So you’ve just walked down the aisle with your degree, and before you can even throw your cap in the air, you’re ready to start working for a company whose name you don’t even remember. Okay, so that may be a bit extreme, but the point is, it seems to be the trend today. Whether it is the perception the economy is still so bad you need to take whatever you can get, the laziness of continuing to pursue something once a job offer is given, or what, it seems students are settling for underemployment. Don’t get me wrong, of course there are plenty of students that go about the post-graduation job search the right way: begin the hunt in November, start their career where they interned, utilize more than one avenue for their application process—but for those students who don’t, it seems the second a company dangles the worm, they bite. I can speak so intimately of such a topic because this was me only a few years ago. Yes, I’m a seasoned veteran now at the prime age of 24, but as a recruiter I see it all too often with college students—jumping on the first job opportunity that comes their way, and being disappointing by the decision to do so. This was until this past week when a bright young candidate decided to decline his first post-graduation job offer when I presented him with a legitimate opportunity elsewhere (yes, it’s what we do here at ASG Recruiting). Now it wasn’t just that he said no to his first offer, it was that he actually recognized he was overqualified for it and wanted to put his skills to use in a fun, young work environment where he will actually be challenged. Another thing to note—the confidence in the skills he earned with his degree was enough to recognize he wanted more out of his career and declined the offer with just an interview with our client, no new offer was yet given—now that is even more rare to see with recent grads these days! At such a young age to actually recognize he would be underutilized had me think, how many other students truly realize they are underemployed—I didn’t at first. Overshadowed by the excitement of that first job offer, justifying it to others by saying “I need to get this experience under my belt anyway before getting anything better” is now just an overused cop-out. More people need to recognize the skill set they earned with their degree and OWN it the way my candidate did and go get a worthwhile job, because THEY ARE OUT THERE! (No seriously, you can email me—email@example.com and I’ll tell you about some!) For if you don’t recognize this as a college graduate prior to your job search or at least early on in your career I GAURANTEE the following scenario will take place: You’ll end up three years in, still chasing the promotions you were promised upon hiring, the leadership positions that drew you in, and longing for the amazing growth opportunities you see your classmates actually achieving. The only thing is, all that momentum and enthusiasm you had charging out of the gates upon graduation is gone, and now all the new graduates are ready to pass by you in the job market. You’ve become stagnant in your job search efforts all because you settled for the first job that came your way. According to a recent study conducted by USA Today News, 57% of today’s employers are planning on hiring new college grads, which is up from 44% in 2010. So they’re out there—employers want to hire new graduates! So why is it that college students settle for that first job offer right out of school? Like I said I myself did the same thing. I came up with a few theories why this may be the case—and although you may fall into all or just one, each leads to the same solution: you need me, a recruiter who has been through each situation and can help! OUTSIDE INFLUENCES “You need something with a salary.” “Does this company offer benefits?” “Does this sound like anyone’s parents?” Often times students take the first job offered because it seems like that’s the right thing to do, right? Go to college, get job! Sure, these can be some things on your list of what you would like in your new job, but what about other things like a cool company culture, onsite gym, casual work attire, catered lunch, fully stocked kitchens. Most college students don’t realize fun things like this are also options when it comes to finding a job. Remember, you have to be happy in your work environment in order for it truly to work so don’t let outside influences force you into jumping on that first job offer just to shut them up! It’s about your happiness as well. YOU THINK YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT Let’s be honest, there’s not really a class that teaches what an average salary should be, what a comparable benefits package should look like, what perks one company has versus another—so any company is going to brag about what they bring to the table. And yes, to a young college student anything is going to sound good! You can’t compare apples to apples when you’re only looking at one apple. The point is, if you just see the one apple (first job offer) of course it is going to sound amazing—that’s what happened with my candidate last week. Until he reached out to a recruiter, (this girl) to find out what more was out there, what truly fit his personality, matched his skill set, and his idea of an entry level job, he was ready to settle. DON’T SETTLE! You know you have what it takes, get out there and get after it! Or tell me what your talents are and make me get after it for you! I know my talents are fighting for top candidates—see that, pure confidence—you have it too, I promise! MY ADVICE: DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF Even if you do accept that first job offer out of college, don’t feel you have to stop looking for other opportunities. Think of my candidate who did not even receive another offer, yet saw the potential in himself, seeing the potential companies he could work for—that was enough to make him reevaluate what he truly brought to the table for his future employer. You should never feel stuck! Get out and get on to something better, that’s what I did and now I am on a mission to help other young graduates find what they want early on the way I have now! Learn from my knowledge, I have a wealth of it (slight sarcasm) but a LOT when it comes to the recruitment process and helping college graduates know what they want/need out of their first career opportunity. TRUST YOUR ABILITIES College is not an easy task, remember that! Sure there are those certain tests you’ll never remember because they were in GEO 101 (science wasn’t for me) or the Friday classes when there were only four students in attendance, but give yourself some credit—you ARE an educated person and the skill set you acquired will contribute to your professional success. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH RECRUITERS Truly take the time to evaluate what your options are—know that even in a tough job market, there are still jobs out there and recruiters like us willing to take the time to match the right candidate with the right company. It’s not all that bad, just remember I was just there myself! Let me know if you think you’re someone that has the top talent I’m talking about and wants the help getting connected—I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org DON’T LOSE MOMENTUM It may seem like a daunting task searching endlessly for a job in the huge market of the thousands of job sites, apps, career services, etc., but it will be worth it in the long run if you put the time in now. Use the momentum and excitement you have coming out of college to your advantage and take it into the workplace. Some of the best things about hiring recent college graduates is the new ideas, excitement, and enthusiasm they bring to the work environment. It makes everyone step their game up and be the best they can be! So good do it—take on the world the way you feel like you can! Let us here at ASG Recruiting help you harness that post-graduate motivation by finding the RIGHT jobs so you can feel rewarded both mentally and financially! You EARNED that degree, now OWN it!