Get ahead in the job market with these 4 tips.

Walking across that stage and being handed your college degree is an exciting rite of passage, but it does not guarantee you a decent first job. Many new grads have large student debt, leaving them desperate to land a job after college. Smart college students recognize the need to prepare themselves with more than a degree to turn the odds in their favor.

A degree, interviewing skills, and a little something extra will make you employable in a market where the best jobs are in high demand.

Keep Learning

You can never know too much. Learning as much as possible before entering the job market is always a practical strategy that will pay off. If you get a degree in marketing and also attend a training class related to your degree that expands your knowledge base, you can share this with a recruiter or company representative to distinguish yourself from other candidates.

Anytime you can stand out by taking specialized courses or learning more than your competition, the better you will be able to land a job after college.

There are many certificate programs that can broaden your experience and are recognizable as valuable learning opportunities. Online courses make it simpler than ever to schedule a new class. Volunteering can also bolster your credentials and improve your chances of being hired. Activities like fundraising or project management are transferable to the corporate world.

Obtain Work Experience

Having a recommendation from a part-time job shows you have experience and that you can manage a full schedule of classwork and a job.

Corporate recruiters understand how challenging a college schedule is and favor new grads for being able to succeed under pressure.

When it’s possible, find work related to your degree and the career path you want to pursue. This makes it easier for a prospective employer to understand the experience you offer and how it will benefit their company. Part-time jobs provide the opportunity to learn without adding too much stress to your schedule.

It’s important to remember that keeping your grades up is also critical. While not all companies judge grade-point averages the same way, it’s important to recognize that grade-point average does play a role in the hiring process.

Develop Soft Skills

Beyond your resume of coursework and hard skills, there are soft skills that can be just as important to when landing a job. School activities and other outside interests allow employers to sneak a peek inside your world and validate skills and character traits that include: curiosity, confidence, people skills, and problem-solving abilities.

In a competitive situation where several candidates have the same preferred degree, these soft skills can help you be the one to land a job after college. When preparing for interviews, new graduates should talk about these soft skills, elaborating on unique experiences and training.

You can point out how competing on the college soccer team helped you learn to deal with setbacks and disappointment, or how it taught you the value of teamwork.

Get International Experience

The world is getting smaller every day as we all become connected via technology and business opportunities. Considering this, it’s not surprising that international travel and experience is an invaluable asset that a new graduate can bring to the table when seeking employment.

The ICEF Monitor reports the unemployment rate for students who have studied overseas as 23 percent lower than their counterparts. The study found that international students are much less likely to experience long-term unemployment by a factor of 50 percent.

A recruiter for AlphaSights told Telegraph, “she can’t emphasize enough the importance of an international experience.” With that said, it’s vital that new grads understand why employers value this international exposure, so they can better communicate about their experience abroad.

Having a global outlook and understanding first-hand the unique challenges present when a company expands overseas is a highly valued trait that can students can’t learn in the classroom, but instead, must experience first-hand.

New recruits should expect certain questions about their experiences abroad and be ready to make the most of the opportunity.

  • What lessons did you learn when you were overseas that will help you in your career with this company?
  • Do you believe the time you spent abroad will benefit you as you move into a new career, and how?

By being prepared for these type of obvious questions, you can take advantage of the opportunity to land a job after college. You should be able to explain how studying or working abroad changed your life and be sure to communicate these advantages to benefits you can provide a new employer.

Post-College Transition

Transitioning to post-collegiate life can be difficult for new graduates who don’t prepare for the challenge. Many graduates feel left out in the cold wondering how they can get experience when doors keep being shut in their face because they have little to no experience but following a few of the tips above can make all the difference.