What College Grads Should Do to Get Ahead in the Job Market

As college graduates, when we finally start the job hunting process, we all have the same complaint: everyone wants candidates with way more experience than we have! Academic credentials are just not enough; not even first class honors guarantee a fair shot at your dream job.

So how do you land that dream job? — or at least one that will pay the bills, while you continue your hunt for something better? Here are a few quick tips to get you started.

Be Proactive

College students need to plan ahead to remedy that problem before it starts. One way is to start a business, or a freelance practice. I started my communications business at 16 years old in my first semester of college. So at just 28, I have the unusual perk of claiming more than a decade’s worth of experience in PR.

Another option is to start networking. Targets you should consider include your parents’ coworkers and boss, professors at school, fellow classmates, local business owners, and professionals you may come across during your studies. Not all of them will offer you a job, but they may know someone who can, or will provide you with a reference that makes all the difference.

Get Work Experience

College students should also work on landing internships. It’s best to target big companies in your field, but don’t overlook local businesses. While they may not look as flashy on your resume, you will have a much closer relationship with that boss, who may either offer you a job after graduation, or pass you on to someone who can.

Another way to gain work experience is to take on pro-bono work, to build your portfolio, if you work in a field that requires one. Industries that typically require a portfolio include architecture, photography, journalism, design, and PR.


Another great way to get ahead is to volunteer. By volunteering for causes and even at local businesses, you can secure work experience for your resume, along with great references. Your employer will love to learn that money isn’t the only thing that motivates you.

It’s a good idea to volunteer in areas that complement your degree. For instance, if you plan to work in medicine, volunteering at a local hospital or for a cause supporting cancer research, would be an excellent choice. Other popular choices for students in any field include working with disabled children, feeding the homeless, and animal welfare.

Are you ready to start your job hunt, but you’re not sure if your resume or cover letter showcases all you have to offer to a company? Pretty convinced you don’t have anything to offer anyway? Let us take a look. Contact us for a quote.

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About the Author

Alexis Chateau is the Founder of College Mate and Managing Director at Alexis Chateau PR. She is an activist, writer, and explorer. Follow her stories of trial and triumph at www.alexischateau.com.

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