Would you like to earn more money in your post-college career? One key is to go straight from college into a job.
Graduates who land quality positions right after college “earn considerably higher salaries" than those who don't take a job until later, according to new research from the Strada-Gallup Alumni Survey.
“Forty-three percent of recent graduates who had a good job waiting for them upon graduation now earn at least $60,000 in personal income, compared with fewer than two in 10 graduates who took two to less than 12 months (18 percent) or one year or more (14 percent) to find a good job," the report said.
This doesn't mean that you should necessarily be sending out resumes now if you're planning to graduate in May, but you should be making connections that will lead you to your post-college career.
Some careers require certifications and other requirements before you can get hired, so always factor in those considerations if you're in one of those fields. Barring any job-specific pre-requisites, however, most college seniors can benefit from a few pieces of advice to help stay on the job-hunting track.
To get a handle on how you can be among the grads transitioning straight into a career after college, check out the following quick tips.
1. Don't Wait Until Commencement to Apply
The final semester of college can often involve juggling classes, internships and research responsibilities, but don't let job hunting fall through the cracks as you head toward the graduation runway.
You'll want to prep for your job hunt sometime around your winter break so you can start your applications during the spring semester. “You should start applying a minimum of two months prior to graduation," said career coach Hallie Crawford, MA, CPCC.
This will give you time to review and determine the types of positions you want to pursue, identify companies you'd like to target and work through the application processes, Crawford said.
2. Plan Your Application Schedule Carefully
Because you are still navigating your coursework and other responsibilities, you should build your college application plans into your weekly schedule so you can map out exactly which job-hunting activities you'll be doing each week leading up to graduation.
During this period, you'll want to allot time to work on your resume and identify target companies and jobs that look like a good fit based on past experience, volunteering gigs, internships and interests. Once you work out your job search and application time frame, you can get all of your materials organized.
This is also a good time to talk to professors, visit your school's Career Center and check in with your mentors and any internship advisors who might be willing to help guide your job exploration process. Your network is not only valuable in helping you find the right jobs, but also to bounce ideas off of when you have questions.
3. Don't Assume Your First Job Will Be Your Dream Role
You want to aim high when job-hunting, but you may also need to accept that it could take a few entry-level positions before you make it to your ultimate dream job, and that's okay. As long as you're working toward your goals by finding related positions in the industry and meeting people who can teach you the skills you'll need to hit your target career, you're on the path to your dream position.
Therefore, if you get an offer, evaluate it against both your short-term and long-term goals, and compare it to the other opportunities you've pursued along the way.
“While you don't want to take a job that you know you'll hate or that goes against your values, accepting a job sooner than later will help you earn income, build your confidence, give you work experience and start getting out of the house (if you still live at home)," Crawford said. “This will make it easier for you to get a better job down the line once you have built up your experience."