How to Get a Corporate Job
I’ve spoken to hundreds of college aged students and the number one question is always, how can I land my initial corporate job?
If you’ve ever wandered the streets of New York City in the early morning, watching men and women in suits rushing on subway trains to office buildings spread throughout the city, you may have wondered what exactly they do and how they landed in their respective careers.
Well, look no further, below I will describe in detail on how to get a corporate job. Since I was 16, I’ve had various forms of employment, including stints working at a convenience store, managing a gym, and interning for a large telecommunications company.
I’ve also watched the differing trajectories family and friends have taken in their careers, many opting to enter the corporate world. Others shunning it to start their own businesses, work in freelance positions, or continue in their family business. So long as you have a passion for it, you will be successful in it.
Your first foray into the corporate world begins with your education.
Though not a mandatory requirement, it is generally expected that the potential applicants have a degree from an accredited four-year college or university.
Additionally, in some corporate jobs, obtaining your masters or doctorate level of education will help you stand out considerably.
Dependent on which path you would like to pursue in your career, your major or study that you specialize in, in college is one of the singular most important decisions you can make.
If you are looking to pursue a role in accounting, you would not want to major or specialize in political science.
Similarly, if you are interested in a career as an engineer, you would not want to spend the majority of your studies on history and literature.
Your education is meant to prepare you for a job at a corporation, specifically if you specialize in an engineering, accounting, or a medical field.
However, if you’re unsure of the path you would like to pursue after college, a safe bet to major in is in finance, economics, or business as these skills can be parlayed into the corporate world.
Especially prudent for those without a four-year degree, which I’ve discussed in detail here, is the need for additional certifications.
Certifications are generally easier and more cost effective to obtain than an undergraduate degree and the boost they provide to your resume is invaluable.
However, simply acquiring a certificate won’t be of much assistance if it’s not in the field you would like a career in.
If you are looking to get into a developer or programming role, I would caution away from obtaining a certificate in financial acumen.
You should find a credible institution which offers certifications which are accepted in your career of choice. Below is a list of credible institutions which offer certifications.
I would also recommend looking at your local community college, as they will have a plethora of resources for entering the work force and on receiving certifications.
Additionally, speaking to people already in the career field which you are interested in to find out their recommendations on certifications will help you improve your chances.
The ‘s’ at the end of the word internship is key here.
It is absolutely prudent that you obtain an internship in your chosen field while you are a student. Internships provide invaluable experience and networking opportunities which cannot be taught at college.
In addition, internships will prepare you for both corporate structure and managing your time.
Though you don’t want to jump from one internship to another, it is worthwhile to have 2-3 total internships during your time in college.
The additional experience will pay back dividends and your network will grow substantially.
Though internships are difficult to procure, you should utilize your college’s internal job board and networking events to your advantage.
Additionally, attending all job fares on campus will open your network and allow you to see what is available.
In addition, attending those job fares allows you to speak directly with the hiring manager in-person and if you can convey your enthusiasm you may have a very good chance at landing that internship.
Ideally, from an internship, you should be able to put forth a high level of quality work and commitment that a full-time job offer is provided.
However, some companies may not be looking to hire for a full-time position, so you should take detailed notes on what your roles and responsibilities were at the internship to highlight on your resume.
Lastly, calling out specific projects and achievements on your resume is a huge selling point.
This is by far one of the most overlooked steps in the process.
Networking is one of the most important things you can do while you look to get a corporate job.
Most people tend to enjoy working with others that they have a friendly rapport with, building your network and maintaining a friendly and enjoyable presence will allow for those already in their careers to put in a recommendation for you.
Networking should come naturally and not feel forced.
You don’t want the other party to think that your friendliness is only due to some perceived want from them. Be natural and friendly and build upon mutual interests and the pieces will fall in line by themselves.
Relocate if Needed
This suggestion is probably the most difficult one from the list.
However, most corporate companies are situated in large, metropolitan cities spread throughout the United States.
They are typically situated at each state’s capital, with some exceptions, and generally have higher costs of living and a high population count.
Major corporations are headquartered in larger cities, simply because that’s where the knowledge pool is or is willing to commute to.
They understand that their pool of qualified applicants is higher in larger cities, due to the fact that the population numbers are higher.
In addition, some cities are more specialized in certain fields than others.
Though there are opportunities for other fields, by virtue of previous large employers, some cities have a higher influx of certain industries.
Atlanta, being the home of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Emory University, has a higher proportion of healthcare and public health careers.
Palo Alto and Silicon Valley being the birthplace of tech startups will have a higher proportion of technology careers.
New York City being home to Wall Street has a higher proportion of business and financial careers.
Though relocating is difficult, it may prove worthwhile in the long-term once you’ve progressed in your career.
These opportunities may at times only be available in the larger cities.
Be Resume Aggressive
Essentially, be in control of your fate.
You should take every opportunity to apply to open positions, whether full or part time, simply to gain the initial experience levels.
You should be receiving alerts on your phone when a new position is posted and apply for it immediately, with some studies showing that your chances of landing an interview increase when applying within 24 hours after the initial posting.
Be Online Visible
Not only should you be aggressive in applying to open positions, but you should be visible online to recruiters looking to fill open positions.
You should have a clean, professional, and concise online profile that matches between differing sites.
Signing-up for and completely filling out your LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed profiles will let recruiters know you are in the market for a new position.
Your online presence should remain spot free, it should be setup correctly, and not be mismatched between sites or your resume.
You will want to utilize a professional photograph and be sure to complete every portion of the profile.
Part of working at a corporate job is learning how to be a corporate employee, which is why I am so aggressive on the need to find an internship early on in your college life.
However, more than just being an employee, the corporate world expects certain levels of professionalism.
You should ensure that you have a proper haircut or if you do have longer hair, that it is not unruly or messy.
Your clothes should be fitted and wrinkle free. You should ensure that there are no scuffs on your shoes.
In addition, ensure that your outfits match and are neutral are some absolute musts, especially in the beginning of your career.
Lastly, a part of being employable is maintaining a sense of self-confidence. You need to believe that you are a valuable employee (or potential employee) and be confident in your skills and capabilities.
When applying for a corporate position, you should always be prepared for a potential interview.
As-such, when applying to any position, you should ensure that you read through the job description thoroughly and are prepared for direct questions on how you will be able to accomplish those responsibilities.
In addition, you should maintain an interview ready wardrobe and style.
You should be prepared for both a phone and in-person interview and come with a number of questions to ask the hiring manager.
The more prepared you are, the better your chances of landing the position.
You’ve landed your dream job, it definitely wasn’t easy, and it took some time, but you made it and you’re happy to be there.
Now that you’ve landed your first job, be sure to review our definitive list on how to hit it out of the park and get promoted.
Your corporate career has just started and you are eager to prove yourself, but take this moment to bask in your achievement and don’t forget to treat yourself on a job well done!