You’ve worked hard for the last 4 years in college, but you never could have expected that you would not have landed your dream job. Okay, any job. Maybe you changed your major halfway through college. Maybe you received a job offer, but it wasn’t what you wanted to do, or maybe if you’re really honest, you don’t interview all that well.
Believe me, I can relate. When I graduated college, my smart-as-hell roommate had FOUR job offers. In a recession year. Ugh…..And I had, you guessed it, ZERO. That was fun. Luckily, she was kind and didn’t rub it in too much. I did make her buy me a beer with her first paycheck though! So, like many, I moved in with my parents. For a year and a half. I did get a job during that time (which turned out to be a great stepping stone), but I didn’t exactly move out right away. My parents STILL say (20+ years later)…”That was a year and a half too long”….
I want to pay it forward and help you to LAND a great first job and minimize the time at your parents!
There’s H.O.P.E. for you yet.
Have a Game Plan
You’ve probably been encouraged most of your life to be open-minded and flexible. This is true! But when it comes to the job search, you will definitely want to streamline your efforts so you’re not just “throwing darts at a map”. Recruiters and hiring managers want to hire candidates who can articulate what they want to do and why they are the best candidate. Those who apply for an analyst job one day and a sales role the next, likely don’t know what they want to do and will be unable to convince a recruiter to hire him or her.
How do you focus your search?
- Pick one career path (or job type) and stick to it – at least during the time of the job search.
- Learn everything there is to know about that type of job and then corresponding companies. Learn the jargon for that field. Talk with those who already have the job you want.
- Create a spreadsheet tracking your conversations, emails, applications.
You can do this!
Open the Lines of Communication
When you are job searching, you must tell everyone! Your parents, their friends, your friends’ parents, should all know what it is you want to do and why you are the most qualified. Most available jobs will come from word of mouth, especially entry-level. Don’t be afraid to tell your network what you are looking for.
Here’s how to maximize these conversations:
- Schedule at least one coffee a week with someone that has the job you want or works for a company in which you are interested.
- Attend a monthly meeting for a relevant professional association. Get business cards and follow-up.
- Engage a career coach to help you perfect your elevator pitch.
Part-time or Temporary Jobs Lead to Full-Time Careers
You have probably always imagined that you would land a great full-time job right after graduation. Circumstances have changed and now you find yourself actively seeking work. Yes, the ideal situation is a full-time position with benefits. However, if you don’t find that opportunity right away, then consider part-time or temp-to-permanent.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Sign on with a few different temporary agencies and accept opportunities within your field of choice.
- Consider more than one company (maybe two part-time opportunities) so as to gain a broader exposure.
- Impress them with even the simplest of tasks.
You will not only build your resume, but increase your chance for more doors to open within the company!
Expand Your Network
LinkedIn is the greatest invention EVER. And no, I am not endorsed or employed by them. But seriously, what an incredible resource to find connections who work for companies that you are interested in or that you are actively pursuing. Ideally you have already created a profile while in school, but if not, start one TODAY!
Here are some helpful tips for your profile:
- Add new contacts daily. LinkedIn is more effective with a higher number of connections. Connect with professors, peers, recruiters you met at career fairs, and everyone you interview with.
- Join groups in your field such “the local advertising professional association” or “Society for Human Resources Management”. Please also visit the monthly meetings of these types of groups LIVE if they are available.
- Read relevant articles about the field so you can stay abreast of current trends facing the industry. The more you can ‘talk the talk’ in the interview, the more attractive you will be to an employer.
HOPE-fully these tips will light up your job search and give you confidence to LAND YOUR DREAM JOB. Happy Hunting! You can do this!