Categorized | Job Hunting

Effective job strategies for recent graduates

Posted on 24 November 2008

Thousands of new graduates are now pounding the pavement looking for their first job. With all the recent layoffs, will they have much success?

According to the latest report from webmergers.com, 55 Internet companies shut down in April 2001, compared to only one dot-com shutdown in April 2000. Since January 2001, 435 Internet companies have folded. However, the layoffs aren’t only affecting the dot-com sector. Many non-Internet companies are also scaling down their workforces. Peter Vogt, President of Career Planning Resources and producer of The Career Services Kiva (www.careerserviceskiva.com), a comprehensive news and information web site for college and university career services professionals, believes employers may increasingly decide not to fill open positions, especially if the economy continues on its apparent downturn.

“This could hurt new grads in that many of those open positions might be entry-level positions or positions deemed non-essential, which often turn out to be the ones new grads have the best shot at,” Vogt said.

Talk to family, friends, and acquaintances—especially well-connected acquaintances like clergy, attorneys, and others.

He is, however, optimistic that it be may too early to tell how the slowing economy will ultimately affect new college graduates. Vogt encourages new grads not to get complacent about their job searches. This is especially important considering the increased competition from recently laid off workers. Vogt believes that there will be more competition, especially in the technology and dot-com sector.

“I’m hearing more and more from people who graduated, say, a year or two ago and who now find themselves the victims of layoffs. These people haven’t accumulated much professional experience yet, and so they’ll likely be competing with brand new graduates for some entry-level jobs—and, in some cases, one-step-above-entry-level jobs,” Vogt said.

Seek Intelligent Counsel
Never assume there is a job out there with your name on it. Employers care about their bottom line and how you can help them. In order to answer that question, have your resume evaluated by a career counselor. They will help you to find your strengths and how you can fill a prospective employer’s need.

Dawn Rosenburg McKay, an About.com Guide for the Career Planning Site, believes students need to use all resources at their disposal.

“You have to be proactive about this (your job search). Use all avenues available to you—your college’s career services office, online/print job listings, and members of your network.” McKay said. “Make sure you have the best resume you can have—with a clear objective on each one you send out (this objective can change depending on the job for which you’re applying). Prepare for job interviews so you can present yourself well.”

Vogt gives the following tips for working with a career counselor:

If you are out of school, look into working with a private-practice career counselor, a counselor at a local community college or technical school, or a counselor at a local workforce development center. If you are a graduate who is geographically distant from your old school, see if you can work with a career counselor from a nearby college or university.

A counselor can evaluate your skills with assessment tools such as Strong Interest Inventory Campbell Interest and Skills Survey, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and computerized career guidance programs like ACT Discover, and SIGI+.

If you don’t want to work with a career counselor, there are many resources available to you. What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles is an excellent resource.

If All Else Fails
Graduation has come and gone and you don’t have a job lined up. What do you do now? Vogt recommends earnestly searching for a job and using a variety of job-hunting strategies.

“It’s too easy to use only fairly low-percentage strategies like responding to classified ads or sending out ‘cold’ resumes,” he says. “Go ahead and use those strategies, of course, but understand that they can’t be your ONLY strategies.

Here are some strategies he recommends:

  • Talk to people who work in your chosen field.
  • Join a local professional group whose members work in your chosen field.
  • Talk to family, friends, and acquaintances—especially well-connected acquaintances like clergy, attorneys, and others.
  • Consider doing an internship or a co-op after you’ve graduated. Consider temp work. By temping, you can gain additional experience and get to know people working in various companies.

Vogt says that research has shown again and again that most jobs are landed through these types of networking efforts.

Keep Up Your Spirits
Vogt has some final encouraging thoughts and advice.

“When you’re down and not feeling good about yourself, it tends to come across in your demeanor and the way you carry and present yourself to employers. If employers think that YOU don’t feel good about yourself, why should they feel good enough about you to hire you?” he said. He recommends exercising, getting together with friends, reading, writing in a journal, or going fishing as ways to maintain healthy self-esteem and life balance.

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