First the good news. According to a recently released Q-2 employment outlook survey of US companies, 77% of employers are optimistic and expect hiring to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021.
The challenge for new grads will be to compete with those in the job market who have degrees and experience. Here are my recommendations for a successful launch.
Start your job search early. People often underestimate the length of time it takes to find a job. Triple the amount of time you think it will take and you will be close to the mark.
Spend the time it takes to create a professional resume and LinkedIn profile. If you aren’t sure how to do this, get help from a career coach.
You (or your parents) have spent a bundle on your education. Don’t nickel and dime yourself into a longer than necessary job search because your tools are inferior. A strong resume and LinkedIn profile can open doors.
Of course, you must deliver the goods during the interview; taking the time to create a solid resume will prepare you to do just that!
Line up your references now. Share your resume and LinkedIn profile with them. Ask them to jot down three or four sentences that describe their experience working or interacting with you. Compile the statements on one reference sheet complete with each person’s name and contact information. Include your name and contact information in a header at the top that matches the header on your resume. Now you have a sales tool that you can email or hand to hiring managers.
Use your network. That has never been more important than today. If you have been working in the industry while pursuing your degree you have both experience and contacts. Highlight your experience and use your contacts to help you get in front of decision-makers. Don’t be shy about asking for advice, insight, and introductions.
Be prepared to interview on Zoom and in-person. Dress for Zoom interviews with the same care you would for a face-to-face interview. I recommend dressing one level up from the position for which you are applying.
Design a value-add leave-behind. This marketing tool should showcase what you can do for the organization. The specifics vary depending upon your job target. It may be a short article on an industry-related topic, a list of five product marketing ideas, or suggestions for increasing traffic to the company’s website. Whatever you create, it must be relevant, thoughtful and reflect an appropriate amount of time and effort. Include your name, date, and contact information.
Create a job search game plan and stick to it, especially when the road ahead looks bleak. Candidates often devote too little time to their search, spend too much time applying online and don’t allocate enough time for connecting with and building their network. As a result, they “feel” like they are doing a lot but make very little progress, much like a squirrel running on a wheel in a cage. There is a lot of activity but very little return on investment.
Finally, when you get the offer, negotiate! Get into the habit of negotiating every job, raise and promotion. Doing so will positively impact your self-esteem and wallet over the course or your career.
©2021 Mary Jeanne Vincent. All rights reserved.