There is no question that today’s college graduate’s job search is not their parent’s job search from back in the day.
Jane Horowitz, founder of Chicago-based MoreThanAResume.com and a career coach who specializes in helping college graduates land their first professional job, offers important insights to improve their chances as well as real-life success stories.
The first job shouldn’t necessarily predicate a career. Take the first few years out of college to explore and experiment with work.
All the thinking in the world and self-induced pressure, plus pressure from family and others, didn’t help Northwestern University art history major Jessy figure out her career path. Taking on several different professional jobs did. Jessy interned at a public relations agency, worked at an event production company and then at a brand communication firm. With each position, Jessy developed valuable skills and importantly, identified what she did and did not want from her career. Three years after graduation, Jessy launched her career in the political arena as a staff associate on the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Underemployment doesn’t have to be bad employment. Many of today’s college graduates will work at jobs they are overqualified for or they will work part-time.
While survival jobs meant to give recent grads a year or two of fun send a bad signal to prospective employers, Hannah patched together jobs at Apple and Niketown stores that enabled her to develop valuable skills that enhanced her resume. The result? Hannah leveraged her bachelor of arts degree in exercise and sports science, her work experience at leading retailers and her passion for sports to land a full-time job in the visual merchandising and marketing group for Sports Authority.
Think rifle shot vs. machine gun. Landing a job is a numbers game, but more is not better. Instead of becoming lost among the thousands of resumes submitted for every opening posted on job boards, college grads need a much more strategic and targeted approach.
Barbara, with a master’s degree in special education from Miami University, focused on identifying just a handful of potential schools that met her criteria for employment, and then created a plan to maximize her exposure to those schools at a job fair. Barbara landed her dream job within three weeks.
Your job search may be the toughest job you’ll ever have.
Do what others fail to do!
Marvin Walberg is a job-search coach based in Birmingham, Ala. For contact information, see marvin-walberg.com.