Graduation season is upon us once again and the scenario for new college grads holds both good news and not so good news. The upside: According to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers will be hiring nearly 20% more college grads in 2011 than they did last year. This anticipated jump in hiring would be the best since 2007. But hold onto your hats. The rosy hiring outlook will be overshadowed by an increasingly competitive job market. Consider the fact that 2011 grads will be competing with their 2010 and 2009 counterparts who have yet to secure their first job. New college graduates will be facing what could be the most challenging assignment so far…..Finding Work. So what should you focus on?
Job Search Tips for New College Grads:
1. Don’t Get Fixated on the Perfect First Job. While we may be well on the other side of the recession, employers, who have been used to doing more with less, are increasingly picky when it comes to hiring. The point is, you need to remain flexible. Your first job may not be related to your career field. It may be a part time job or even an unpaid internship or a volunteer job where you can get your foot in the door. Down the road, employers will be more impressed if you demonstrate active involvement in something rather than saying you spent your time looking for work.
2. Get Organized and Have a Plan for Your Job Search. Set up a filing system in Word or Excel where you can organize job postings, companies you have applied to, networking contacts, etc. It is critical that you be able to easily access information when an employer calls you for a telephone interview. There is nothing more frustrating to be caught off guard when an employer calls and you have no clue who they are.
3. The Most Qualified Don’t Always Get Hired. What will set you apart from your competition is your ability to communicate. According to NACE, employers felt the most important trait they wanted to see in job candidates was the ability to verbally communicate with individuals both inside and outside the organization. Communication skills outranked computer skills, analytical skills and technical skills.
4. Network with Friends and Family. Don’t rely exclusively on job boards and career fairs. It’s not what you know but who you know. Networking is your most effective tool to access the hidden job market which makes up 80% of jobs filled every year. Your closest circle of contacts for potential employers starts with the friends of your parents. Remember the”1:50 Principal”. Everyone knows at least 50 other people from various parts of their life who could lead them to their next career opportunity. Don’t be shy about your job search intentions. Get the word out to everyone you know!
5. Use Social Media with Care. Beware of digital dirt. If you have a My Space or Facebook account remember that employers use these internet tools frequently to conduct background checks on potential candidates. So you either need to restrict access on these accounts to those you invite into your network or clean up your profile.
6. Have a Clear Career Objective. It is absolutely essential that you know what your career objective is and be able to articulate this in your resume, cover letter and during the job interview. Remember, it is not the employer’s responsibility to figure out what you want to do. If you leave it up to them your chances of getting hired are next to none.
Having fun in the job search is also important. Remember to enjoy the journey. And for additional resources for new college grads check out www.newgradlife.com. Good luck in your job search! Follow us on Twitter.