If you’re still in college, and don’t have a job lined up, you are not alone. The vast majority—80.2% of students we interviewed in the 2013 AfterCollege Job Seeker Survey were in the same boat (no job lined up as of April). Forty-five percent said that they found the job search to be difficult or very difficult. In 2012, 63% said the same thing and in 2011, 62% agreed that finding a job was difficult or very difficult. We get that the job search process can be intimidating, especially while you’re still in school, but we want to make sure you’re giving it a fair shot. Here are a few common excuses that may be creating a barrier between you and a job. Any of them sound familiar?
1. I’m too busy being a student. I’ll wait until I’ve graduated.
It’s true: Being a student is not a part-time commitment. Not only are you attending classes and completing the work required for those classes, but also playing sports, participating in clubs, and maintaining a social life. It can be hard to picture yourself having time to work at an internship/part-time job.
Well, if you want to have that experience when entering the workforce, you have to make the time. There’s no way to gain experience without well… experiencing. Who do you think an employer is more likely to hire? Someone who has been to every frat party offered by their university’s Greek life, or someone who has attended only about ¼ of those parties and has also held a part-time position in their field?
Here’s some food for thought: Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President for People Operations at Google, says that GPAs do not predict how successful a person will be as an employee. Google now looks more toward other aspects of a person’s application (like past work experience) when considering who to hire.
If the thought of adding an internship to your already jam-packed academic schedule is still giving you gray hairs, keep in mind that you can also use your summers to get some experience. Which leads very nicely to…
2. I want my summer vacation!
But I want my summer to be a summer! Yes, we can all understand this, but what you have to realize is, when you graduate from college, the real world is going to be waiting for you. Employers will not be patting you on the back and saying “Oh yes, we understand. You don’t have experience because you needed to have a summer vacation. Alright, that’s fine, we’ll hire you as a full-time employee and you can start gathering experience now.”
The truth is, most businesses want to hire students as interns. That way they can train you without straining their resources. Summer internships are a great way for companies to have an extra pair of hands and train someone they may want to hire in the future, without having to hire them full-time right then and there. It’s also an opportunity for both the company and the intern to build relationships that may come into play later on.
So, think about it this way—you have a total of three summers during your college career (hopefully by the end of your senior year you’ll have found a job). Can’t you spare at least two of them to gain experience you can put toward your résumé, build valuable relationships, and push yourself closer to finding a job after you graduate? If that just doesn’t work for you for whatever reason, you can opt for finding a variety of part-time and telecommuting internships like Deirdre Quirk.
3. I didn’t know my school had resources to help me find a job.
Something that I didn’t know, and that many of my friends didn’t know either, was that all of our universities had centers that were able to help us with the job search. It would be helpful if these Career Services were advertised more aggressively to their students, but most are not. Luckily for you, after reading this, you know they are there.
Based on the AfterCollege Job Seeker Survey, 22.9% of students have never used their school’s Career Services, most likely because they didn’t realize that they had them. Thirty-eight percent of students said that they have used Career Services and found them to be helpful and 25.9% said that they were okay, but needed improvement. Only 6.5% said that the Career Services at their schools were awful. Considering how low the percentage was for schools having completely unhelpful Career Services, it’s likely that you will benefit from asking your school for assistance when looking for a career.
And some schools are even starting to provide a stipend for students working at unpaid internships, so it’s definitely worth checking out what types of resources your school has to offer.
Homework time! Head into your school’s Career Services center. Ask if there are any seminars to attend on finding a job or developing your résumé. Attend a job fair that your school is having, and ask questions while you’re there. Ask a professor for advice on finding a job in your field. If school isn’t in session at the moment, spend some time building up your profile on sites like LinkedIn and AfterCollege or work on a project you can add to your portfolio.
P.S. Did your school help you with your transition into the workforce? Leave a comment telling us what your school did to prepare you.