Setting Apart, Getting Ahead
Yesterday I was visiting a local radio station and met a fascinating young woman. She had been a CPA who worked in public accounting and in the private sector, and had decided that accounting was not what she was passionate about. So she enrolled in the Master's program at Fresno State with a focus in Mass Communications. She is attending school at night and balancing two internships during the day -- one in radio and one in television. As I drove back to my office I thought, “This woman is smart!” She will have an advanced degree and something to set her apart from the crowd. Beyond the degree, she will have actual experience, and better yet…references that can support her qualifications.
My thinking went from this young woman to my step-daughter, Alison. She graduated from UC Davis with a Nutrition Degree in 2008 and instead of taking a “job” decided to stay on campus after graduation and work on a research job studying the health benefits of strawberries. She planned to do this for one year and then apply to graduate school. She even knew which graduate schools she would target. She now has been accepted to George Washington University (one of the targets) and received a full ride scholarship! She did get the scholarship for her grades, but her research work set her apart and made her the most qualified. We are very proud of her.
Upon returning to the office I found an article online with the Wall Street Journal discussing this very thing. Toddi Gutner wrote “Darvika Sarin had been working toward finding her first post-college job since she arrived at school her freshman year.”
“A business and psychology major at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA., Ms. Sarin consistently kept in touch with professionals she met working as a summer intern, including stints with an investment bank in India and at National Economic Research Associates in New York City. Her networking, follow-through and focus paid off. The latter firm offered her a full-time position after she graduates.”
As I read about this year’s graduating classes… I know both undergraduate and graduate students are going to have a difficult time finding a job. According to the article, “Employers recruiting on campuses expect to hire about 22% fewer graduates from this year’s class than last year’s.” That information was taken from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. So strategies like those utilized by the young intern and my step-daughter will pay off well for those who use them in the future.
“Still, career experts say graduates have some advantages over senior professionals. ‘There are definitely benefits to hiring graduating students,’ says Rabia de Lande Long, who directs career services at Kansas State University.”
First, they are less expensive and usually much more flexible. They may not have the experience, but they are willing to work hard and do what’s expected to get ahead.
The flexibility is huge for companies who are running lean staff. The graduates typically are not burdened with mortgage payments and spouse and child, so they can work those odd hours and relocate to a new city or be able to do lots travel…all of which gives a company the ability to be responsive to the challenges of this economy.
No doubt, the job seeker in today’s marketplace has to stand out from the crowd…whether it is an internship, a strawberry project or just a very flexible, willing attitude. Employers are limiting their interviews, and the more a candidate can bring to the table the more competitive they become.
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Central California Excellence in Business
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