In today’s job market, college graduates have a tough time. The words “HIRE ME” taped on the top of the mortarboard have become a cliché indicator of the desperation of today’s graduates to stand out.
Many colleges have job searching courses that help you build resumes and extol the virtues of the book, What Color Is Your Parachute? If you missed the course, here a few tips to help you:
1. Create an online presence
It is now common practice for employers to run Internet searches on potential job candidates. Having a profile on networking sites such as Linked In can help employers find you, or add credibility to an existing application. You may also put yourself out there with a professional blog. Blog about your industry and achievements as they occur. If you’re in a creative field like graphic design or photography, display it.
Forbes Magazine suggests if you don’t have a career focus, blog about things that interest you, but put you in a positive light. Creating a profile on temp and employment agency websites like GradWeb are also great ways to get yourself noticed.
2. Take an extra internship
You probably did an internship as part of your degree plan, but there is nothing wrong with doing a post-collegiate internship. If you graduate with no options available, taking an unpaid internship may help you refresh your job skills and build new contacts. Not to mention, an internship at a recognizable name can add new life to your resume.
3. Join a professional group
Professional groups offer opportunities to meet with other industry professionals and keep on top of the industry. Many colleges have chapters or registration drives. It’s not who you know anymore that counts. It’s who knows you. Getting your name out there and meeting other professionals can get your resume past the slush pile, and into the right hands.
4. Brush up your resume and cover letter
If you didn’t create a resume before you graduated, take a resume class or use your school’s college and career center. After you have one, ask your professors to look over it and offer any suggestions. If you no longer have access to your school’s resources, many community colleges will offer resume critiques for free. Always get your first resume critiqued.
5. Use your college and career center
Your college and career center exists to help you. Use them for all they all worth. Talk to the counselors. Attend job fairs. Use their employment and interview tips. At some schools, the career center can connect you with successful alumni willing to offer advice.
6. Be willing to start low
Many college graduates hit the job market with stars in their eyes, thinking the world is open for their dream career. It’s important to dream big. But, more than likely, you won’t get that dream job right away. Be willing to start low. Of course, don’t stay low. But, working as a secretary in a company where you want to be an advertising executive, can get you in the door. Or, starting your own advertising company, while continuing your part-time college job can add open doors that your diploma wouldn’t.
7. When all else fails… volunteer
This advice goes for any job search. Being out of work for a while can have adverse psychological effects. You may feel unproductive, and your self-esteem and confidence may begin to wane. As the days wear on, and the job ads look grim, gloom and despair may set in.
Volunteering anywhere, for a few hours a week, can help boost your self-image and add some productivity and life to your daily routine. This boost can bring the shine back to your interview skills, and give you the motivation to keep searching. It may also unwittingly bring you across the right people, or open doors you hadn’t even considered.
Your career can take you anywhere. Don’t let it be limited to where you think it might go, otherwise you will miss out on the joy of the journey. Or, you will spend years frustrated that it didn’t go exactly like you planned. Now, more than ever, it is important for graduates to dream up new ideas and possibilities and self-employment is on the rise. Don’t be afraid to chase your dream. As a young college graduate, it may be the only time you can.
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
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