If you’ve ever wandered the streets of New York in the early morning, you will notice men and women dressed in suits and ties cramming into packed subway trains. While observing them rushing to office buildings spread throughout the city, you may have wondered what it is that they all do and how they landed in their respective careers. Well, the truth is, everyone has their own corporate story or journey – and there’s no set path regarding how to get a corporate job, but there are things you can do to maximize your chances of success.
How to Get a Corporate Job: Your Education Strategy
The road to getting a corporate job begins with your education. Though not a mandatory requirement, it is generally expected that potential applicants have a degree from an accredited college or university – although there are many opportunities to interview for a customer service job or a sales role if you didn’t attend further education.
In some corporate jobs, obtaining your master’s or doctorate level of education will help you stand out considerably and land more posts. Your strategy will depend on your own outlook, talents, and even your financial situation. It’s worth bearing in mind that one option is just to get yourself on the ladder. That’s a good place to begin, and you can take things from there. It’s a little-known fact that many corporate organizations sponsor employees or internal candidates for advanced degrees.
Corporate structures are, by definition, a hierarchy – and that’s essentially a ladder you can climb if you go about things the right way. Part of your initial plan should be to identify where your talents and interests lie. Don’t forget, you’re hopefully going to pursue this career for many years – it’s essential to enroll in courses that suit how your mind works and what you’re good at doing. The ideal corporate job for you is one that plays to your talents.
Try to make it so your decisions and advancements don’t get based on the degree you chose; instead, your choice of course should advance a path you’ve decided to take. Don’t take a political science major if you want to work in accounting, for instance – that almost goes without saying, but the point here is that you should plan your career path before you enter further education, not after.
Now, you might be reading this and thinking that you haven’t got a clue about what you want to do, which is not uncommon. It’s also not necessarily a massive problem. If that sounds like you, you may want to stick with finance, economics, or a general business theme. There’s plenty of time to specialize further down the line, and any of those course types will stand you in good stead to make decisions later.
Corporate Jobs and Certifications
Certifications are arguably more important for candidates who didn’t get a degree, but not exclusively so by any means. Everyone out there can benefit from gaining additional certifications. When it comes to compiling an attractive resume, the reality is that everything is a competition. You’ll be up against hundreds of other ambitious applicants, and the more you do to stand out from the crowd, the better. Especially prudent for those without a four-year degree, which I’ve discussed in detail here, is the need for additional certifications.
Certifications are a relatively cheap and quick way to boost your qualifications – and they’re generally very role and industry-specific too. Remember, merely acquiring a certificate won’t be of much help if it’s not in the right field, so always keep your overall strategy in mind. These days, it’s incredibly easy to find a credible institution that offers certifications that fit your plan, sector, and target roles. In addition to the reputable online providers below, it’s well worth checking out what’s on offer at your local community college.
When you’re trying to find a corporate job and formulate an education strategy, a great tip is to search for profiles on LinkedIn. Look for people with job titles you aspire to, then check out which accreditations and certificates they hold – especially if they’re working for a larger corporate. One of the most significant benefits of being on LinkedIn is that it’s transparent. People lay bare their current employment and career paths, along with their education history. Use that to your advantage when you’re putting together your grand plan.
Using Internships to Get a Corporate Job
Internships serve several purposes when you’re starting out on your corporate journey. You’ll gain invaluable experience while working in the very environment you’re trying to enter professionally – think of it as a foot in the door, so to speak. You’ll also be presented with some excellent opportunities for networking with employees and managers in the field you’ve chosen – and none of that stuff is available if you just limit yourself to classes during your college years.
What internships also do is teach you about corporate culture and prepare you for how corporate structures operate. You’ll learn much about the hierarchy and making that work for your career. You’ll figure out a lot about corporate etiquette, and internships teach you many things about managing your time – especially when you’re juggling work and college simultaneously.
