Do you really need to go to college to get a job?

by fred 16. March 2010

When you’re in school, you’re told that you will have to go to college to get a good job. You’re faced with College Prep classes, SAT’s and the laborious college selection process. It’s a long road, but in the end it will all be worth it”, right?

Well not in all cases. Lots of college graduates face the same obstacle in their post-graduate job search: finding that first job. Most companies just ask too much from applicants, while other companies aren’t specific enough about what they need. As a result graduates turn to internships or a referral from relatives to get a job, but many of them end up working for less money than what they’re worth. While this can be frustrating, the job search after college doesn’t have to be a failure.

Take Pamela, for example. She went to college for four years. She has two degrees in Marketing and Accounting. She has some experience from internships, but not much. She graduated last spring, and has sent her resume out to hundreds of companies in the past few weeks. She has taken classes on job search and resume writing. She has even consulted with the career counselors at her school to make sure she’d be prepared to enter the real world when the time comes. Still, she hasn’t gotten a single response from anyone who wants to hire her.

This is annoying for her because she studied hard to be prepared for a career and be successful in the real world. It’s also stressing to her because her uncle works in the Electronics Department at a big store and makes almost $50,000 a year, with no college education. She can’t even find an entry level position for $20,000 where she can work her way up. What is she doing that is so wrong?

To begin with, She is sending the same resume to every job. Additionally, she has a generic cover letter that she sends with her resume. She speaks to everything that a position would require in her resume and cover letter, but she isn’t targeting her words to each employer.

Employers need to know what you can do for them and every job listing is different. That’s why it’s essential that you adapt your resume and cover letter to reflect each job opening that you apply for. She needs to look at keywords that are placed in the job announcements and use them in her resume writing. She also needs to look specifically for beginner positions, because she only has that one internship under her belt.

Another thing she can do is to use her inexperience to her advantage. By this, we simply mean taking the time to make light of her lack of experience, and give it a positive spin. For example, because of this lack of experience, she’s completely able to be trained to a company’s specific needs. She is not set in her ways, and has no routine that has to be broken. This sounds much better than “I’ve never worked on this before.”

Resume writing can be a challenging endeavor, as can the post-college job search. However, as long as you provide a polished resume that stands out from the crowd, you can ensure that your phone will be ringing in no time.

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