Monty Cerf frequently serves as a mentor to collage level and graduate school students. Here, Monty discusses why those looking to enter the job market for the first time should take note of the advice provided by well-established professionals, to ensure the best chance of success once they reach the first rung of their chosen career ladder.
Heading into 2023, the job market remains strong for graduating students. According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, undergraduates are getting an average of 1.14 job offers before graduation.
However, Monty Cerf adds that experts are quick to note that this doesn’t mean transitioning from college to the workforce is a small feat, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent graduates are competing with seasoned professionals for some roles, and they’re often not versed in the nuances of business culture, much of which is in flux post-COVID. This can result in confusion and uncertainty at many levels.
Starting Early Proves Beneficial for Fresh-Out-of-University Jobseekers
Reportedly, job searching is a task that many graduates put off until the last minute, but professionals from all industries encourage jobseekers to start as early as possible. Otherwise, they risk being without a role once the graduation ceremony is over.
Monty Cerf explains that a small number graduate to graduate, apply for jobs, and land a role without much undue effort or stress, that is very much the exception rather than the rule.
Data shows that proactive students tend to have a position lined up well before their studies end, giving them one less thing to worry about as exams draw near.
Monty Cerf reports that soon-to-be-graduates should get their name in front of their preferred companies as early as possible to boost their chance at success once it’s time for the interview.
Failing to Plan Means Planning to Fail
According to seasoned wealth management advisor William Montgomery Cerf, who has worked with Montclair State University School of Business for many years, having a plan is just as important for graduates entering the job market as it is for financial managers.
Too many graduates are hasty to apply for (and take) jobs that aren’t truly aligned with their long-term goals, putting them at a disadvantage in the long run.
Monty Cerf explains that setting specific goals and following through to design and execute a search strategy accordingly is key. . Young professionals must have an organized framework to design their search and guide the pursuit of opportunity and to govern their job-related decisions.
Graduates with Realistic Expectations Find Greater Job Satisfaction and Overall Well-Being
Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and other such success stories all dreamed big and achieved the grandiose goals they had set out to do. And those are fine instincts. However, they all started small and simple — and experts urge students to do the same. Your first job is not where you end up; it’s where you start. Aim in a direction that is of interest and will assure you of a quality learning and growth opportunity.
Graduates who set realistic expectations for the beginning of their careers find greater job satisfaction and overall happiness as they move up the corporate ladder.
While some careers have high starting salaries, Monty Cerf notes that most students will need to work up to their ideal earnings and positions. Having realistic expectations ensures they aren’t disappointed by the ladder’s first (potentially lower paying) rungs. Remember, in the end, the employer is taking a risk on you by paying you a salary, and hoping that you will learn and grow into larger value-added responsibilities.
You don’t start at the top, and if you think you should (or communicate that in subtle ways to employers) you will likely feel less satisfied and happy as time goes on. For most, success takes time, hard work, a lifelong commitment to learning from peers, and organizational experience.
Researching Ahead of Interviews May Be the Best Piece of Expert Advice
Seasoned professionals suggest researching the company before sitting across from one of them in an interview. Monty Cerf says that preparation shows a serious interest and gives the interviewer confidence in their candidate, increasing the chances of success. Showing seriousness through company knowledge is a cue to interviewers. None expect you to know everything (or even very much) about the company or the industry. They just want to know that you cared enough to try to learn and to be able to ask good questions about the company, the industry and the working Professionals at the Gradguide note the importance in graduates’ decision of whether an organization is really the right fit for them. Your research should take that into consideration
Modern employees focus on work culture, personal development opportunities, remote work flexibility, and much more. Consider factors other than salary when applying for jobs. You are looking for your first job, a stepping stone to future opportunities. You are not interviewing for your last job. Particularly in today’s economy, you are solving for a learning experience that assures you of employability, not permanent employment in an ever-shifting economy. As such, maximizing the learning opportunity is as or more important than maximizing salary.
Those Who Utilize University Resources Have More Success
Finally, Monty Cerf highlights the importance of utilizing the resources that universities provide while students still have access to them. He stresses that too many soon-to-be graduates don’t take advantage of these establishments’ programs, career advisors, networking databases, and other services that can guide their transition to the workforce.
From interview coaching to CV polishing, such resources can be of enormous value.