So You Have Graduated With a 4-Year Degree, Now What!
Graduating with a four-year degree can be an exciting time, but once you’ve attained that degree it’s time to use it to get a job. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find employment in your field if you haven’t done any kind of preparation during the years when you were getting your education. There are four basic steps you need to consider during your four years of education, and if you focus on those steps you will be in a much better position to get good employment that uses your degree once you have it in your hand. Here are the steps, based on each year of your four-year educational journey.
1). Freshman Year – Find a part time job during your breaks (summer, spring, etc).
The last thing you probably want to do when you’re on break from school is work, but finding a job during your freshman year can go a long way toward making sure you start out on the right foot. Your four years of college will go by quickly, and when they’re over you want to be in a good position to get a job in your field. With nothing but schooling on your resume for four years, getting that job can be a hard thing to do. Instead, you want to show that you’ve already been working toward your educational and employment goals.
Instead of packing up all of your things for breaks and dragging them back home, or getting rid of them and needing to buy stuff again when school is back in session, it’s easy to just put them in a storage unit. They’ll be safe and protected, and you can get to them when you need them. Then you can focus on getting a job either close to school or near your home, depending on how long of a break you have and the kind of job you’re looking for. Summer breaks are longer and can let you work for a while, but you might also want a job where you can work during smaller breaks or even on the weekends and around your school schedule.
2). Sophomore Year – Research and line up some internships.
Getting an internship isn’t a fast process, so starting early can really make a big difference. You may not be able to get an internship during your sophomore year, but you can start doing research on them and lining some up for your junior year. That’s often the easiest way to get things done. You can even start working on internships during your freshman year, but it’s often less stressful to wait a little while and get used to the rhythm of college life first. That’s why sophomore year is generally recommended.
3). Junior Year – Land internships, even if they aren’t in the field you’re studying.
By your junior year, you should already have landed some internships (even if they aren’t in your field of study). It’s best to have internships that match what you want to do, but you also don’t want to turn down other good internships if they are offered to you. That way it shows that you’re interning and learning skills, and that you’re able to juggle those internships with your classes and still be successful. That ability can go a long way toward getting you a good job in your field once your four years of education is complete.
4). Senior Year – Land a full-time internship in summer, and part-time during school.
This should be an internship that is narrowed down to your field of study, if possible. It will help you transition successfully from a full-time student to a full-time employee once you graduate. Sometimes interns get hired after they graduate, but you shouldn’t expect or count on that. You will want to start looking for employment right around the time you graduate or even a few months before, so you can have something lined up and don’t spend a lot of down time hunting jobs after your graduation ceremony. Working full-time in summer and part-time during school is a great way to show initiative, as well.
No matter what you choose to do when it comes to work and internships during your educational years, make sure you keep in mind that working and going to school can be stressful. Take good care of yourself, but put your best foot forward and focus your efforts toward a successful future.