The working world is a big place and it can be very difficult to know where to begin and how to begin after graduating college. Millennials face an extra barrier in the sense that there are many negative stereotypes associated with our work ethic. However, there are so many skills and a lot of knowledge we can bring to the table to counteract the ideas employers may have regarding these stereotypes. Using the resources and opportunities given to us can also give individuals a leg up when entering the competitive environment of the field of information technology and data analysis.
Before You Graduate
There are many things millennials can do before we graduate college that will present us with the best opportunities after graduation. Firstly, use the career center if your school has one! It is there for the purpose of helping you grow certain skills that will help you when beginning to search for jobs. The people in the career office know important information about many fields and how to adjust your resume and cover letters for the application process in that field of choice. It is also helpful to run practice interviews so you know what to expect in an interview with a real company.
Secondly, do your research. There are so many great sources on the internet and beyond that are easily accessible. Since the fields of information technology and data analysis are such broad fields, it is important to know what you want to go into and what opportunities exist within these fields. Doing your research will also show the companies you are applying at in the future that you are truly invested and interested in the field.
The information you find may also guide you towards getting certificates and internships that will provide the experience and skills that are highly valued in the field that you are looking into. Certificates are highly recommended in the field of IT and data analysis because it gives you extra studies and skills in a specific area that companies utilize to run their businesses. Getting internships are also highly recommended because these positions give you hands on experience that will teach you the routines of the position as well as allow you to apply the knowledge you learned in school. If the internship is paid then that’s even better!
Internships and shadowing professionals are an excellent ways to make connections in the working world. There are many other ways to do this as well and it is very important. Volunteering is one popular suggestion for millennials in regards to making connections and there are a few reasons for this. Businesses today are becoming more involved in social responsibility of many varieties as it is becoming more the standard. So, volunteering allows you to work with individuals from some of these companies while combating the idea that millennials are self-oriented and have poor work ethic.
Your Personal Brand
As millennials entering the workforce, it is crucial that we make ourselves stand out. However, you may want to ask yourself how you want to be seen. The topics discussed above are excellent ways to give yourself a positive brand to employers; however, there is much more that goes into your personal brand than just those elements.
Most millennials are very tech savvy and are active on one or more social platforms. Know that many employers will look at these pages when deciding to hire you. Look at your social content and see what kind of person you portray to people of all cultures, socioeconomic statuses, religions, sexualities, etc. If you have to question any posts or pictures, it is best to just delete them. Play on the safe side and represent the type of person that employers and others would see as respectable. Don’t make them question whether you are a good fit based off of what you post on your page.
LinkedIn is a very good way to make yourself known using social media. It is a way to showcase your skills and experience so employers can find this information easily. This is also the perfect place to link your personal websites and projects you have done that are relevant to the field or the skills needed in the field. LinkedIn also is very useful for finding connections within your school, field of work, area of emphasis, specific companies, and more. This gives you the opportunity to communicate with these connections and also gives them the opportunity to reach out to you.
The Job Hunt Process
The job application process can be long and grueling or short and simple. It all depends on the company and jobs you are applying for so don’t be discouraged if the process doesn’t go as expected. The most important thing is preparation. All of the topics discussed above will aid you in preparing for the job hunt but there are a few more steps that need to be taken to make yourself more marketable to employers who are searching for that perfect candidate.
- Use a resume template unique to the field you are looking at. To find these, ask a career adviser or look online to find a template.
- Write a cover letter! Even if the application doesn’t request that you write one, it is important that you let the company know why you are interested in the company and use your voice to let them get a small glimpse of who you are.
- Research the company and the market. There is a high chance that you will be asked a question on this. If you know something about the market and the company, it shows the employer that you are invested.
- Follow up on your interviews. Showing your appreciation by thanking your interviewer for their time is so important and they will appreciate the note.
- Be prepared to answer questions on specific software programs and data sets. Know the types of projects the company works on in relation to your position to gather the best idea of what they want you to know how to do.
There are other tips and tricks that will help you prepare for the job hunt and for the working world in general. Take some time to look online because there are many resources out there. Along with being prepared, be CONFIDENT and relax! The employer wants to also see that you are confident in what you do and that you can interact with them in a positive manner.