College students and their parents should realize that there is a sequence of steps that can be followed to increase the likelihood of a student’s success in the job market. Unfortunately, most students pay little attention to anything associated with their job search until they reach the second semester of their senior year. That is not good.
The timing of many job search preparation actions and activities is critical. How can college seniors go back and perform the activities or take the actions that should have taken place in the Freshman, Sophomore or Junior years? They can’t!
Employment Success Factors
1. The Student’s Major and Minor - We all know that some college majors lead to good jobs, while others do not. Students should make every effort to thoroughly research and select their career directions before or immediately after they enter college. They can then look into the best career-related jobs that will capitalize on their abilities and interests. With that information, students can select a major and a minor that will support their career directions and their target job groups.
Students who do not investigate the jobs that hold career potential and closely align with their interests and abilities often end up changing their majors and spending an extra year in college. That lack of focus and direction may prevent them from performing the activities and taking the actions that their target employers need, want and expect. Those students are likely to be at a disadvantage in the job market.
2. The Student’s Grades - Students should always do the best they can in the classroom. Some employers use student grades as a way to screen employment candidates in or out. Since student grades create an initial impression for employers, make that first impression as good as you can. Students with good grades usually obtain more interviews than students with so-so grades.
3. The Student’s Knowledge of The Job Hunting Process - Looking for a job is hard work and usually takes more time and effort than students expect or even imagine. When students do not know what a comprehensive and effective job search looks like, they will find it difficult to compete with better prepared candidates for employment.
During the first or second year of college, students should visit their Career Services Office and begin researching and reading about the process that will help them find employment success. There are articles and books like A Successful Senior Year Job Search Begins In The Freshman Year that will make the components of the process clear and easy to understand.
4. The Quality of the Student’s Job Search Preparation Effort - Most certainly, you know that employers have choices. They hire students who make every effort to give their target employers what they want. Because of that, the best candidates work on their job search preparation efforts during each semester of college.
Desirable, well prepared students are easy to spot. They are not last minute, throw it together, and hope for the best type candidates. Everything they do is well researched, well prepared and presented in a professional way. These students perform the steps on time, in the right sequences and find ways to stand out from the herd. Students who skip steps, take shortcuts, ignore advice and fail to do the grunt work will find that they have wasted four very expensive years in college.
5. Employment Guidance, Concern and Support Provided by the College - The best colleges make job search preparation a high priority on campus and ask everyone in their college communities to pitch in. They make certain that students are doing the things that will lead to employment success. They also provide their students with the information, tools and guidance that will lead the greatest number of students to a higher degree of success in the job market.
The best colleges show a great deal of concern for the success of their students in the job market. They provide students with job search preparation assistance from the day they enter college until the day the students land a job and launch their careers.
When college students and their parents pay attention to these five factors, the chances for student success in the job market will be improved.