Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube, etc. is really important.  Having these skills is also great for your resume.  If you notice that your company has yet to make an account for a social media platform that is or is becoming very popular, suggest that they make one and maybe even offer to create and run it for them.  This shows initiative and can lead to more opportunities and responsibilities!

How To Write a BAD Resume

Nothing is more enthralling than writing up your first post college resume, right? ….Okay I am only joking about the thrills of the trade.  Let’s change things up a little by me sharing with you how to write a BAD resume in three easy steps.

Step 1. WRITE FAST.

You seriously want to be done with this horrible task as soon as possible.  Editing takes forever and you may have to find another person for a second opinion.  Human Resources will definitely know you were trying to say “shift” the 30 times you left out the f.

Confused businessman
Photo Credit 

Step 2. WRITE A LOT.

No need to be shy- the employer has all day to read over your resume.   You should flood them with useless achievements beginning with your youth t-ball team home run up until the award winning omelet you created this morning. The less relevant the achievements are to the job posting the better.  You want to stand out!

Sleepy-Woman
Photo Credit

Step 3. LIE. LIE. LIE.

This company doesn’t know you.  Embellish EVERYTHING! Odds are they are not going to actually cross check all credentials you list.

surprise-man-computer

Photo Credit 

Okay…READY? SET? GO!

*DISCLAIMER: Following any of this advice will almost guarantee you a spot in the “reject” pile for landing interviews. Only follow these steps if you would like to remain unemployed.

Big Girl Pants: Not Taking On Too Much

Club fairs, internship offers, classes and part-time jobs are all beginning.

It’s easy to sign your name to a bunch of club newsletter lists, but eventually, you’ll have to make some choices as to what you want to follow through on and which you don’t.

I am a perfect example of taking on too much. I always knew I didn’t want to regret not doing something. I played collegiate field hockey, pledged a sorority, worked at the study abroad office, actually studied abroad, lived in a sustainable living facility and kept up with multiple internships and part-time jobs.

Looking back, there is nothing I wish I did, aside from maybe relaxing a bit more.

Half way through your college experience, you might feel as though your responsibilities and commitments are gobbling you up. I am not condoning running from responsibility, but one way I started over was through the National Student Exchange. I realized I had a lot of commitments and I no longer was too happy. I realized as a 20 year old, I didn’t need that much stress.

I made some phone calls and prepared a trip with the National Student Exchange. I figured out that a school 3,000 miles away had the courses I needed and was cheaper for me to go to. I got to relive some study abroad moments (packing for four months in two bags, meeting new people from all over the world, exploring a new area). I am a proud alumna of all of the organizations I was apart of while at my home school back in New Jersey. Now, when I have a few hours in between classes and internship work, I get to explore California with new friends. I scheduled courses into my schedule that make sense to my academic career that I wouldn’t be able to have done otherwise.

If half way through your college years, you feel as though your life is more stressful than you can manage, go over to your school’s study abroad office and check out if they participate in the National Student Exchange.

If you don’t have this as an option or traveling isn’t for you, be honest with yourself and with others about how much you can take on. Exploit your opportunities; go out there and do stuff; but be sure to take some time for yourself too.

Internships, Jobs, and Co-ops, Oh My!

It’s no secret that jobs are in high demand right now. Every day we see the unemployment rate fluctuate and play with our emotions. Graduating college seniors know all too well the struggles that accompany a serious job search. In these last few weeks, as they all prepare to walk across the stage, many are reflecting back on the last four years and pinpointing what may or may not have helped them land a “real-world” job. I’ve been listening, and taking notes trying to figure if there is a successful formula to finding a career after college, or if lady luck is the only one who can predict our professional fate.

I’ve heard it through the grapevine, and partially through experience, that employers are looking for a mix of things. They want to look at everything you’ve done in the last for years—and more recently, even your Facebook page! Employers will look at your GPA, you major, activities and your experience. So what matters most? How can you prepare yourself to be an attractive employee? (Regardless of the job you’re applying for!)

Seniors going out to work now swear by their internships and hands on experience. They say that nothing helped them more! So do internships, summer jobs, and networking make all the difference when it comes to the top and bottom of a candidate pool, or is there something else to consider?

Whether it’s your class work, activities or your experience, the way you spend your four years in college could have a huge impact on your future, so listen up!

No one will tell you that you can’t have fun in college. In a way, people will sometimes even encourage you to do so—you have four years before the rest of your life starts. Learn lots, make a few mistakes, and mature into the adults we are all capable of being. However, what many mean by the phrase “make the most of the next four years”, is slightly deeper.

Yes, we should have fun, and branch out. But we also have to remember that four years flies by. It will be over before we know it. And while “fun” makes for great memories, if we aren’t careful we won’t have much to show our future employers—except for those Facebook pictures you only wish they couldn’t see! Our coursework, our major and our activities say a lot about who we are. Our resume showcases our academic capacity and interests. Our activities show our potential to work with groups and form leadership opportunities. But do these bullets on our resumes say enough about us, or do we need the “hands-on” experience to proof to support the words?

If you ask me, you should try your very hardest to get an internship, co-op, or summer job. The experience is invaluable in the work world. It shows future employers that you can handle a job, hopefully in your field of study, not to mention you already have some time under your belt. You can use your experience from campus—your classes, or student organizations history— to your advantage and really showcase your skills in the office, or on the job.

Need another reason to give up your summer pool time to work? You can get a feel for an industry or job before you commit to it full time. Think of it this way, applying for jobs can be great, but what if you get one in a field you don’t really mesh with? Use this time while you’re still a student to decide if your “desired” path is right for you.

Internships, like jobs, don’t grow on trees. They can be competitive. But do your research and apply often and early!  Find connections on LinkedIn, network and chat with as many friends, coworkers, alumni and professors as you can! The more you network and research the easier it will be to find openings in companies and areas that interest you. When you’re in college summer seems like a time to let loose and relax—only a few months until class starts up again! But don’t get sidetracked! This time can be precious and could mean the difference between being hired and being left behind in “the pile”.

-Ring Queen

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