I know it seems pretty dismal out there. The economy is still a mess. Baby Boomers aren’t retiring like they were supposed to. Many of you have had to move home with Mom and Dad while you look for work. And to top it off, you’ve got to deal with this constant, ongoing debate about your productivity and work ethic.
How could you not be discouraged?
I’m writing this letter (er … blog post) to remind you of three very unique qualities you have to offer any hiring manager or future employer. I want you to print it out, put it in your back pocket, and pull it out the next time you’re having a bad day.
College Graduates: What You Have That Other Candidates Don’t
For better or for worse, most offices have a routine, a culture, and a set of rules. And unfortunately, these cycles can exist across offices, departments, and even different organizations. Things get done a certain way because “that’s the way we’ve always done them.” For example, once upon a time there was probably a really good reason that all the committee meeting minutes were printed on different colored copy paper, stapled, and three-hole-punched … but that reasoning is probably well past its prime.
As a recent college graduate fresh in the work force, you have the unique gift of bringing completely fresh eyes to any project. While your boss may be to busy or preoccupied to see a better answer to a problem, you are probably full of great ideas about how to increase efficiency, increase profits, and decrease costs. (You might, for example, suggest uploading those committee minutes to a cloud drive everyone can access, thereby reducing the amount of copy paper wasted on a document no one really reads anyway.) Be sure to use those fresh eyes to your benefit: make suggestions and prove your worth.
All professionals could, and should, attend seminars, webinars, and other continuing education classes in their field. That said, nothing can truly substitute for the amount of knowledge that comes with being in school full time. Even if you took a few classes that were unrelated to your field, as a college graduate you’re still chock full of the cutting-edge theories, ideas and perspectives you studied during your bachelor’s degree program.
Don’t underestimate the power all of this knowledge has, even if some of it seems unrelated. It’s often by combining seemingly disparate theories that the most incredible epiphanies happen. (After all, that’s how a writer and an economist came together to write one of the most well-known sociological works of our time, Freakonomics.)
I’ve had the pleasure of working with several interns, some of whom were in college and some of whom had already graduated. Every single time I was amazed by the amount of enthusiasm they brought to the office, as they never failed to arrive ready and excited to jump into whatever project they were handed. The effect of being around someone who is just starting their career, and who is eager to learn (versus being a bit jaded or worn down) is infectious, and often ends up rejuvenating the rest of the office.
In short, don’t listen to the hype out there. I’m not saying things aren’t tough right now – they are. But don’t forget one second that being a college graduate isn’t a liability. In fact, it means you have a lot working in your favor.
About the Author: Noël Rozny is Web Editor & Content Manager at myFootpath, a career and education resource for students of all ages. Noël writes and edits the career and education blog, myPathfinder, and is passionate about using these technologies to help students and job seekers alike find the degree program or career that is right for them. Visit myFootpath.com to find the bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD program that’s right for you.