Career Resources

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Five simple steps to move you forward in your job search

It's that time of year again...the time of year when I feel compelled to give a pep talk to all of the recent grads out there who haven't landed a job yet.  I'm sure you just loved answering all those annoying questions at your graduation party from friends and relatives.  "So, you got a job yet?" or "What are you going to do now? or "Do you think all that tuition you paid was worth it?"

Many recent grads see it as a sign of failure that they haven't landed a job by graduation. However, this is far from the truth.  In fact, the college rankings journals such as BusinessWeek don't even require employment statistics for each graduating class until the end of November, realizing that it can take three to six months to land a job. Hopefully, this bit of information will give you with the boost of encouragement you need to move forward.

The things is, however, you're not going to get a job by laying on the beach all day, or idling away the hours on Facebook, or by working a ton of overtime hours at the job you had in high school.  These strategies will not land you a job.  So, what will land you a job?  Read on to find out.

Stop clicking 'send' 
How easy (and gratifying) it can be to sit at your laptop and click 'send' as you apply for positions you find online.  Since it's so easy to do, think about just how many other recent college grads are doing exactly the same thing. Scary, huh? Well, there's a solution.  Identify the companies you want to work at and find alums from your school who work there.  Then have a conversation with them over coffee and impress them with how eager you are to work at their company and break into your field. By the way, companies love it when prospective employees demonstrate passion for working at their company.

Create your destiny
Get an internship at your dream company. This is a great idea for several reasons.  It gets you up and out of the house, allows you to hone your professional skills, keeps you current in your field AND could possibly lead to a full-time offer if you "wow" them with your amazing abilities.  If your dream company doesn't have any posted internships, create an internship proposal for them.

Go for the bronze

I think students put way too much pressure on themselves to land the gold medal in their first job out of college.  Remember that your first job is only one out of many that you will have over the course of your lifetime.  You may have to, in some cases, settle for something less than your dream job.  Remember, a job is better than no job.  But you may end up loving a job that you thought was "less than."  At the very least, you'll be honing your skills and building your resume, making you a more marketable candidate in the future.

Boost your ego

Think about the things that will boost your confidence, and then do them.  It might be having lunch with your favorite high school teacher or coach who thought you walked on water.  Or it might be challenging yourself at the gym to achieve new workout goals.  You could also boost your confidence by taking a course in a subject you love, and excelling in it.

Reward yourself
Establish daily and weekly goals for yourself that move you toward your dream job and put them in your planner, if you have one.  By setting and meeting goals, you'll not only feel good about yourself but you won't feel so guilty when you do decide to go to the beach...after you've completed your job search activities. Find other ways to reward yourself after you accomplish each of your goals.

Lastly, avoid the doomsayers who spin horrid tales of woe about the dismal employment situation - they will only defeat your spirit.  I'm not denying that it's tough to get a job, particularly in certain industries, in uncertain times.  However, as with most things in life, it's the students who keep their eye on the prize that emerge victorious.

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