Attention recent grads: It’s time to put away the Ramen and step up to the career plate. You’ve come a long way, and the moment has come to put your newly acquired skills and career plan into action.
Graduation can be an overwhelming experience, but the job outlook for 2012 is better than it has been for grads in recent years, so don’t be discouraged. According to CareerBuilder, 29% of employers looking to hire new graduates will offer higher starting salaries than they did last year. We have a few tips for the determined college grad focused on finding their perfect first job (and receiving their first paycheck!):
- Network, network, network – From peers, professors and past employers, establishing a professional network is beneficial for a job seeker. Keep in touch with contacts from internships and your favorite professor, they can act as mentors and guide you on your career path. Attend networking events where you can meet representatives from a variety of organizations looking to hire. Large events may be intimidating, so check out 6 Job Networking Tips for New Grads and you’ll be a networking pro in no time.
- Establish Your Brand – Your resume, portfolio, website and social media profiles need to present a professional image. You’re no longer a student but a budding young professional. Start with developing or revamping these pieces to create your brand. Develop social media profiles that are professional and are suitable for potential employers to view. Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Getting Started on LinkedIn: Advice for Recent Grads has introduction tips to set you in motion.
- Consult the Experts – Professional career advocates, like the crew at CM Access, can be a helpful resource to consider. Career advocates are just that – champions, proponents and backers – of your career. They have a large network of clients and are on the pulse of who is hiring, and can put you in front of the right people. They can offer advice on how to spruce up your resume and portfolio to showcase your experience and strengths. The road to finding a job can be tough, but you don’t have to go it alone.
Congratulations on your graduation…and welcome to the beginning of a great career!
Okay, I didn’t actually drop out of design class. But I was kicked out on my first day! Here’s how it went down…
It was fall semester, freshman year, at a liberal arts college and it was the first day of my Fundamentals of Design class. I stumbled into the Mac Lab just about a minute before class was about to start. After sitting there a few minutes, slightly confused as to why the professor appeared to be ignoring us, he silently wrote the assignment on the board…
Assignment: Design a logo for yourself using your name and ONLY text.
Easy enough I thought. I was always a little “hippy-ish” and wanted to convey an earthy look. I searched through some of the fonts available and settled on Papyrus in moss green. Great – I’m totally going to be a pro and ace this class I thought to myself. I eagerly awaited the professor as he made his way towards my workstation. He walked over to me, adjusted his funky reading glasses and plaid shirt and quietly said, “Okay, you can go now.” I was a bit taken aback – was I so good that he couldn’t teach me anything? – so good that I didn’t have to bother showing up to class? I sat there perplexed and he said again “Please leave my class now.” Dare I ask why? I gathered my things very slowly to see if he told anyone else to leave. No. I had this feeling in my gut that I did something wrong – I had never taken a design class before, I couldn’t have been that good. What could I have done to deserve getting kicked out of class? As I slowly walked towards the door, he announced to the group of hopeful graphic designers, “If I ever catch you using Papyrus, you are not welcome in my class.” I was able to return to class and now that I’ve grown into a real designer, I can proudly say that I have never used Papyrus again in any of my work.
Take it from me, as a creative professional, you should avoid certain fonts in your resume and portfolio. Stay away from over used fonts such as Times, Times New Roman, Helvetica, Arial. Using fonts such as Brush Script, Papyrus, Curls, Impact, Comic Sans, Mistral, or any other cheesy “wanna-be” designer fonts in either your resume or portfolio pieces may disqualify you from a creative position – especially if you’re a graphic designer. If you’re a copywriter, marketing manager, or another non-design professional, you can may be able to get away with it. By the way, if your resume submitted electronically, stick to sans serif choices (the ones without the tails) and if you’re printing your resume, it is easier to read serif fonts (the ones with the tails). I recommend fonts such as Abadi MT, Adobe Carlson Pro, and hundreds more fonts, or you can be creative and choose one of the hundreds you already have in your Font Book. Oh, and if you’re a font geek like me, you’ll really enjoy this random font combination generator!
In a job interview, you always want
to conduct yourself in a manner that exudes positive self-esteem and confidence because let’s face it; you will never land a job you don’t believe you will get. The secret to instantly appearing confident (as Andy has so graciously illustrated for us) is P.R.E.S.S., which stands for:
Now I know what you’re saying to yourself – “Clever acronym and we get it, but how is this image speaking clearly?” Well friends, being the creative professionals that you all are, do we really have to remind you that a picture can speak a thousand words? 🙂
Miss Tip #8?
Check Out Tip #10!
Employers in the world of creative marketing want people, not just skills and “Tell me about yourself” is one of the most common questions they will ask. This is your time to shine so be professional, but allow your own personality to come through as you tell them all about your skills and experience. Focus on your strengths and avoid bringing up skills that aren’t required for the position. If you don’t know how to answer a question, just say so and ask for clarification.
Miss Tip #2?
Check out Tip #4!
Employer bashing is a foolproof way to make sure you do not get a call back. Everybody has bad experiences at previous jobs, but the trick is spinning it into a positive. Instead of going into a tailspin about how much you dislike your current or former boss and co-workers, talk about what you learned from the position and how it made you a better professional. Remember, there is always a positive spin on any negative experience you’ve had professionally.
Miss Tip #1?
Check out Tip #3