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After years of hard study and thousands of dollars in student loans, it’s only natural to want to take a breather after graduating from college.

However, there’s still much work to do if you want to get ahead in your career. Recent grads face job search challenges, even to land that first job out of college. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a job waiting for you when you first step off campus, here are a few challenges you can expect to face.

The experience gap

Many organizations prefer candidates with experience in their industry. Even though you have graduated with a degree and have significant expertise, real-world job experience will make you more valuable to potential employers.

Hopefully, you were able to land an internship in your junior or senior year of college. If it’s too late to get the internship, consider partnering with a staffing agency like Cornerstone Staffing Solutions to see if a temporary or contract position can give you the experience you need.

Unrealistic expectations

While you may have a valuable degree, you likely don’t have experience in the field or an expansive professional network. Without these things, it’s unrealistic to expect a dream job right out of college. You probably won’t be running a highly profitable business in the first few years, either.

Understand that you’ll have to gain experience before you can gain a prestigious position.

Compensation negotiations

Most college graduates have no idea how to correctly negotiate their salaries and benefits. The typical grad either overestimates their worth or is worried they won’t get the job if they ask for too much money.

The reality is that most organizations expect you to negotiate. They generally table a low-ball offer so they have some room for negotiating. If you don’t ask for more income than they offer, you’re deliberately taking less than they think the job is worth.

Take a serious amount of time to polish your negotiating skills by talking with an experienced staffing professional or a pro in your field.

Job interviews

Unfortunately, college does not prepare you to handle the job interview. Many students graduate think if they have the degree, the skills, and the drive, they’ll get a great job. The reality is that your interview is enormously critical. From the moment you enter the room, you are being evaluated. One wrong answer could mean losing a great prospect.

It’s a good idea to rehearse interviewing prior to graduation. Some colleges provide interview coaching, but you might ask a friend or teacher for help. It also helps to research the company, the job and the industry for any interview.

A lack of structure

Until now, your entire life has probably been highly structured. You were expected to go to class, learn and maybe hold down a part-time job on the side. But now, the number of possibilities and expectations in front of you can be overwhelming.

Sadly, there is no simple solution for this dilemma. However, ultimately, things will start to become more obvious. For the time being, try new things, join organizations, network, investigate what previous graduates are up to and always be searching for new jobs.

At Cornerstone, we’re always working with recent grads, helping to provide them with opportunities and direction. If the ink on your diploma is still wet and you’re worried about facing job search challenges, please contact us online today.

 

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