Navigating the transition from college graduate to employee

Within the next 60 to 90 days, roughly 2000 students at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) will move from the relatively protected world of a student into the exacting world of job-seekers in 21st century America.

The world of work in the United States is becoming more and more challenging. Long gone are the days when one graduates from university and is hired almost immediately by well-established companies like IBM, Disney Studios or Deloitte with the expectation that one’s entire professional career will be at the same company, rewarded with a gold retirement watch 25, 40 or even 50 years later. Successfully participating in the world of work in 2019 takes quite a bit more navigation.

Prior to graduation, hundreds of CSUMB students have been able to find part-time employment or internships on and off campus. The university’s Otter Jobs postings have been a good source of leads, especially when accessed early in the semester. The real challenge for many, however, comes after graduation and the receipt of diploma. Some already have employment plans in place, but many do not.

A first step in navigating the challenges of the world of work is to have a clear understanding as to what are the options as well as personal desired goals. Is the objective temporary work to pay bills and prepare for a move out of the area? Is it to launch out and take the first step on a long-term career path?

Being successful in the employment search requires attention to several factors including personal goals, resumes, phone call technique, appearance and dress, body language and answers to interview questions. To be reflected upon prior to final commitment, the following should be asked: does the company help to fulfill personal vision and objectives, can you see yourself working at the same company a year from now and do you want to work every day of the week or with flexible hours?

One option that is increasing in popularity with qualified candidates is enlisting the support of a professional job coach – whose fee for a two-hour session would typically range from $100 to $500. Contrary to popular belief, coaches are not just for sports teams as they generally help individuals see their talents, develop goals and see areas where they can improve.

A new Y Combinator-backed startup named Pathrise was launched last year which matches professionals with college seniors and recent grads to assist them in launching their career with high-value internships and job placements. Pathrise’s mission is to help undervalued communities break into the tech field.

“We’ve worked with hundreds of people – including one from CSUMB and three from sister campuses – to efficiently and effectively find their first job out of college,” said Lizzie Kreitman, content lead for Pathrise. “On average, students in our program see three times as many responses to their applications and interview performance scores that double. They also find jobs within three months and get paid $12,600 above the industry standard,” continued Kreitman.

The following results after coaching cited by Kreitman illustrates the value of enlisting partners in navigating one’s entry (or re-entry) into the world of work:

  • Learning how to optimize the job search process – for example, x-ray searching – adds five to 15 more quality job opportunities to investigate per week.
  • Learning reverse recruiting tactics – the best ways to find hiring manager and recruiter email addresses (like LinkedIn + email verifier) – and cold email strategy gives a two to four times increase in response rate as a lot of companies use the same structure for their email addresses. Once you figure out that structure, you can guess anyone’s email.
  • Learning the best way to respond to questions and the best practices for both technical and behavioral interviews builds confidence and interview performance scores double based on real company rubrics.
  • Learning negotiation tactics and how to never give a salary or range results in a five to 20 percent (average $12,600) increase in starting salary. The first job out of college is important because it can set the salary scale for the rest of one’s career.

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