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November 22nd, 2010,

By Hannah Morgan,

Finding a job after college can be difficult; however, it is not impossible.  Those who have been successful in securing employment after college have set themselves apart. They possess demonstrated skills and are more confident in their abilities.  I will even venture to guess that they have an enthusiasm, perhaps even a passion.  You can learn so much from the success of these graduates.  How will you begin to start setting yourself apart?

Top 5 Things Every College Student Should Know

Learn Outside the Classroom
Your ambitions to get good grades are commendable!  But learning happens outside of the classroom too. Get involved in school and/or community activities that are meaningful to you. This is how you begin to gain experience and perhaps even more importantly, you begin to develop relationships and connections.  Experience, either paid or unpaid is priceless and conveys to your next employer your commitment to excel.

ID Mentors
Begin today forming a personal board of advisors. This can be an informal relationship.  It can be a collection of people you respect and whom you will bounce ideas off of as well as learn from.  Identify people who can provide you with more than academic advice. Seek out professors who can offer insight on occupational and industry trends. These mentors can be inside and outside of the school setting.  The key is to create these relationships while you have access to them, not after you leave.  It is often too late for a significant relationship to grow once you are out of sight.

Make Time for an Internship or Co-op
Any opportunity to get “real world” experience is a good thing.  Assertively pursue an internship, whether sponsored by your school or not.  They can be difficult to coordinate sometimes, but don’t let that deter you. A very large percentage of internships turn into offers of employment after graduation.

Thank You Letters are Not Dead
In this world of instant messaging, texting and other forms of electronic communication, it is still important to practice good business etiquette.  Saying thank you is absolutely one way to differentiate yourself from the crowd.  Fewer than 5% of people send thank you letters after an interview, even though most of us know we should.

The World of Work has Changed
In case you haven’t heard, you will most likely have many different jobs over the course of your working life, estimates range from 10-15 in fact.  No one says you have to figure it all out now.  But, you do need to establish a plan early on what you will do when you have completed your degree.  If you have been cultivating relationships along the way it will make this so much easier.  Do not wait until the Spring of your last year to start the process.

Begin taking an interest in job search methodologies and techniques today. Visit the Career Services office and begin connecting with alumni as early as possible.

Hannah Morgan is a career strategist and founder of  She is an energetic, compassionate conveyer of no-nonsense career advice.  Hannah shares information on the lates career management and job search trends and techniques on her blog, Career Sherpa and regularly contributes to sites such as HerRochester, Career Collective, and  When Hannah isn’t writing, you can find her delivering workshops or presentations designed to kick job seekers motivation and knowledge up a notch.

Hannah is active on Twitter (@careersherpa), LinkedIn, and Facebook.  Her use and understanding of social media have helped her grow her brand and benefitted many of her clients.

  • Ed Han

    Hannah, this is excellent, esp the board of advisors idea.