It's not what you know, but who you know: Who to call after graduating
If you've just graduated from college, you've probably sent out three dozen job applications to companies ranging from right-up-your-major's-alley to the coffee joint across the street. The truth is, getting a job can be challenging, and it's not just the economy that's making people feel the weight of unemployment - even your parents and grandparents had to scrape by with entry-level gigs before working their way up the professional ladder.
As qualified as you are for your dream job, the saying "It's not what you know, but who you know," may sound like an excuse, but in many cases, it's very accurate.
So who are you going to call when you graduate?
Your professors likely have a history of career changes, whether they are former journalists or business managers. With a handful of connections, they may be able to direct you toward job openings in your area of study. Additionally, professors keep in touch with alumni who have found career success, and they could help you get in touch with like-minded young professionals - even if you just need some advice.
After spending a semester at an internship, why not use your experience in more ways than just as another line on your resume? Give your former boss a call and see if similar businesses or organizations have openings. Like professors, heads of companies have a lot of job experience tucked under their arm. Who knows, you may end up as a full-time worker with your internship placement.
Professional role models
Fan letters take on an entirely new meaning when you're looking for a job. If you really want to work for a certain company and managed to shake hands with the equivalent of a professional rock star, don't be afraid to exchange business cards and contact them for a cup of coffee. Try not to plug your credentials during a casual meet-up - let the conversation grow naturally and talk about current events or hobbies before jumping into job requests.
Mom and dad's friends
Whether they're relatives or old family acquaintances, sometimes your parents' friends are the best and most convenient professional contacts. Instead of getting nervous before an interview, you can invite them over for a casual dinner at your home and feel completely relaxed as you discuss your future. Family friends also know your personality and can set you up with a recruiter who will make you feel at ease during the hiring process.