College is a great place to meet new friends, have meaningful shared experiences, and learn many new things. A good college class with a good professor will teach you how to think, communicate, and work well with others. These are positive experiences and will give you a strong foundation from which to launch your career. The real question to ask yourself, however, is are you hireable? Are you prepared for the job search process that lies ahead?
You can graduate with good grades from a good school, but that does not necessarily mean you will get a good job right away. Chances are, there are many other people applying for the job. You must not only make yourself stand out, but be able to get through the hiring process. For most people, the career world is much different from the college world.
Applying for a good job involves a set of skills different from what you learned in your classes. Most notably, it involves creating an effective resume and learning how to excel at a job interview. It also involves composing a good cover letter and following proper protocol for sending out follow-up messages after your interview. You need to learn how to handle setbacks, dress properly, speak properly. You need to make sure you are punctual and professional. Perhaps most important as we climb through the 21st century, you need to make sure your social media footprint is reflective of someone who is going to properly represent the place you are planning to work.
Many employers tell me that how candidates represent themselves on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is more important than the reference letters they are asked to provide. After all, almost everyone is going to seek a recommendation from someone they know who will speak highly of them. Nobody in right mind will ask for a recommendation from someone who won’t recommend them. Your social media footprint is different. It tends to be a candid depiction of who you are and how you brand yourself.
Yes, your future employer will check. The will search you out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They will Google you too. Any hint of trouble and your candidacy will be stopped dead in its tracks. If you think about it, if the roles were reversed, and you were making a hiring decision for a prestigious company, you would probably do the same.
Succeeding in college clearly requires one skill set, and obtaining a great job requires another. It’s almost as if soon to be college graduates need to flip a switch and think in a different way. That is not always the easiest thing to do. Some people seem to be able to do so automatically, but for most people it takes practice. There will be missteps and failures. If you do what’s right, and persevere, eventually your desired job will come your way. It is a matter of preparing yourself for the job search process and making yourself hireable.