In the eyes of a college student, summer is that anticipated season of the year that liberates you from nine months of stuffy classrooms and piles of coursework. This year, however, I got a sinking feeling as I completed my last exam. Ready or not, I had made the great leap from junior to senior year. I realized at that moment, that in less than 12 months I would graduate and begin work in the “real world.” I had to start thinking about the question that I had been simultaneously avoiding and attempting to answer since the start of college: How do I get my first job?
“Oh you don’t need to look for jobs because,” he paused to take a large sip of his martini, “they have a way of finding you.”
I posed this question to nearly every adult I have struck up a conversation with since early May, and the answers that I received vary wildly. One person said she called up the firm and simply asked for the job. Others were more enigmatic. “Oh you don’t need to look for jobs because,” he paused to take a large sip of his martini, “they have a way of finding you.”
There did appear to be a consensus on one piece of advice. One pearl of wisdom that echoed with everyone I spoke to was the importance of forming personal relationships. Although the necessity of networking may seem intuitive to someone who has been in the workforce, to me this came as a surprise. For the last ten years the school system has taught me that good grades are a top priority and indicative one’s intellectual abilities. While grades do matter when job searching, especially for the first employment, I have learned through my dialogues with seasoned job hunters that networking is equally important.
I have only taken the first few steps in the long journey that ends with a paycheck from my first official job, and I am not yet sure of my exact destination. At least now I know that networking, real or virtual, will provide me with an avenue to reach that destination.
Remember landing your first job? Was it through someone you knew, did you answer a job ad, did you knock on doors? While technology like job boards and social media have changed the tools used to look for work, are the fundamentals the same? What advice can staffing and recruiting professionals share with Millennials, like me, who are looking to finally put their education to work for the first time?