Pencils down! It’s time to start thinking beyond the classroom with Creative Circle’s College Resource Guides.
It’s no secret that finding a job after college is hard — really hard. As a recruiter for creative and digital talent, I can tell you that the competition is tough even at entry level, which is exactly why I’m a huge fangirl of our College Resource Guides. They offer a simple, pointed timeline for every stage of your college career — freshman to senior — helping you to stay clear on what you need to do to land that dream job upon graduation. (And bonus: You might even be able to avoid moving back in with mom and dad for another year.)
Freshman year might seem awfully early to start considering your big career moves post-graduation. Guess what? It’s not. I’m willing to bet that the only strategic planning most of your dormmates, classmates, and dormmate’s classmates are doing right now is for Dollar Taco Night next Tuesday and not four years from now. And hey, we’re only hot-sauce-loving humans! But today’s reality for college grads, particularly in the creative and marketing fields, is that success starts early.
Beginning in the Freshman Resource Guide and carrying over to sophomore year with the Sophomore Resource Guide, you’ll notice that the word “resume” gets tossed around like magic dust — poof! Your own personal brand begins now. Be sure to keep updating your resume throughout your entire college experience, tracking everything you’ve done. Over time, and over internships gone good and bad, you’ll redefine your resume a hundred times, subtracting all the bits that no longer make sense and folding in the ones that do until you finally create an identity so relevant to your field that it could make even the coldest career counselor shed a tear.
Before you know it, the great divide will be upon you, and by that, I’m referring to your junior year. If you don’t have an internship lined up by then, apply, apply, apply! Just as the Junior Resource Guide emphasizes, it’s critical to start networking and interning at this phase in the game. This is where life starts to become much bigger than Dollar Taco Night. Why? Two words: safety net. You’d be surprised at how many students don’t end up in the career they thought they wanted. You might take an internship in a field like marketing and realize midway through what you really want to focus on is graphic design. This allows you time to retool your classes, and possibly even your major, while finding another internship to help you build a design portfolio. Trust me: You’ll need one.
Senior year sort of catapults you blindly into the lobby of the real world. It’s time to throw the stone as far as possible into the pond, rippling a call heard around your industry. Just as the Senior Resource Guide directs, you want to get a grasp on applying early enough for full-time positions, all the while avoiding “senioritis.” Reflect on all the working relationships you’ve cultivated during your internships and networking, and use those to your advantage by connecting on LinkedIn. If graduation has come and gone and you still find yourself jobless, take on some freelance work or even a post-collegiate internship.
Getting the career you want upon graduation can be done. But notice I didn’t say it was easy. It takes organization, effort, and above all else, diligence in staying ahead of the curve and your competition. When you get stuck or you feel like you don’t know where to start, keep these College Resource Guides handy and return to them every time you start to feel yourself wandering down the path of “this seems impossible.” They are designed to guide you through the hinterlands by targeting all the little pit stops you must take along the way. Among them, the most important are: Resumes, Portfolios, Internships, and Industry Networking. The ultimate results of treating these pit stops as actions over the course of your college career will yield results that are unfathomable in the best way.
Ok, you can have your pencils back now.
Amanda is a copywriter-turned-recruiter who joined Creative Circle’s Philadelphia team in 2015. Her fascinations include, but are not limited to: good use of white space, just about anything animal related, TED Talks, and helping people find jobs they really want. Outside of playing talent matchmaker, Amanda spends most of her time scouting new locales in the City of Brotherly Love with her husband and jumping bean of a pup, Tuxedo.