Yes, It’s The Knife Thing!

So, you’re home for the summer. You see family and friends and they ask what you’re doing. You tell them. And they say – with a nose wrinkle or eyebrow crunch – “Is that the knife thing?”

Or even better, 20 years later in my case, “Are you STILL doing the knife thing?”

Yes I AM!! If you are too, or if you are considering joining Vector, you should know that “the knife thing” can be a very good choice. That “knife thing” that grandma turns up her nose at could be just the thing to get your career off to a great start. This is especially true in today’s job market.

According an April 23rd, 2012 report by the Associated Press, 50 % of this year’s college seniors are graduating without a job offer. Eighty-five percent of these young adults expect to be moving back home after they graduate. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but probably not a dream come true for most new grads.

These figures are too high to be explained by economic factors alone. My colleagues in corporate recruiting at other companies confirm that suspicion. In fact, they tell me that many of today’s recent grads just don’t have the skills, and they don’t know how to use the job search process to highlight their abilities.

Why not? A big part of the reason is that many college students are not taking full advantage of the opportunities they have, while they are still in school, to make sure they are prepared for the job market. Some go for an internship with a big name company only to find themselves taking notes and shadowing the boss.

Others join lots of campus clubs but never take on a leadership role. Others simply don’t step out of their comfort zone or even ask “What am I really going to need in order to enter my chosen career field?

And what are the 50% of those students who are graduating with a job lined up doing right? It’s not that complicated and if you’re working with Vector this summer, you’re already on the right track. Here are some recommendations for you:

1. Pursue meaningful experiences

Make sure that, beginning with your freshman year, you pursue meaningful experiences that yield tangible results. That trip to South Africa? Sure, it’s cool! But you better make sure that you can talk about something you did there that prepared you for the job you want.

2. Do more than just study

Establish a track record of accomplishment outside of the classroom. Take on a role (paid or volunteer) that allows you to take an assignment from start to finish or demonstrate that how you handled a difficult interpersonal situation.

3. Network like crazy

Serve on a committee, plan an event, and pursue every chance to meet and work with the faculty and staff on campus. Build relationships with these people and ask them for advice. Show them you are responsible, reliable, and engaged.

4. Take initiative

WORK! And don’t just work, if you see something that is crying to be done, and nobody is doing it, adopt it and make it your own.

5. Relentlessly learn new things

Find people who are happy to answer questions and cultivate relationships with them. They will teach you a lot and what you learn will help you recognize opportunities for growth and change.

And, if you already work with Vector, hold your head high the next time someone asks and say “Yes, it’s the knife thing and it’s going to get me where I want to go!”