Get Hired Before Graduation

Learn how to transition from college to career successfully.


I know you're nervous about the unemployment numbers. Eventually, the safe nest of higher ed, while cozy for now, will come to an end—and then what?

As an intro to this column, I'd like to introduce myself. I'm Emily Bennington and I help new grads transition from college to career. Frankly, this became my life's work only after I failed so miserably at it myself. Even my first boss (who later became my coauthor) described me in an interview as "a bit of a mess" as a rookie.

True, I showed up at work (often late) with wet hair. I thought knee-high patent leather boots were appropriate office attire. Worst of all, I was competitive with colleagues for big assignments.

I was a mess but, like millions before and since, it's because I graduated without understanding a fundamental rule of success: To build an extraordinary career, you have to be in an extraordinary state. In other words, true accomplishment—whether it be finding a job despite record unemployment or losing the "freshman 15" that's now a "junior 25"—comes from getting your mind right, then aligning your actions with what you really want.

[Read about differing views on the value of a college degree.]

These are the themes we'll explore in this blog and, while I guarantee the lessons you'll learn will help you find a job, my hope for you is much deeper. (After all, I got a job after graduation but it didn't stop me from falling on my face.) My goal is to give you the tools you need to succeed in life—both when you fly out of the nest and right in this very moment.

Every other week in this column, I'm going to show you how to be strong mentally and physically and how to use this newfound strength to wow yourself and your employer. Some of what I'll share with you I learned from experience, and some I learned through great teachers both past and present.

As you can see, this is way more than a few tips and tricks on getting ahead. This is the start of a radical shift in perception and learning success from the inside out. Recession or not, there's always a market for strong, talented people.

Once you start to understand that—once you really start to "get it"—I promise you won't be freaked out about unemployment numbers because you'll be living in a state of abundance, seeing what is possible for yourself versus what isn't. And that doesn't change regardless of what the Dow says.

[See how higher education affects lifetime salary.]

Bob Bowman, who coached Michael Phelps to his history-making eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, once said, "Explanations are explanations, promises are promises, and excuses are excuses, but only performance is reality." I hope you'll remember that because it's a good reminder that your future—everything you're working for right now—is performance-based, not market-based.

So in this blog we're not going to get bogged down in dire stats, economic predictions, and all of the things that are outside your control. These are akin to "explanations, promises, and excuses."

Instead, on this journey we're going to focus on what is clearly inside your control: creating a strong mind, a strong body, and strong results.

After all, that's what champions do. Welcome aboard.