So, you’ve just graduated from college and you're about to start a job-search. Will your efforts be successful, or will you shoot yourself in the foot during the process?
In July, 2011, statistics showed that the unemployment rate for bachelors degree graduates under the age of 25 was the highest on record; 13.1%. While it is easy to succumb to the doom and gloom portrayed by the media, there are jobs. It is a competitive market and those who are most strategic and proactive in their job-search are landing. Below are a few simple tips to stay ahead of the competition and to make sure that you do not sabotage your own efforts:
1. Be Professional – If you want to be taken seriously, act like you are serious. “Cutesy” e-mail addresses, voice mail messages, and broadcasting your weekend partying activities on your Facebook page ensures that a potential employer will question your maturity and professionalism.
2. Set realistic expectations – A college degree does not “entitle” you to a job within your field of interest. You need to start somewhere. Your first position may not be your dream job and like many generations before you, you may need to work your way up. Let potential employers know you understand this and you are willing to roll up your sleeves.
3. Get away from the computer – If you have convinced yourself that “there are no jobs out there” because you’ve spent hours each day looking at job boards, then you are VERY mistaken. 85% – 90% of jobs ARE NOT PUBLICIZED. They are part of the “hidden job market”. If you are relying on job boards, then you have not scratched the surface!
4. Network, network, network – Do you have a LinkedIn profile that is rich with keywords so employers can find you? LinkedIn is the #1 tool for employers to find talent. If you are not on LinkedIn with a profile that sets you up to be found, then you are not even in the game. Are you reaching out, making calls, attending networking events, passing out your calling card? Get active, and get noticed!
5. Do your homework and be prepared – Do you have an interview? Make sure that you walk in with a thorough understanding of the company, the position, the corporate culture, and who you are meeting. Show a potential employer that you are a serious player!
Michelle A. Riklan is a certified professional résumé writer, career coach, speaker, author, and employment interview consultant.
Michelle A. Riklan, ACRW, CPRW, CEIC
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