The end of college brings many questions for young adults. These days, poor economic conditions and increased acceptance of debt rewards the continuance of higher education to get a masters degree or even higher. A great number of recent graduates are either unable to find work or are taking entry level service jobs in the restaurant industry (aka: waiter). It has always been the goal of graduating college students to find a good employer, but now the competition is even stiffer than it once was.

However, most students take the wrong approach to employment. I believe students should spend less time approaching employers with template resumes and applications and more time focused on becoming the kind of person an employer would pursue.

Be An Employable Person

For many graduating college students, employers will automatically seek services of the highly skilled. Petroleum engineers have a high rate of employment before they even graduate, but the vast number of students don’t have such a marketable degree. Those people without this advantage, myself included, have to show value to an employer in other ways.

Unorthodox Approaches – employers want to see out-of-the-box thinkers who are going to take unorthodox approaches to company and personal problems. This unique approach is usually what sets businesses and organizations apart in a highly competitive marketplace. Not only should you try to solve existing problems in unorthodox ways, but you should find new problems to solve. William Tecumseh Sherman, a famous Union Civil War general, was a tactical genius who took this approach. Instead of determining which unique methods could be used to defeat the Confederate army, he decided instead to wage total war on the civilian population to destroy morale instead. It was a solution to a previously undiscovered problem.

Be Passionate – with a lackluster interest in any topic, it is going to be very difficult to get employers seeking your services. Find something that you are passionate about so that it can shine through when speaking with others. Even displaying an intense passion in history can excite and encourage a potential employer to hire you for a completely different position. Make your passionate energy be felt at all times.

Create Employment Leverage – while you are in college there is plenty of time to start productive projects of your own. Find something you enjoy spending time on and make it a business or freelancing option that can make you self-sufficient once you graduate. Having this leverage will make you act completely differently when speaking about employment. Just like a relationship with the opposite sex, coming across as “needy” to employers can be your downfall. Show them you have found a place for yourself in the market.

Provide Value Everywhere – if you get stuck in the paradigm of providing value only for monetary compensation, you run the risk of never getting a chance. Provide value as often as you can to as many people as you can. You will make some great connections and you may even surprise a potential employer you did not expect.

Employment Paradigm Shift

The process for employment has revolved around telling potential employers what qualities or credentials you have in order to get hired. However, the intense competition from a globalized world is making it necessary to show how you demonstrate these qualities and credentials if you want to get ahead. If you can do this, you’ll find that interesting acquaintances turn into potential employers.

About the Author: Mansal D. is a senior college student studying history at the University of Texas at Ausin. He loves meditation, swimming, soccer, mixed martial arts, cooking, reading, and writing on his self actualization blog, The Hacked Mind.