The Class of 2011 has graduated and is ready to make its mark on the world. Unfortunately, the diploma they’ve spent the last several years working so hard for doesn’t come with instructions on landing that all important first job.
And let’s face it – the job market isn’t enjoying the big rebound we’d all hoped for by now. So what’s a new grad to do?
Something is Better than Nothing but Nothing Isn’t All Bad
Contrary to what some may tell you – experience really does matter. Now, there’s a fine line to walk here. Yes, real-world experience in your chosen field will definitely give you the edge over someone who has none. Even if your work experience isn’t in your field, you’re still going to have a leg up on your competition.
But, if you spent all of your time reading and studying and no time in any type of organized work environment, you’re going to have to be ready to sell yourself to your potential employer.
Selling yourself successfully comes from honing those all-important interview skills and projecting enough confidence to help get that job. Honing these skills isn’t as difficult as it seems. Practice with a friend or spouse until the whole process runs smoothly. You can also enlist the help of a career resource center.
Keep in mind that eachis conducted a little differently, but practicing the process will go a long way in helping to calm frazzled nerves.
It’s Never Too Soon To Start
You don’t have to wait until you have your diploma in hand to begin searching for jobs. In fact, the earlier you start, the more flexibility you will have through your search.
There are some things to consider before you begin flipping through the classified – things that are important to you when considering a potential employer. Things like:
Are you more interested in higher pay or a more flexible schedule? Is a good benefits package better than a higher salary?What about location? Are you willing to face a long commute if necessary?Talk, Talk, Talk
To find the job of your dreams you need to be ready to talk. Talk to your contacts. Talk to the people who are already working in your chosen field. Talk to your guidance counselor. Does your school offer job placement assistance? Talk to them, too.
Networking plays a key role in landing the job you’re looking for, so don’t limit yourself to scouring the classified ads in your local newspaper.
Are you using social media to gain more exposure for your skills and experience? It’s a good idea to create a LinkedIn profile to broadcast your skills to thousands of potential employers at once.
A bonus tip to keep in mind: More and more employers are looking at the social networks, not only to find talent but to see what their potential employees are like outside of work. That doesn’t mean not to go to sites like Facebook to catch up with old friends, but refrain from posting pictures that your mom would be ashamed of.
Some Final Tips
The best jobs are going to go to the ones who search longer and harder and aren’t afraid to network early on. Here are just a few other tips:
Use your college resource center. If your school doesn’t have one, there are plenty of job resource centers that can help you. Attend job fairs and have plenty of your up-to-date resume on hand. Before you get to your interview, do your homework. Research the company you’ve applied to and be ready to speak intelligently with your interviewer about how you will fit in. Your resume can make or break your chances of getting your foot in the door. A messy resume with typos and grammatical errors are going to end up in the round file. If resume writing isn’t your strong point, it’s worth the investment to have your resume professionally done. Once you’ve landed the job you’ve worked so hard for, be sure to give it your best effort. Even if it’s not the job of your dreams, even if it’s only a stepping stone to help you move up the ladder of success, you should always do your best. Employers, especially those in your field, talk with one another and your performance, good or bad, will be discussed as you climb your way up the corporate ladder.