Business Magazine

Common Challenges for College Grads

Posted on the 15 June 2011 by Ncrimaldi @MsCareerGirl

Hi Ms. Career Girl Readers!  The following article by Carol Montrose is right on.  If you’re having a really tough job search, this article will help you face some realities in order to put yourself on a new course.  If you’re still in college, this article is super relevant- I hope college sophomores and juniors are taking notes!  I’m going to follow up with responses to the 5 challenges listed with remedies related to via social media.  Stay tuned! -Nicole

By, Carol Montrose

Making the move from life as a college grad to your professional job can sometimes present a challenge. If you are a brand new graduate just kicking off your career, you would be wise to consider the bumpy road ahead. Although not all students have difficulty making this transition, few find entry into the professional realm to be effortless. The following list details a few obstacles you may experience along the way if you haven’t planned ahead.

1. You have no work experience. Many employers prefer to consider candidates with some job experience in their field of expertise. Despite the fact that you have just devoted four strenuous years and probably several thousand dollars to specializing in the field through obtaining a degree, employment experience in your field is what makes you more competitive.

Remedy this situation by touching base with career counselors or favorite professors at your alma mater. They may have ideas for good companies or internships to start you out in the professional realm. Additionally, contacting people who already have professional careers in your trade is a good way of seeing how other people got where you want to be.

2. Employers are not hiring in your area. In this economy if you start out in a small town with few opportunities or even a large city, which is over saturated with qualified applicants, you may run into issues finding a job. In this instance, you need to be flexible. Consider switching locations. Somebody, somewhere IS hiring, and a change of scenery might be just the thing to motivate you.

3. You don’t interview well. You may know your job inside out, but from the moment you walk through the door you are being sized up. As intimidating as this may seem, the most successful candidates are those that do well in the interview. Your resume is only half the battle, the other half is your interpersonal skills.

Know what you want without being picky. Having a plan and goals shows your potential employer that you are confident and ready for a career in your field.

Practicing patience and flexibility is also a good idea since you may have to start at the bottom working odd hours or weekends. If it gives you experience in what you want to be doing, you can be confident that you are moving in the right direction.

4. You’re not sure what you want to do. This problem is common to many graduates. Although you’ve gotten your degree, it’s hard to immediately make a commitment to one type of work before you really have a handle on what your day-to-day will look like.

In order to try things out without the strain of being hired and quitting every few months, try job shadowing working professionals in a few different fields of interest. This will give you a chance to see what your day will look like, what you’d like to work towards, and it will also give you a professional contact in the field if you make a solid connection.

5. You get called in for the interview, but you never seem to snag the call back. If you get turned down over and over again, it might be time to consider different ways of marketing your skills.

Get creative with your abilities. Instead of wasting space on your resume or time in your interview highlighting basic skills like your experience using the Microsoft Office Suite, your elite personal qualities (e.g. ability to work individually, motivation, or people person etc), or your ability to think on your feet (so ho-hum), try to hone in on specific situations in your interview in which you used your degree, experience, or training in a professional situation.  Employers want to make sure you can do the job and that you will fit in to their company. Don’t make them strain to imagine you as their employee, try to paint a detailed picture of your progress and success in the past.

Have you dealt with any of these challenges?  What did you do?  What advice do you have for others who are struggling?

Carol Montrose writes for Go College where you can find helpful information on college search engines and foreign language scholarships.


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