Job Advice for the New Grad

November 11th, 2011

If you’re a recent college graduate, you don’t need anyone telling you it’s a tough job market out there. Positions are limited, many companies aren’t hiring as much as they used, others are being far more selective than they were in the past. That’s the bad news. The good news is, there’s plenty you can do to make yourself appealing to employers and now, diploma in hand, there’s no better time to start.

What’s your profile? It’s time to cast aside the jokes and silly messages on Facebook and Twitter–you know, the ones with photos of you at a wild party or wearing an outfit from the Twilight Saga for Halloween. These days, employers routinely check out job candidates’ online profiles. They want to know what you’re up to, how you conduct yourself in public, whether you’re serious about your career objectives or not. Take down any photos or status updates that present you in a less-than-favorable light.

Polish your resume. This is your calling card, so make it work for you. Keep it short and simple, but don’t leave out the essentials (education, work experience). At the same time, this is no place to be modest. Talk about the skills and achievements that set you apart from others, in and out of the classroom.

Stay busy. It may take time finding a full-time job, so think about what else you can be doing. Look for internships in fields you’re interested in. Volunteer with local civic groups or non-profit organizations. Not only does this demonstrate to potential employers that you’re not the “sit at home and stare at the walls” type, but it’s a great way to pick up additional skills.

Always be networking. Now is the time to graduate from playing with social media to making it work for you. LinkedIn, Facebook and other sites are ideal places to build a community of contacts, including people beyond the circle of individuals you know. If you’re interested in a particular company, check out its website (especially the “About Us” page) to see if you know anyone there. Or take a chance and reach out to someone on the team. In the non-virtual world, ask anyone you know about possible job openings. This includes friends, family, your college alumni, the guy you talk to at the gym. You never know where a referral might come from.

Look good, feel good, make a good impression. No matter how smart and qualified you think you are, if you come across as poorly dressed and ill-mannered, you won’t get hired. Grooming is vitally important, as are such simple things as the way you speak. Don’t use words like “like” or “you know.” Eliminate all “uh’s” from your vocabulary. Be friendly. Make yourself interesting. That’s the only way to make good on that all-important first impression.

Set goals. For a daily activity, set target goals of either sending out a specific number of resumes or filling out a set number of job applications. If you’ve set your sights only on the big companies, think about smaller businesses where there might be more opportunities. Don’t look for the “perfect job” because, chances are, it’s not out there. And give some thought to doing temp work, a great way to earn money while building new skills and acquiring new contacts.

The expert career advisors at Meador Staffing can help you take the step from college grad to new hire, in Houston, Austin and throughout Texas.

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