From College to Career

By: Sara Gonzalez, Manager, Staffing Practice, DeWinter Consulting

From-College-to-Career-300x165So here you are after four years of college and you’ve used up your dining bucks, taken that last exam, emptied out the dorm room and somehow made it out alive with the diploma. The time has finally come to ditch the solo cup for a wine glass and become an adult. But it’s just now that you are realizing no one told you what your next step is going to be. What are you going to do? Where are you going to go? Why wasn’t LIFE101 offered when you were signing up for classes?

The opportunities ahead of you are endless, which is simultaneously thrilling and terrifying. No one is stopping you from packing up all your belongings and moving across the country, but no one is paying for that move anymore either. You are entering a new realm of freedom, rejection, challenges, and rewards.

Here at DeWinter, we are fortunate enough to speak with a variety of entry level candidates and hiring managers alike, providing us with some insight on how to make the leap from your campus into an office. As a recent grad who somehow found herself in the job of her dreams months after searching, I have included some advice on how to successfully land a job you’ll love.

Don’t apply to every job you find online.

The internet can be an overwhelming place and it can be easy to find yourself sending your resume off to every Indeed posting and LinkedIn job that even remotely relates to what you are looking for. The more jobs I apply for the better chance I have of landing something, right? Beware of the seductive “Attach Resume and Cover Letter.” When applying to countless jobs daily it can be easy to get careless. Hiring managers can tell when your application is impersonal and riddled with grammar mistakes, improper diction, and potentially even the wrong company name. Think worse than walking into that wrong classroom for your 10 AM and a bit closer to calling your Professor mom.

Read job descriptions carefully

College-to-Career-Accounting-Finance-Job-Search-300x253After hours of reading job descriptions, it can be tempting to start skimming the roles and requirements, responsibilities, objectives, and education. Every hiring manager wants you to have 6 years of experience, 2 Olympic gold medals and superpowers anyway, right? Try not to fall victim to glancing over job descriptions, as these are the small bits of information that shed a light into the company and what the position will entail. As you are reading, see what resonates with you the most. Trust your gut instinct and pay attention to aspects of a job that interest you and those that have you already wanting to plan your next vacation.

Consider your environment

Think about the office culture you are looking for when applying to jobs. Do you want to be in your comfiest t-shirt on beanbags in the most fun but chaotic startup in Silicon Valley or would you prefer to wear your killer pantsuit into your own cubicle space at a well-known established company? Environment and size can be everything at a company, so be sure to do your research and figure out which setting you’ll thrive in the most.

College-to-Career-Accounting-Finance-Job-Search-San-Francisco-300x199Don’t get discouraged

Applying for your first job is not an easy task. The application process in itself is a full time job and it can take months to find something you are passionate about. Do not give up and understand that the company you thought was absolutely perfect for you, may not ever reach out to you. Just because you gave your high school crush a sweet mixtape, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to marry them.  

Research and prepare

Once you land that interview (and you will land it!), make sure you prepare thoroughly for the big day. Research the company, find out who you will be meeting, and familiarize yourself with your story. Keep the interview interesting and provide a narrative of yourself and why you are interested in the job. The facts are already on your resume, take this time to make them come alive. Ask specific questions you have about the role to determine if this will be the place you can see yourself everyday.  What are the greatest challenges of this position? What are your expectations from me in the first 90 days? Tell me there’s a Keurig in the kitchen?

Wait for the right role

From-College-to-Career-Work-is-Coming-300x225Don’t necessarily jump at the first position you are offered if you don’t think it’s the right fit or the right compensation. Know your worth and don’t sell yourself short. Know that if one company wants you, another will too. You’re a college grad and you are a hot commodity. You are the Game of Thrones to someone’s Sunday night.

So there we are. Four years later and you have a pretty expensive piece of paper under your belt along with all the knowledge and drive a company is looking for. Pause Netflix for a little bit and get to applying to those jobs that are out there waiting for you. Stay focused, target positions you like, prepare, crush, and decide on the best fit. Adulthood does mean more happy hours. Need any more encouragement than that?


About the Author

Originally from Boston, Sara graduated from Boston College with a degree in Applied Psychology and Communication. Sara previously worked in marketing at a large law firm in Boston, assisting in the organization of promotional events that enhanced the client-company relationship. Shortly after graduation, Sara decided to venture to the West Coast for the opportunity to pursue an exciting experience in recruiting. After making the move to a new city, Sara works as a Staffing Manager in the San Francisco office and is dedicated to finding the right opportunities for finance and accounting professionals.

Sara spent a semester studying abroad in Spain her junior year of college, and soon discovered her love for exploring new places. In addition to meeting new people, Sara enjoys traveling, hiking, and trying new restaurants.

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