by Thomas Rogers, Career Counselor
It’s no secret that 2010 college graduates face a competitive job market. However, there is some good news; a recent NACE job outlook survey anticipates that hiring will be up this year by about 5%. And don’t forget, as I often tell anxious job-hunters, you aren’t looking for national job and employment statistics to improve; you are simply looking for a single job offer. This blog and the SJSU Career Center web site have plenty of information on the nuts and bolts of a job-hunt (resume-writing, interviewing, etc.) so I’d like to focus on the strategic piece of the job-search…Have a Plan:
1) Research. Identify potential employers and titles and find out everything you can about them. Remember the internet is great for research but talking with people directly is better.
2) Make a schedule and stick to it. Set daily or weekly goals for yourself. Determine how many resumes to send out and how many networking calls to make and follow-through.
3) Be Organized. Nothing says unprofessional like getting an employer call-back and not knowing what job they’re talking about. Keep track of everything!
4) Follow-up & follow-through. Contact employers after you send in a resume. Send thank-you cards after interviews. Don’t have any fresh networking leads? Have another conversation with an old contact. Stay on it.
Network, Network, Network
Career counselors advocate networking as the best use of time and energy during a job-hunt for good reason: roughly 4 out of 5 jobs are filled through referrals. If you want to be one of those people, you have to put yourself out there and make some connections. Start by crafting a concise statement about your experience, skills, and career goal. Then share this with friends, family, teachers, classmates, former co-workers, etc. Expand your network with referrals from these people and by joining discussion groups and professional organizations in your field. Put together a robust LinkedIn profile and manage your online presence carefully. Need more tips on networking? Check out this previous blog post on the topic!
Focus on Skills
Many recent college grads feel they are at a disadvantage in the job market compared with workers who have more experience. The reality is, you have much to offer employers – a solid academic foundation in your field, expertise in the latest methods and technologies, a willingness to learn – and you need to communicate these and other skills strategically. Your resume, cover letter, and any verbal exchange should be aimed at showcasing the unique skills you bring to the table. Never introduce yourself by talking about deficiencies, what you can’t do – always put your best foot forward and talk about what you can and will do.
Attitude is Everything
A wise career counselor once told me that 90% of a job-search is an internal process, it’s about managing emotions. Your job-search could take several months and will probably be an emotional rollercoaster. You will face some highs and lows on your journey to that golden job offer, the key is to keep yourself balanced. Recognize when you are feeling anxious and do something healthy to improve your mood: exercise, listen to music, talk with friends, etc. It’s also critical to eat right and get enough sleep as you want to be sharp when talking with potential employers. Keeping a positive, upbeat attitude about finding work is good for you and your loved ones…and ultimately will help get you an offer sooner.