young professional, job hunt, job search
JOB HUNT / 14 December 2016
From Young Professional to CEO
Avatar Image
Jasmine Barr
Branding Intern
Des Moines, IA

The scene:

You: a determined twenty-something searching for the next step in your collegiate career path

Them: employers looking for talent that isn't quite in your wheelhouse...what’s a job hunter to do?

This seems to be the case every time I begin looking for new internships or post-graduate jobs as a college student. I’m a marketing major, which is as awesome and fun as it sounds by the way, but every time I go searching for jobs on my university’s comprehensive job board, the main jobs that are being advertised seem to be for accountants or financial analyst; which are fine jobs, just not for me. Resulting in each spotting of a Social Media Coordinator or Graphic Design Internship being so important to me. Well, that makes it a happily ever after right, they do offer diversity in the job list. Wrong, as we all are coming to understand, just because a job seems fun doesn’t mean it’s for you. Once I click on a job to learn more, it usually feels like they’re asking for qualities or skills I don’t have.

Now’s the time to ask yourself “what can be done?” How can you combat the feeling of being under-qualified for a position you have a hunch would be a great fit for you? You look back at your previous executive council or board positions and reflect upon them to begin a compilation of skills and qualities you’ve picked up from each one. That’s what I do because the only way to combat being “unqualified” is to prove to yourself, and then others, that you are!

During this time of reflection, you should be concentrating on three important questions about your time in office.

  1. What did you do?

  2. What was accomplished because of your endeavors ?

  3. What skills did you develop during your time serving in that position?

Knowing the answers to these significant life questions is necessary for your growth because everyone participates in extracurricular clubs and organizations nowadays, employers want to see that you contributed to some capacity. A 2016 report on HR and Recruiting Stats from Glass Door states, “84% organizations anticipate a shortfall in the minimum number of qualified leaders over the next five years.” I comprehend this statistic to mean that candidates simply aren’t explaining themselves well enough on paper or in person. We millennials and digital natives are two of the most tech savvy and intelligent generations to enter the workforce so I find it extremely difficult to accept the idea that we aren’t qualified leaders. What we need to do is prove our leadership by keeping those three questions fresh in our heads at all times.

One thing that makes this task complicated is the fact that our resumes are living documents that are in a constant state of evolution. To combat this I would suggest creating a master list of each position you have held so that you can talk about them when the time comes, hopefully during an interview! By doing this, you’re creating a resume archive that you can pull from and begin to leverage each position in your favor for the opportunity at hand because you have a cheat sheet of your life that you are able to review and think critically about how it further benefit you and the company or organization you’re applying to.

I’m into my senior year of college and have had many positions in various parts of campus life, so keeping it all straight can be difficult, especially if you’ve already removed that position from your resume and haven’t thought about it in a long time. If you find yourself in the same boat, try seeing if you can review past resumes you have submitted and copy and paste them into your master list. If you can’t, don’t worry about it, you can always redo it you’ll probably describe it better than you did initially anyway since you’ve been reflecting.

You may be thinking “I’m such and such years out of college, this isn’t my first rodeo. I’m looking for a new gig, not my first, this article is turning out to be so irrelevant.” In this case you’ve, hopefully, gained new experiences at the job you currently have (if not check out this article). When searching for your next career stepping stone, don’t feel odd about listing a few of your college extra circulars under leadership and awards as long as they’re relevant to the new position you’re applying for; just be prepared to expand on them during your interview when asked, so don’t let those memories fade!

Remember, college is a whirlwind of experiences and you didn’t take on all of those leadership positions for nothing. Now that the dust is settling or has settled you have the time to organize all of them into a story that makes you top notch candidate any employer would be lucky to have on their team.