For those of us about to graduate, naturally, we start thinking about what comes after graduation. Answer: the real world.
In the real world, you have to find a job.
Iâ€™ve spent the better part of the last year job searching. Here is my conclusion: Finding your dream job right out of college is probably not going to happen for the majority of you. However, you can work up to your dream job with dedication.
Hereâ€™s the problem. Before the economy tanked, people with experience had jobs. Those of us fresh out of college still had to compete for entry-level jobs, but we were only competing against each other.
Now, you have to compete against aged professionals, with much more experience and knowledge. In the past, many of these people would never have dreamed of applying for a lower-level job, but when you havenâ€™t had a job for a while anything looks good.
So what can you do? Get experience now. Take summer internships, and do everything you can to increase your skill set. Iâ€™m not saying this will get you a job, but it will help you have more options in the future.
One of the biggest issues you will find when job searching is not only is your dream job not available, for even an entry-level job, you need to be prepared to move. I know many of you have a place you want to live, but the reality is that the job you want to work up through may not be available in that location.
Now, for most college students this isnâ€™t too big of an issue. However, I know there are many of you who have families, and perhaps have a significant other who has a good job.
How do you decide what to do?
You have to decide what is important to you. Maybe having a boyfriend or girlfriend doesnâ€™t matter much compared to that dream job. I mean,there are always more people right? Maybe, maybe not.
What if you are in the other situation? What if you are the one with a good job and your other person wants to move to pursue a career? There is a fine line between compromise and giving up everything you want. Donâ€™t give up everything or you will be unhappy.
When you do decide to get your real job, make sure to be honest with yourself.
Is a $45,000-per-year job worth it if you are having to work 40 to 50 hours a week?
You should strive to find a job that also allows you to have a life outside of work. If you donâ€™t, you will burn out.
You also need to be aware of the hours of your job. In this Iâ€™m talking about the literal time you go into work. Many jobs have what are considered â€œoff hours,â€ while others also require shift work. Take this into account as well.
The last important issue you must address is the benefits that are available.
While many people think itâ€™s fun to own their own business, the biggest problem is that you never get days off, and you pay for all the benefits.
I would rather have a lower paying job with great benefits than a higher paying job with no benefits at all. Letâ€™s face the facts. You might say you would buy those benefits if you had the cash, but most of us are not that responsible, at least not until we have families.
Benefits can really add up, so make sure to check what is available in the jobs you are applying for.
My advice is this: Do a lot of searching, and donâ€™t give up. You will find a job that works for you, and one you enjoy. You may have to take a job you donâ€™t enjoy as much at first, but if you stay persistent, you will find your dream job.
Robyn Scherer is a graduate student studying integrated resource management. Her column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.