Categorized | Graduation

Where Do College Grads Go?

Posted on 21 September 2008

So, you’ve graduated. You’ve done the college gig. You have sprayed the inboxes of numerous HR reps hoping for one measly call to come through. Yet, neither offers nor interviews lay on the horizon. Oh, what to do.

According to a University of Illinois study, sending out your resume cold rates eleventh in the results category. You’ve got to do more than craft an informative resume and charming cover letter. You’ve got to be resourceful and aggressive. Now, are you ready to get a job, or what?

Go Back To School
No, we’re not telling you to enroll again. We’re talking about the on-campus career center. All colleges and universities have them whether they’re called career centers, career placement offices, or career development centers. Whatever moniker they throw on this hidden college resource, you should find it, familiarize yourself with it, and make it your best friend.

First on the agenda is to make contact with a career counselor in the center. Make a great impression on them–they are basically the gatekeeper of all the jobs and internships that flow in and out of the office. Schedule a meeting to discuss what you’re looking for and really refine your search. Utilize your career counselor to notify you of openings in your desired industry, as well point you in the direction of networking opportunities. Also, don’t forget to check in frequently for new job openings; your contact won’t be thinking about your career as much as you are.

The Long-Distance Model
Use the friends and family plan. One of the best ways to get your tootsies in the door is with your connections. That same study that positioned cold resumes eleventh in job-hunting effectiveness, listed a job seekers connections as the second best way to get a job. Employee referrals rate high in securing you a seat at your ideal company.

Since most of us don’t have friends that run GE or AOL Time-Warner, you should be a bit craftier in your pursuits. Ask everyone you know for referrals (without badgering) and set up interviews. Even if a company isn’t hiring or that person isn’t in your particular division, schedule an informational meeting. You’ll get to learn more about the company, its atmosphere, and hopefully this meeting will put you on top of their list for the next job opening in your area. While this meeting isn’t a formal interview, be sure to bring a clean resume and follow up with the traditional thank you note.

Network Your Way In
The word “networking” is one of the cheesiest and most overused words in the business world. But, you know what? It’s used for a reason. No one gets anywhere in their industry without mingling with like-minded individuals. And, the best way to build up an enviable Rolodex is to go to every industry event and mixer you can attend.

Armed with fresh copies of your resume and a sparkling demeanor, go and mingle with the movers and shakers. Get info on companies, meet with company representatives, and set up interviews for a later date on their turf. Going to these events will expose you to the corporations and people in your desired industry, plus you’ll gain tons of knowledge about those companies that you’ll be interviewing with. Industry events are often overlooked as they take guts and personality–don’t let your shyness drag you down now.

Ride The Super-Highway
Sure, we said that the cold resume rated low on that University study. But, what do they know? We know tons of people that have been hired online either by posting their resume on a career site or by actively submitting their resume to corporate sites and, it takes the least amount of effort. So stay in your PJs and grab a latte, here are some quick tips to utilizing the Internet in your career quest:

  • Research. This is one of the best ways to bone-up on what the company is all about. Is their style playful or conservative? Do they list company openings? Do they have contact information for your division? What are you waiting for?
  • Post your resume. After your resume has become a thing of beauty, wallpaper the Internet with your stellar experience and education. Job listings. Daily search the different career sites for new openings in your area. Always adapting and personalizing your cover letter and resume to suit the position.
  • Assistance. Get career advice, like you’re doing now. Today, there is no better, or cheaper, way to get career information than online. Read articles and post queries on message boards. Chances are, someone has the answers to your latest predicament.

We didn’t say it would be easy. But if you take the initiative to get your career started, you’ll be headed in the right direction fast. As a new graduate, opportunities and resources really do abound–it’s up to you to take advantage of them.

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