Graduating from college and obtaining my degree is one of my greatest achievements. I worked hard for that degree and it’s something that nobody can ever take away from me. Graduation day was phenomenal, I was on top of the world and on cloud nine, but like many grads, I hadn’t yet obtained that first job, and while we were taking photos right after the ceremony, my uncle didn’t let me forget it. My joy quickly turned to fear and I felt as if I had failed since I didn’t have that perfect job. With 1.6 million people obtaining their bachelor’s degree in 2014, many college graduates will be in the same boat I was in, graduating without a job. I know how stressful that can be, and we’re here to help!
“Intern Queen” Lauren Berger had 15 internships while attending college at the University of Central Florida and is now a successful author who is regularly featured in countless publications and on television programs across the country sharing her entrepreneurial and internship tips. Lauren was kind enough to join me for an interview recently to discuss how new graduates can land that first job, how to dress the part on job interviews, how to get outside your comfort zone and move forward, and much more!
Candace Rose: With 1.6 million people getting their bachelor’s degree in 2014, what can new grads do to land that first job?
Lauren Berger: “I have so much great advice for new grads! I’ve been working with Microsoft Windows, and we’re really pushing to make sure that we can make the job search process easier and more effective for these recent grads. So, I’ll just dive right into the technology tips and tricks that I have and then give you some more advice.
The first thing is to make sure that all of your important information is accessible. For the job seeker that’s going to be your resume, your cover letter, your letters of recommendation, any companies that you’re following. I have my Windows 8 devices here (please see video for details and demonstration) this is the Nokia Lumia 2520, but you want to make sure that if you’re following a company on LinkedIn, it’s right there. You have your resume, your cover letter- everything is right here. You can use programs like OneDrive to make sure that everything is synched across all of your devices. It is your job to make sure that that resume is on your laptop, is on your tablet (I have my Surface 2 here) and it’s also on your phone. You want to make sure that all of your information is saved and synched across all of these devices so that you are prepared for whatever might happen in this job search process.”
Candace Rose: How can new grads on a limited budget look and dress the part on interviews?
Lauren Berger: “That’s a great question; so with a limited budget you want to make sure that you’re focusing on your functional pieces. I always say for a guy or a girl, go with a business suit in a dark color. It doesn’t matter how much money it costs, you can get one at any store these days, you can’t go wrong. You can add a fun statement necklace, or if you’re a guy you can wear a tie with a splash of color and you’ll really stand out. You can wear the same thing to every single interview, it doesn’t matter.”
Candace Rose: You suggest graduates get comfortable being uncomfortable. Do you have any tips on how new grads can get outside of their comfort zone?
Lauren Berger: “Absolutely. You have to push yourself to go outside of your comfort zone. If there’s a networking event coming up and you’re a little bit nervous to attend, that’s the sign you want to push yourself past that and make yourself attend that networking event; introduce yourself to strangers; tell people what you want to do and really spell it out for them. And Candace, the way to be the most prepared is to make sure that you’re doing your research. I use OneNote all the time (it’s pinned with the live tiles) it’s an online storage notebook to put all of my research that I’m doing on all of my dream companies. That way if I’m at one of these networking events and I need to reference something, I have all of my information. And again, it’s synched up. It’s not only on my laptop, it’s also on my tablet, it’s also on my Windows phone. So again, it’s being sure that you’re prepared for anything at any time.”
Candace Rose: How much time and effort does it typically take to land that first job?
Lauren Berger: “It can take a little while sometimes, but I think the first focus candidates, the ones that make that target list, the candidates that spend six to eight hours every day on that job search are going to see positive results. Anything is possible and for more graduation tips, my book “Welcome To The Real World” is a really fun book, it’s the book I wish I’d had after graduation. My website is InternQueen.com, and obviously we want to make sure you have all the information on these cool tools in front of me, and you can find out all about these tools, they span a range of budgets at MicrosoftStore.com.”