After finishing college, getting a job is what every graduate has in mind. Fresh graduates have long been taught that finding success in the job market is a walk in the park, due to the abundance of job opportunities for those with college degrees. In reality, however, most college graduates today face tremendous difficulty in finding suitable employment. No one wishes to become either unemployed or underemployed. Unfortunately, the poor economy makes for a daunting job hunt.
According to an article in the New York Times, a college diploma has become the new high school diploma. What does this mean? To put it simply, just like the dollar, a four-year college degree is no longer worth what it used to be. Still, you should not lose hope. Do not see your years of sacrifices and efforts at university as a waste.
Being jobless after graduation is frustrating, but you’re not entirely out of luck. Instead of stressing, utilize the time to improve the total package you bring to the workforce:
1. Be hopeful and NOT insecure.
Update your résumé, read interview tips, and research the skills required for your dream job. Competition is fierce in a tight job market glutted with applicants. Many have good educations and high GPAs. Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by that. Today’s corporate mentality is more concerned with applicant skill sets. If you truly want to get hired, then improve your résumé and cover letter and polish your interview presentation and deliver answers with confidence.
2. Flexibility is the trend.
For a faster hire and better salary, highlight your marketable skills. Companies don’t want just another college graduate. They prefer well-rounded people who will exceed their professional expectations and drive their business to the next level and beyond. As a freshly minted grad, marketable skills are essential to career success.
3. Internships can be your advantage.
Look for internships. If you cannot be a paid intern then consider taking on volunteer work. Either type can help you gain real world experience. Not everyone wants to work for free, but your internship experience can greatly benefit your future career. Many companies these days prefer hiring former interns over those with no work experience whatsoever.
4. Network to find a mentor.
Reconnect with old friends, colleagues, and classmates. Many jobs have resulted from other people referring friends to their companies. Another way about this is to find a professional mentor who can give you sound career advice. This could be a former professor or a retired executive with long-term industry experience. A good way to learn more about your prospective job is through communicating with the people who are already successful in the field.
5. Leverage social media.
Even if you book a couple of job interviews, continue searching online and attend career fairs. LinkedIN and Viadeo are social networking sites designed for professionals seeking job opportunities. Join the available communities and post actively in the conversations. Many industries recruit employees through social networking sites. It is easy to build relationships there with other professionals and get useful tips on how to get a job that fits your skills. Do not limit yourself to a particular industry or job title.
6. Live within your means.
If you’re still financially supported by your parents, don’t overspend. Many graduates choose to move back home with their parents while looking for a job, due to the high cost of living. You have to practice living within your means until you get hired and become a self-sufficient adult.
7. Giving up is not an option.
Do not wait for opportunities, create them. This is valuable advice from my own mentor. If you fail, don’t lock yourself in your room and have a pity party. Stand up and keep looking. You have to be determined in the pursuit of employment.