5 Ways To Make a Strong Entrance into the Workforce as a New Graduate - Geneva College
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5 Ways To Make a Strong Entrance into the Workforce as a New Graduate

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You've spent long hours writing papers and studying for exams. Along the way, you've learned a great deal not only in your major program, but also about what it takes to succeed in the modern workforce. Now, it's time to apply this information as you seek to make your mark in a competitive field. The hard work is just beginning.

Opportunities abound for new graduates. But finding the right job can be tricky even when you have all the right credentials, internships, and professional contacts. Unfortunately, you may encounter the age-old conundrum: Employers often demand that applicants have at least a few years of work experience—but how do you obtain this experience if companies insist you have it before they hire you?

Thankfully, this problem is far from unsolvable. Many companies are more than willing to give new graduates a chance. In fact, many actively seek out recent grads. What's more, a variety of experiences gained during college can be leveraged to impress prospective employers.

Still worried? Entering the workforce doesn't need to be scary. Here's what you should know about finding—and excelling in—your first job after graduating.


  1. Identify Important Lessons and Skills from Your Previous Work Experience

The quest for relevant work experience can be frustrating for recent graduates. Often, however, this is simply a matter of perception. If you assume that you lack applicable work experience, think again. While internships provide some of the best opportunities for entering the workforce, you can also make the most of previous jobs that, at first glance, might not seem particularly noteworthy.

 A variety of positions can teach you important lessons while also helping you develop skills that are critical in nearly every industry imaginable. It's up to you to determine how you benefited from these jobs—and how you can display them in their best light in your resume and during interviews.

 Perhaps you worked in retail throughout college. During this time, you dealt with a variety of customers and learned how to operate effectively within a team. You may have even enjoyed a promotion, perhaps taking on a team lead or assistant manager position. This is all valuable information for potential employers. Likewise, administrative experience reveals attention to detail, while volunteer work shows that you're committed to your community.


  1. Think Outside of the Box

If you're stubbornly determined to score a job that obviously relates to your major, you might miss out on valuable opportunities to gain important contacts or skills. Employers increasingly appreciate professionals with transferable skills, so don't discount opportunities that lie outside of your initial expectations. You may be surprised by the extent to which you can draw parallels between your major and your seemingly unrelated first job.

 Similarly, it's important to build a diverse network. You never know where an exciting job opportunity may be hiding. Leverage your full range of contacts. Yes, instructors from your major program will be helpful, but the same could be true of your new friend from Bible study, your supervisor at your part-time job, or even your roommate's parents.


  1. Do Your Research

The work you put into the job search and the first few days with a new position can pay huge dividends over time. Avoid the urge to send out resumes by the bucketful. And don’t rest easy following early successes. Instead, dive in with careful research.

 Depending on the situation, this may involve scoping out potential employers on LinkedIn, reading white papers, or taking a closer look at provided training materials. Use your findings to highlight your proactive, detail-oriented personality. In a competitive market, it may only take one well-timed remark to help you stand out from other qualified applicants.


  1. Make the Most of Constructive Feedback

Like it or not, you'll probably receive at least one or two rejections on your way to career success. If you fear negative feedback above all else, you might neglect to go after promising opportunities. Instead of viewing such disappointments as embarrassing failures, think of them as ways to learn and grow.

 Some of the best feedback can be gleaned from rejections received after interviewing. While some employers take an impersonal route with form letters, many are willing to let applicants know why they decided to go in a different direction. This information may provide powerful insights into aspects of the interviewing process that might otherwise be difficult to understand. Armed with newfound knowledge, you can enter your next application or interview feeling more prepared.


  1. Be Patient

Some students are fortunate enough to find the perfect job before they even graduate college. For others, the initial job search may extend for several months or even a full year. This can be true even for highly capable professionals with stand-out resumes.

While financial concerns may have you eager to jump at the first job that arrives, there's a difference between being open to opportunities and wasting your potential on a position that is clearly a poor fit.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the right job simply won't arrive right away. It's okay to take your time and scope out the current market to determine the best strategy. Once you've taken on the busy schedule of a professional, you may find it more difficult to work on building relationships, developing new skills, or exploring exciting possibilities.

With a little patience and persistence, you'll find that you can draw on your experiences as a college student to make your mark in today's workforce. Take advantage of this opportunity to apply all you've learned these past few years—you'll be rewarded with a rich and fulfilling entry into the workplace.

For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your top academic and career goals, contact us at 855-979-5563 or online


Opinions expressed in the Geneva Blog are those of its contributors and do not necessarily represent the opinions or official position of the College. The Geneva Blog is a place for faculty and contributing writers to express points of view, academic insights, and contribute to national conversations to spark thought, conversation, and the pursuit of truth, in line with our philosophy as a Christian, liberal arts institution.

Dec 11, 2020