Preparing For The Transition from College To Career (infographic)

College is about more than just helping you get a job afterward. It’s supposed to be a time to learn and grow, and one of the things you learn in college is the framework by which you can continue to learn and grow long after you have graduated. While most people choose college because of the career prospects it will provide, actually teaching you how to get a job is one of the things where many college curriculums are lacking. Fortunately, there are just a few steps to take during your college career to put you on the best footing after graduation.

Getting A Job Is Getting Easier

During The Great Recession, unemployment rose sharply and recent college graduates graduated into one of the worst job markets since The Great Depression. Unemployment and underemployment have remained a significant problem since then, though both have fallen overall since the worst part of The Great Recession. Since 2012 wages for recent college graduates have grown steadily, and in 2019 the average graduating senior had been offered 1.1 jobs, a 12 year high. While this is the longest run in job growth since the late 1990s, that doesn’t mean getting a job after graduation is a guarantee.

Getting A Job Starts During Freshman Year

Choosing the right major is critical for the short-term goal of getting a job after college, but job markets and the economy shift, so it’s best to choose a major that will help you to have a flexible framework for the future. A liberal arts education doesn’t always get the proper respect, but four in five employers want liberal arts majors because of their critical thinking, communication, and problem solving skills. What’s more, 93% of employers believe that soft skills are more important than a college major.

In the last several decades the alarms have been sounding about a shortage of STEM graduates and currently 87% of high schoolers are planning to enter STEM related fields. It’s the fastest growing jobs sector for recent college graduates, but it’s important to remember that it may not always be, and a liberal arts education can also prepare you for both graduate programs and jobs in the STEM field.

While many career counselors push business and STEM programs, liberal arts degrees can get you into a career field much more flexibly.

Over the course of your college career, it’s important to think about a path or multiple paths that you might like to try after college. Start asking professors for letters of recommendation for these career paths. Look for internships in different fields to ‘test drive’ you career options and see what might fit you best. Most importantly, start building your network while you are still in school.

Your Online Presence Is Crucial

When you are in school it’s easy to focus on your next exam, your next homework, and your next break. Longer-term things like building a network or a portfolio seem distant enough to not be of immediate concern. But working on a portfolio and your LinkedIn profile as you go helps to establish your background so you have something to show when it’s time for that first interview.

If you aren’t sure how to get started using LinkedIn, start with a good headshot and cover photo. Keep your profile organized and up to date, and follow some companies you may want to work for in the future. Look for LinkedIn influencers to follow to gain a better perspective on how to use LinkedIn and to keep up with new features.

Learn more about making the transition from college to career below.

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