1. Terrible summer jobs show grit.
Sticking out a job that you’re not passionate about shows grit. Hard, non-fun work might not seem glamorous on your resume, but it’s often what employers want to see. Plus, you can apply the skills you learn to any job.
2. Employers are only really asking two questions in interviews.
All the questions you’ll be asked boil down to two simple things. Will you add value? Are you a cultural fit?
3. OMG, save your resume as a PDF.
Of the many resume mistakes we saw in 2015 (track changes still on?!), many of them could be solved by saving that resume as a PDF.
4. There’s opportunity in rejection.
So, you didn’t get the job. Rejection is inevitable on the job hunt, but how you handle it can make all the difference.
5. Don’t let your relatives give career advice over the holidays.
“So … what’s next?” is the defining question of every college senior’s family time. Stay strong.
6. Video job applications are a thing, and they’re awesome.
It seems scary, but recording a video introduction as part of your job application is proving to be one of the best ways to get noticed.
7. If you want a job before graduation, act early.
If you’re a senior (or will be next year), keep in mind that a lot of employers will hire you months, even a year before you graduate. Starting your job search early in your senior year can only help you down the road.
8. And if you don’t find a job fast, grad school isn’t a fix-all.
Working a job, even if it’s not exactly what you want to be doing, will give you a good sense of what’s out there. And if you do later decide that grad school is right for you, you’ll have a better sense of how to apply the degree you want to earn.
9. Don’t be afraid to commit to something.
After you graduate, it might seem like the options are endless. How do you figure out what direction is right for you? There’s no right or wrong answer, and at the end of the day, you’re going to have to pick something and stick to it … even if it’s just for a little while.
10. Set up your damn voicemail.
Really. You might think that nobody uses voicemail anymore, but they most definitely do. When you’re applying for jobs, you need to have a professional voicemail greeting.
11. You don’t have to be a non-profit to be mission-driven.
The more you explore and try new positions and employers, the more you realize there are loads of for-profit companies with values that resonate deeply with your own.
12. Don’t hold out for you “dream job.”
Your dream job is out there. But you’re probably not going to find it right out of college, and that’s OK. When you start your first job search, it’s important to be realistic. It’s also important to seek out jobs and environments that’ll support your growth as you figure out just what that dream job actually looks like.
13. Volunteering is a great way to build experience.
Not only are you doing good (and feeling good), volunteering is a chance for you to gain hands-on experience inside great organizations while you’re looking for paid work.
14. Deadlines in the real world are not like deadlines in college.
Hiring isn’t fair. It’s hard, it’s a time-suck, and once a company finds someone who works, they’ll probably stop reviewing applications. Don’t wait until the deadline to apply.
15. Don’t freak out. You’re going to be fine.
The best rule of thumb is to be your best self everyday and trust that you’re on the path to figuring it out.
Cheers to you, 2015. We can’t wait to see what 2016 will bring!
Michaela Gianotti is Koru's content manager. She attended Whitman College, where she spent the better part of four years convincing her family that English majors can get jobs too. She has since found awesome work (SEE!) at 826 Seattle, msnNOW, and Koru.