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Tips on landing a job after graduation

Updated on July 22, 2015
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Landing a job right out of college is every college student’s dream but only a few are able to pursue it. According to Brad Plumer’s article for Washington Post, only 27% of college graduates are able to get a job in their field.

If you aspire to work in the editorial/media industry, finding a job is even harder due to increased competition. But some people make it, and one such person is Danielle Jason, the current Sales and Marketing Director of RCH Communications. Danielle graduated in 2014 with an English degree and was hired three weeks after graduation as the Marketing Director for the same company. Considering her early success as a professional, I decided to ask her about her secrets to landing a job so early in her career.

1- As a fresh college graduate, how did you land a job like this?

DJ: When I graduated from college I sought out a mentor; in this case it was a business coach that had worked with my father’s company. Her name is Deeatra , (the most incredible go-getter business woman I have ever met; you should see the way she can command a room!) and we met numerous times where she coached me on my resume, on how to talk about myself, and more importantly how to sell myself as a candidate. She emphasized a key strategy of “value statements” about yourself and your experience. (It’s actually a key element to the sales processes I now teach at my current company!) Taking a look at my resume we added in sentences for each position I was in and emphasized what value I brought to that company. Essentially, you have to approach business, your resume, and interviews as thinking the person you’re meeting with is only interested in how you’ll make them money, how you’ll save them money, how you’ll make them look good, and how you’ll make the company better. With that in mind I changed my resume to reflect how I saved companies money and made them money. Did I save them money by taking on additional responsibilities so they weren’t required to hire additional staff? Did I aid in employee training to save owners time and money? Did I run errands for my managers so they could focus on their own tasks? All the little things I did in my past positions could be turned into value statements. Even if you cleaned toilets; you increased client satisfaction by ensuring a clean and useable restroom thus increasing return rate which equals potential sales.
Having that little trick in place, I began to apply to every job I saw, and eventually I worked with an employment agency to have an extra pair of eyes out there for me. In the ended, the employment agency I worked with presented my resume to my current company, I attended two interviews and was able to snag the position 3 weeks after graduation.

I believe for young professionals we have to get over the stigma of: “you’re too young” and “you’re inexperienced.” I get these comments a lot (even just last week), especially during networking events where I’m meeting with seasoned professional. The perfect response to this reaction is to emphasize your values statements and that while you may be young you have fresh ideas, you’re ready to be molded into what a company wants you to be, you’re not tainted by the business sphere, you’re enthusiastic, and you’re ready to show them what you’re worth.
For my current company, it didn’t matter to them that I did well in school, I had two internships, writing experience, coding experience, etc. I was hired because I came to the interviews with physical, detailed, written out plans on how I would jump start their marketing efforts, make them more money, save them time, and make their company better. I read everything I could on the company before the interview and came in with an understanding of what they did and who they were. Coming to an interview hyper prepared is NEVER a bad thing and will get you the second or third interviews we all deserve!

2- Tell me a little bit about your experience in the job world?

DJ: My experience in the business world thus far has been eye opening! First and foremost, like many young professionals, I was terrified of being put into a position where I knew nothing. I was a Professional Writing and Publishing Major with a Minor in Advertising accepting a job as a Director of Marketing. I hadn’t taken a marketing class in my life and I was about to run this companies entire department. It was enough to make anyone weak in the knees but I flourished because I realized one key thing. Most professionals fall into one of two categories: 1. They are in a position that had nothing to do with their areas of study or 2. They also have no idea what they’re doing. The “fake it until you make it” mentality is, in my opinion, the core of most business professionals out there. So that’s what I did, I dressed like a Marketing Director, I talked like a Marketing Director, I delegated, I was timely, I did all the things I imagined a Marketing Director would do. And from there I was able to learn marketing on the job, learn the business, become successful in my position, and become the person my title suggested.

3- What is your advice to young professionals?

DJ: My advice for young professionals looking for a job or looking to advance is as follows: Fake it until you make it, dress for the job you want not for the job you have, on time is late and early is on time, speak up, admit your mistakes, be proactive not reactive, bring up solutions to problems before anyone knows a problem has occurred, don’t burn bridges, be a decision maker, don’t procrastinate, be your best you, and try to love your job.

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