Your Job Search
It doesn't matter where you start. What matters is that you start. Your first job—no matter how un-glamorous it may seem at the time—will always open other doors. Use it as an opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people, and set good work habits for yourself.
But by the same token, maintain a network of family, friends, or co-workers who will keep you honest and help you know when it's time to move on.
Build your portfolio. I'm sorry to say, your parents were right: Simply having a degree isn't enough. Employers are interested in examples of your leadership skills, your writing and editing experiences, how you receive direction. Extra-curricular activities, internships, career explorations, and even church or volunteer work all help build your reputation as a responsible, self-motivated potential employee.
Find other Gusties. Truly, Gusties are everywhere—use it to your advantage. The Career Center or the Alumni Office can link you with alums who can provide information about their careers or places of business. Also, each issue of The Gustavus Quarterly provides interesting information about alums and their successes. Don't hesitate to contact them to offer a note of congratulations and ask questions about how they got where they are.
Be creative about finding a job. Scouring the classified ads are only one way to job search. Today, almost every company has a Web site that provides job information. Sometimes, you can submit your resume even if no positions are immediately available.
Keep your resume short, simple, and to-the-point. No fancy graphics, please. First, we just want to know if you're qualified. You can dazzle us with your creativity later.
Know your Environment
Know your environment. This is my polite way of suggesting that the typical workplace is not like you see on Ally McBeal, so that shouldn't be your guide. Dress conservatively (and in a business suit) for your first interview, and take your cues from what the others in the office are wearing and how they're acting. (No too-short skirts, no gum-chewing, no swearing, you get the idea.)
Confidence is good—but don't overdo it. Employers assume that you have confidence; next, we want to make sure you're a good team player.