Perhaps the primary advantage of seeking out a few internships during college is that you’ll end up with some killer resume content. A lack of experience is the number one problem for corporate applicants when they leave college, and internships allow you to clock valuable real-world hours in a work environment. That can set you apart from the competition when it comes to making the transition from college to employment.
Consider a recent survey by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Students and employers were both asked how well prepared the students were across various real-world skills. Perceptions between the two groups of respondents differed enormously. 62% of students felt they were well-versed in oral communication, whereas only 28% of employers felt the same. In terms of aptitude when working with numbers and statistics, 55% of students considered themselves up to speed, as opposed to 28% of their potential employers. It was the same sort of story when working in a team, with 64% of the students confident they had that covered and only 37% in agreement. Perhaps the most telling questions related to applying knowledge to the real world and analyzing, then solving complex problems, where the results were 59% versus 23% and 59% versus 24%, respectively.
There’s no doubting the benefits of enrolling in internships during college. If you’re stuck for ideas, try your college’s internal job board, attend networking events and job fairs on and off-campus. Job fairs often provide opportunities to chat in person with hiring managers. If you’re on your game, that can present a fast-track way into the corporate world.
Relocating for a Corporate Job
Fact is, the majority of corporate employers are based in cities. Many employees relocate in order to secure a job, and it’s well worth considering this factor depending on where you live. Finding a corporate job in a smaller town can be challenging is not impossible. Although moving can present some challenges, too, it’s often necessary to consider the option when you’re wondering how to get a corporate job.
The sector you’re targeting can also influence where you choose to position yourself geographically. Some industries are concentrated in specific US cities or states. For example, Atlanta is home to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Emory University, so the area tends to have a higher proportion of healthcare and public health career opportunities and professionals. Likewise, Palo Alto and Silicon Valley are the birthplace of a myriad of US tech startups, and there’s a high proportion of technology careers on offer. The aforementioned New York City is famously home to Wall Street, and you’ll find a range of career opportunities in business and finance if you base yourself in the Big Apple.
How to Get a Corporate Job with Your Resume
Try to think of applying for a job in terms of matching what you offer with the things a potential employer is looking for. You can take that advice literally, too. It’s important to remember when you’re trying to figure out how to get a corporate job that these organizations are massive, the people in HR recruit for hundreds of varied positions and roles, and they don’t often know about the specifics of a job and its responsibilities. If the job ad specifically mentions the need for a ‘Talented communications specialist,’ then say you’re a talented communications specialist – in those exact words.
You should tailor your resume and cover letter every single time you apply for a corporate position. Don’t be afraid to talk yourself and your past experiences up, because almost everyone else will. Limit yourself to the truth, include anything relevant, and don’t become shy when it’s time to apply for a job. Your resume is essentially a marketing tool, and you’re the product – so be your most prominent advocate.
Be Visible Online – Consistently
Online presence is important nowadays; there’s just no avoiding that. When you’re putting yourself out there, you should be visible online when recruiters look to do their research – and they will if you make a shortlist for a job. Maintain clean, professional, and concise online profiles that match across different sites. Complete your LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed profiles, and make an effort when you do so. Always use the same professional photograph across the board. If you can’t afford one, get a friend to take one against a plain background, and wear suitable clothing when you sit for it.
Conclusion: Stay Employable and Stay Ready
When you’re looking for a job in the corporate world, you should always ensure you have a proper haircut or if you do have longer hair, that it’s not too unruly or messy. Be ready at all times to attend an interview. That means investing some money in professional clothing and keeping it ready to go – fitted and wrinkle-free. Keep things neutral but smart – and never too flashy.
When that interview invitation arrives, read through the job description thoroughly, and prepare yourself for direct questions on how you’ll be able to accomplish the responsibilities listed. You should prepare for taking a phone interview, be ready to attend an on-site interview, and with the rise of video-conferencing, taking video interviews are becoming increasingly common too.
Lastly, keep your confidence up. Remember that you’ve worked hard and done all the right things to get here. Having a chance to interview is a testament to those facts, so believe in your abilities and that you’re the right fit for this job, then show that to your potential employer!