Don’t undersell yourself in the job market

Rewon Shimray | Cartoonist

Job hunting is stressful, and it might seem like there’s really no way around that.

“Entry-level” positions just aren’t what they used to be, and for graduating seniors searching for the perfect position, it seems like the only jobs available are either part-time, unpaid internships or higher level management roles that require over five years of experience.

Sometimes, when seniors pluck up the courage to actually apply for these big-name jobs, they undersell themselves and their experience. While you might not have years in the field, chances are you’ve held internships or done exercises in class that can surely count as experience on an application.

Don’t devalue yourself just because your knowledge is not what employers traditionally ask for. This personal underselling can manifest itself in many different ways.

For example, we’ve already covered that the “experience” they’re looking for on job applications certainly includes your real-world experience. This is not to say that you should lie and say you’ve completed internships when you actually haven’t, but rather, that you should include what you’ve done in college on a resume or application.

Don’t let the fact that you might not have the experience level required deter you from applying for a job. The worst thing the employer could say is “no,” and then at least you’re getting your name out there and trying to make career moves, versus simply not applying at all because you didn’t fit all the qualifications.

Similarly, when you actually do receive a job offer, make sure you’re not underselling yourself when determining a salary with your employer. It’s important to do your research on the state that you’re accepting the offer in, and to be positive that the salary you’re agreeing upon is not only reasonable for the work you’ll be doing, but also makes sense given the cost-of-living in that state. Don’t be afraid to dream on the bigger side, because again, the worst thing an employer can say to you is “no.”

Here at the Lariat, we can’t say enough good things about Baylor’s Office of Career & Professional Development, and this subject in particular is no exception. Not only does CPD offer multiple resources to help students build resumes, practice interviews and find a job, but the office has also hosted Salary Negotiation Workshops in partnership with Baylor’s Women and Gender Studies program.

One final note about some of our favorite humans at Baylor –– CPD’s resources don’t end when you graduate. Baylor wants to help you find a job that you love, and that doesn’t just disappear if you’re not in Waco anymore.

Ultimately, we’d like to believe that there is a perfect job out there for everyone. Maybe you’ll find it right before graduation, or maybe you’ll wait around and apply for a few months or so before nailing something down. Either of those paths are OK, as long as you’re making sure to value yourself and your experience appropriately.