What’s going to happen to you after college? Is there a job in your future, or is your resume not good enough? Did you choose the right major? Should you have joined more clubs? Did you just waste your parents’ money? These are just a few of the questions that dart through the minds of college students over the course of their four years of undergrad. In a time when every application for an internship or a job feels like a shot in the dark, even the students who seem to have everything together questions themselves every once in a while.
Going into my junior year, I have to admit that I’ve asked myself some of these questions as well. I started applying to internships too late freshman year, leading to no internship and my starting in November of my sophomore year but no luck, yet again. Now, it’s October and I’m starting up again. But does starting to apply so early on mean that you will actually have a better chance of getting an internship? There are herds of students from all over the country applying to the same internships with identical resumes and cover letters, full of volunteer work and great past experiences, but how can you get your foot in the door when you can’t even answer the question, “What makes you unique?”
But on top of that, some students just happen to have great connections through their parents. Students who don’t even have to try hard because of their last name. But what about the students who are actually qualified? Do they even stand a chance? Going into his senior year of college at George Washington University, my brother worked as the only American intern at the Spanish Embassy in Washington, D.C., and had interned back home in NYC. He graduated in 2017 and has sent out more resumes than I thought possible but hasn’t been able to find work in Washington, D.C. This is someone who graduated with a degree in International Affairs, took ten years of Spanish and was part of several organizations at GW that were volunteer-based. But at the same time, he has friends with identical resumes who have had jobs since graduation. So do we all really have an equal chance?
According to a Student Voices article from April 2017, 67 percent of college grads did not have jobs lined up after graduation in 2017. So what do we do? How do we, college students, find jobs? Well, it’s not too easy when job insecurity continues to rise. But according to CNBC, the reason why we’re struggling so much is that we don’t try hard enough to connect with the career services centers on our campuses. There is a center dedicated to helping us find jobs, preparing for them and everything in between, yet many students haven’t even popped in for a quick visit. I remember that the first time I went in was for a business class I had freshman year. I had to have my resume reviewed and that one visit helped me more than I thought.
Although I couldn’t find an internship that summer due to my lack of effort, I was prepared in the sense that I had a resume and I knew that I could always stop in for help. And so I did. I went in multiple times to get help writing my cover letter because that’s not something that was taught in my high school. Writing a cover letter can be tedious, especially changing it over and over every time you apply to something, but having a solid cover letter and resume already takes you a step farther and will make you feel more prepared.
So what’s going to happen once you graduate? Are you going to regret not spending more time on your resume and using the resources right in front of you? Because while nothing is guaranteed, at least you’d have gone the extra mile. And that extra mile can make all the difference when we live in a time where the economy and job market are too unstable. If we want to secure our futures at this time, maybe we need to stop waiting on our parents’ connections and give 110 percent. Because even if it does not go as planned, at least you’ll have tried your best and that will open doors to other opportunities for you.