Finding a job after graduating college can feel like an immense challenge. Do colleges fully prepare their students for the workforce? Does the employee-oriented labor market make it easier to find work? We interviewed a few individuals who graduated in May of 2021 to learn more about their experiences.
Shelby attended The Ohio State University to pursue a degree in Marketing. She managed to work throughout her entire college career, whether serving full-time at Nordstrom or interning for the Disney College Program (which she highly recommends to students). Shelby also received a remote internship at The Cincinnati Insurance Company where she could work full-time between her class schedules.
Attending business courses can only teach you so much about the real, working world. Shelby found The Ohio State University to be helpful in providing a good base knowledge of skills she could take into the workforce. She enrolled in electives to learn job hunting skills like resume writing, cover letters and mock interviews. Shelby would recommend business majors to take an elective that teaches these skills as it was, “so reassuring before graduating, especially during the pandemic.”
If Shelby could choose one thing she wished to learn more about during her time at The Ohio State University, it would be handling rejection during the job hunt. She went on to say, “obviously this isn’t what anyone wants to hear or talk about BUT it’s the real stuff. I had several interviews throughout college where I felt highly qualified for an internship or job and thought my interview went amazing, just to never hear back or get an unpersonalized decline email from a company’s HR department.” Colleges should prepare students for realistic job-hunting experiences, like rejection.
When asked if her previous work experiences prepared her for her professional career, Shelby stated, “While I had a wide variety of jobs, each one, I believe, helped prepare me for my job now in sales.” After graduating from college, Shelby transitioned to a full-time Associate New Business Underwriter position at the Cincinnati Insurance Company. Her previous positions at Nordstrom and Walt Disney World taught her the importance of good customer service, while her internship with the Cincinnati Insurance Company taught her the “ebbs and flows” of the company. Shelby’s previous experiences allowed her to build interpersonal and networking skills, while learning how day-to-day operations play out in a corporate environment.
Shelby credits her internship at The Cincinnati Insurance Company for giving her the right resources and getting her in touch with the right people in the sales department. She waited a month after graduating to accept the offer, as she wanted to explore other opportunities before fully committing.
“I know everyone says it but NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. Just getting your name out there by talking to friends, friend’s parents, and family members can help immensely in the job search during/after graduation. I am a major advocate of LinkedIn, and highly recommend it to everyone in their job search. You are able to connect to so many different people in the professional world and it can really open doors if you look for it.” Shelby recommends future and recent graduates to network as much as you can and if you need any assistance, she is happy to help.
“Feel free to add me on LinkedIn! I would be more than happy to talk to anyone who has questions or advice from my work or college experience!”
Kylie attended The Ohio State University and pursued a degree in Marketing. She served for a large corporate restaurant throughout her college career and continues to serve while completing an unpaid internship that focuses on social media and influencer marketing.
Like Shelby, Kylie found that The Ohio State University did a great job at providing a base of knowledge to bring into the workforce but did not feel entirely prepared for the corporate world. She noted that, “certain hands-on activities in classes prepared me for specific situations, but as a whole it was a learning curve.” Kylie also took a different course that taught resume writing, cover letter writing and interviewing skills. The course provided feedback that she could use in the real world.
If Kylie could choose one thing she wished The Ohio State University would have prepared her for, it would be working for different types of supervisors. She stated that, “in the corporate workforce, the same job can be very different depending on who your supervisor is.” In addition, Kylie felt that The Ohio State University did not push internships as much as they should. She, “did not know it was an expectation until I spoke to other students. My advisor never mentioned it.”
Working as a server taught Kylie patience and problem-solving skills. Customer service gave her the tools she needed to, “prepare me for any type of customer interaction.” Using these skills, Kylie continues to build out her experience through an internship, where she primarily focuses on social media and influencer marketing. She is working on technical marketing skills so she can later apply for a full-time marketing position.
After graduating from college, it took Kylie approximately 6 months to receive an offer for her internship. She noted that the job hunt has been difficult, “every position seems to have hundreds of applicants, so even getting an interview is rare.”
Kylie recommends recent graduates to complete an internship before graduating. The job market may be difficult but having an internship under your belt may help you find an entry-level position. You can connect with Kylie on LinkedIn if you have any further questions about her experience.
Adam attended The Ohio State University to pursue a degree in Marketing and a minor in Professional Writing. He balanced part-time customer service jobs throughout his college career. He also completed a remote internship at Creative Spot where he worked under the Senior Copywriter.
Throughout his education at The Ohio State University, he found many classes helpful in preparing him for the workforce. The courses provided a basic understanding of many marketing principles and found that, “the group assignments allowed me to network with other students and build teamwork skills.” His writing courses in the Professional Writing minor prepared him to gain real-world writing experience. He learned how to write resumes, cover letters, press releases, blogs and business proposals. In addition, the writing minor paired students with internships in their desired fields. He recommends the minor to any business student looking to get experience in the workforce.
If Adam could choose one thing he wished The Ohio State University would have prepared him for, it would be the job hunt. Aside from learning how to write a good resume and cover letter, he wished to gain interviewing skills. “Anxiety can get high during an interview and having the proper skills to rely on could make a huge difference in interview performance.” He later noted that the more he interviewed, the more the skills fell into place.
Working in customer service, specifically retail and food service, did help Adam in building career skills. He learned how to multitask, keep customers satisfied, and build long-lasting customer relationships. His internship, “really built my interpersonal skills, as well as my written and verbal communication skills.” He found that working in an agency taught him the basics of working in the corporate world, although he would have liked to experience an in-person internship.
After graduating college, it took Adam approximately 7 months to find a job. He noted that, “finding a job was difficult. Many companies label positions as entry-level but expect years of experience from their applicants.” After much searching, Adam found the perfect position. He now works here, at TalentID Group, as our Marketing and Recruiting Coordinator. He stated, “the exciting thing about working for a small company is the fact that you are exposed to so many different things.” Adam noted that he enjoys wearing different hats and learning all about how businesses operate.
Adam recommends getting a head start on internships and setting up a good LinkedIn profile. “The more experience you gain before graduating the better.” He encourages future graduates to network and reach out if they have any questions. Connect with Adam on LinkedIn.
All in all, colleges prepare graduates with a solid foundation for the workforce, but it is clear that students benefit from completing multiple internships. As we look back at the interviews, we notice that there is a struggle to find employment as a recent college graduate. Although we currently live in a candidate-driven job market, recent graduates struggle to find a position.
What can employers take from this blog post? Give your recent college graduates a chance to build their skills. Less “formal” experiences do not necessarily mean that the hard and soft skills are lacking. With the right tools and the right employer, the right job seeker can make a world of difference.
TalentID Group would like to thank all our interviewees for their time and assistance with this post. Please reach out and connect with them on LinkedIn.
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