Life After College: Communication & Relationships

We have all had that friend that graduated college and wondered why they still landed a crumby job at the end of it all.

The truth of the matter is that you could have the best grades, answer every question correctly, but if you do not have the ability to create relationships and be an effective communicator, chances are you will not land a job in the field you had studied so long for in your undergraduate program.

Most undergraduate students [by assumption] are studying their desired field because they hope to one day work in a setting that requires the knowledge of what they’ve learned in college.

In most cases, employers will be choosing the most “qualified” candidate. But what does this mean to you? What does this mean to employers? There are many factors that contribute to the success of a candidate being hired.

We can start with the basics, which is qualification. This includes things like… what school you went to, what did you study, where your work experience lies, etc.

Most people coming out of college do not have the necessary work experience that employers are asking for. Typically, on “entry-level” job positions you will notice that the employer is asking for 2-5 years of work experience and some sort of degree.

The person who has now graduated from the four-year university might have the degree but not the “work experience” that is being asked for.

This then becomes the basis of conversation when your friend who says “How am I supposed to get a job if they’re asking for experience? How are you supposed to get experience if no one wants to hire you without it?”

In reality, someone just has to trust you enough to hire you. But where can this trust be earned? Certainly not in an interview where you are not being yourself. Certainly, also not just by showing the employer your degree from said university and not saying a word about it.

The answer is, you earn their trust based off of your reputation, the people you know, and the little that you have done before.

If you interned at a company to obtain your undergraduate degree, it is essential that you make friends at that company. Form professional relationships with people, become someone who is approachable and trustworthy.

You cannot expect to go in and out of an internship without learning anything and saying “I just did my 240 hours that I needed.” That is not what that internship is for.

That internship can open new doors for you, you can become friends with industry professionals who will have your back when it comes to hiring. Most of the people who get hired after college, get hired because they know someone, or they know someone that knows someone.

Didn’t you ever know of somebody who got hired somewhere after college because their parents knew someone? Or because they were asked by someone if they needed a job?

It is common, most of the time, that people will simply find employment on the basis of knowing others and establishing these connections.

Where is the proof?

Let’s take a look at Linkedin for example. Linkedin allows you to create a social media profile that essentially shares your professionalism and your work experience. Linkedin is used by many employers and employment recruiting companies to find individuals.

Linkedin has special features, you can add a profile picture so employers know what you look like right off the bat. It also offers you to make “connections” with people in your industry. I’ve met tons of retail people on linkedin who have wanted to recruit me or asked me if I knew of other qualified applicants.

On Linkedin you can also share your skills and people can “endorse” you for these skills. It almost acts as a like, but it is even better because someone you know, that you maybe have once worked with is vouching that you know the skill you are claiming to know.

This is the future of employment and college graduates should take more advantage of it. Your own charm can take you places that you wouldn’t even think you’d get to. It just takes pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to accomplish this.

Create relationships on campus, at your internship, at your lousy job with your managers and your co-workers. Be known, advocate for yourself and set yourself up for success so that someone can take a chance on you.