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You Have Your Degree, Now What?

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Thomas Martino
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Published on March 28, 2014

This is a guest post by an anonymous student for Student Stories. 

You have done what your parents have encouraged (or in some cases forced) you to do: you went to college, stayed up all night studying for exams, writing papers, performing presentations while at the same time balancing work/social life and you finally got that degree. Now what?

During the time when your entire focus was on finishing those papers and cramming for exams, graduation seemed far away. Even during your final semester as you prepared for that single moment that solidified your first real accomplishment as an adult, no counselor or student adviser could have prepared you for what was to come next: the job search.

Only the super ambitious participate in multiple extracurricular activities while maintaining a 4.0 GPA, work part-time and volunteer at the local non-profit or business center in hopes of gaining the much needed experience to land that dream job the first day after graduating. Most of us simply want to get through each semester without the added stress of working somewhere for free. Or if we do manage to squeeze in the time for an internship or volunteer experience, it is at the tail end of the semester or better yet a graduation requirement for the program that oversees whatever subject is chosen for our selected majors. So again I pose the question of what now?
We live in a society now in which jobs are no longer posted in the classified ads of a local newspaper. Everything is online.  And thanks to Mark Zuckerburg, social media has exploded  in a such a way that the only way to landing that entry level position is through a social networking site.

The job market is fierce, competitive and sometimes highly disappointing. But guess what? You don’t give up. You apply. Apply. Apply. Student loans can be deferred, and keep in mind that it takes time. Unless you know someone who can “juice” you in directly for the position, you have to keep trying. And sometimes, if you are serious about landing that job you have been telling your friends about, it would not hurt to go back and get that experience the job post is asking for. Remember, the first time you see that job posting will not be the last. Just because you do not qualify now for the position, the opportunity is gone forever.

My best friend graduated from California State University of Sonoma with a Bachelors in Sociology. During the first year of her graduating, she applied for a position at a local preschool and was told she needed so many units in early child development and so many hours of experience to even be considered. As disappointed as she was, she did not go home and give up. No, her dream was to work with children; and so, that following week she registered at her local junior college and took the classes that she needed to become certified as well as volunteered her time to receive the required hours of experience. Fast forward a couple of years and now she is teaching preschoolers and loves every minute of it.

The moral of the story: Keep going, keep striving, because at the end of the day if you want something, you have to go and get it. Use every resource available to you. Make sure your resume is up to date and meets the requirements for whatever job you are applying for. Keep a cover letter template ready and start thinking about who you are going to use as a reference. Your dream job is just an application away. You have your degree, now what? Use it to take over the world.

Thomas Martino

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