11 Job Search Commandments For College Grads

I love working with recent grads in their job search. I think there are two reasons why: 1.) After 12 years in school, they are experts at learning - which makes teaching them easier. They’re like sponges. They learn and do. They have no bad job search habits, so teaching them is fun because I get to see their reaction when they get positive results for the first time. 2.) I graduated in the last recession - and still remember how painful looking for my first job felt.


Job Search For College Grads Stinks Right Now

The outlook for the current batch of graduates is terrible. A recent article on Forbes had so many saddening statistics about the jobless rate of college students and the worthlessness of their degrees that I actually couldn’t finish reading it. (You can try to read it here if you have the stomach.) I already knew things were bad. I deal with it on a regular basis when helping new grads find jobs. In fact, I can read their minds. That’s because after graduation, there are 4 things that make graduates really, really mad. My job is to help them get past the anger and get hired. If you know a college grad, please pass these 11 job search commandments on to them. They are laws to live by in the next six months as they embark on their next big challenge: Landing a job.

#1 - I Will Not Compare Myself To My Friends

No two graduates are the same. Each has different skills, abilities, needs, and wants. Just because your friend gets a new job, doesn’t mean he or she is better than you. Keep the blinders on and focus on your search, not theirs. Jealousy is a useless emotion that derails a job search. Besides, they might be able to help you get a job. It’s in your best interest to be genuinely happy for them!

#2 - I Will Not Take The Summer Off

Don’t delay your job search. Employers see it as acting entitled and lazy. Get in gear - right now! Trust me, you aren’t going to find a job in the next two weeks. And, job search isn’t an 8-hour/day gig. Carve out time every day to work on your job search and you’ll still have plenty of time to enjoy the summer. Before the temperature cools down, turn your job search success up! It's about working smart, like with our experts at CareerHMO.   Cut Your Job Search In Half  

#3 - I Will Not Spend Weeks Designing My Resume

Your resume isn’t going to get you the job, networking is. Don’t waste time trying to make your resume perfect. At this stage in your career, there just isn’t that much you can put on it to impress employers. The “wow” factor will come from you being smart, articulate, and engaging - which doesn’t come through on paper. You have to meet people to make that happen.

#4 - I Will Learn To Network... Fast!

Networking is the most powerful way to get hired. Yet, most recent grads assume because they’ve never worked, they have no one to network with. Wrong! People love helping recent grads. Learn to “informational interview” and set up as many as you can. The sooner you learn to network, the sooner you get hired.

#5 - I Will Not Expect Too Much Of My First Job

Most grads feel they’re overqualified for many of the entry-level jobs posted. However, most employers feel you’re not. The hard reality is you don’t have the work experience for anything but entry-level jobs. The sooner you take an entry-level job and work at it for six months, the sooner you can start applying to the more exciting jobs that are currently out of your reach.

#6 - I Will Remember That EVERY Job Is Temporary

While the entry-level job you take will not be your dream job, that’s okay because you won’t be there very long. You’ll either, A) excel in the job and get promoted. Or, B) get experience and be able to apply for a better job. #6 is our mantra, which is why you always have to improve. Whether you're looking for your first job or just a new one, we have a couple of programs through CareerHMO that could help you.   Check Out JSAP & CAP  

#7 - I Will Study Up On Workplace Professionalism As Much As I Can

The #1 complaint corporate America has about recent grads is their perceived lack of professionalism. Read up on attire, attitude, verbal communication style, and so on. The more prepared you are, the better the first (and lasting) impression you’ll make.

#8 - I Will Be Very Careful In My Written Communication Style

The #2 complaint corporate America has about recent grads is their poor written communication skills. Spelling, grammar, and so on. Be very careful when writing cover letters, e-mails, and any other written word related to your job search. One typo can get you disqualified!

#9 - I Will Expect Rejection - A Lot Of It

You’ll apply to dozens (or more!) jobs and have as many as ten interviews before getting an offer. There is a learning curve to getting hired, and it happens with practice. Expect to get passed over for jobs and learn to cope with the rejection. The sooner you can pick yourself up and get back to the job search, the sooner you’ll get another interview and eventually an offer.

#10 - I Will Become A “Professional” User Of Social Media

For the last four years, social media has been used for your enjoyment. Now, it’s time to use it for job search. Clean up the Facebook page, get yourself set up on LinkedIn, and study how people are using Twitter to meet hiring managers. Use social media to build an online presence that when searched by a recruiter (and trust us, they will look you up online), what they’ll find is a recent grad who’s clearly ready to enter the workforce. A strong social media presence can literally land you the job interview. Engage in best practices for social media to advance your career.   Get An Assessment Of Your Personal Brand  

#11 - I Will Not Brag About My New Job When I Finally Get It

Getting your first job will be thrilling. I mean over-the-top incredible. That being said, refrain from posting the good news all over the internet and making it your first topic of conversation with friends. Why? Go back to Commandment #1 and remember you’ll be surrounded by people who haven’t gotten their first job and will be jealous. Be the bigger person and keep a low profile on the new gig. Of course, if asked, you can share the good news, but do your best to redirect the conversation after that. Show how humble you are. You just never know... at some future date, that person could remember your gracious attitude and be willing to help you get your next job because of it. The friends you make now will be the colleagues you network with in the future. Treat them kindly and it will pay off in the long-run. Follow the commandments above and you’ll find your job search will be less painful and more effective. And, keep this list handy as a reminder you will make it through - you can do this! PS. If you feel you need more help, then I encourage you to sign up for my new, free video series where I outline the “4 Phases to Getting Hired After College.” Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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