Q: I recently got my baccalaureate and am trying to enter the job market. Because I don’t have a lot of work experience, how can I make myself a visible candidate for a potential office job?
A: Congratulations on getting your bachelor’s degree! It is always exciting to enter the job market with a new degree, and although it can be difficult, new talent is something that all organizations are looking for in this market. I hope you have used your college or university’s career services offices, as these professionals are trained to help graduates and alumni further their careers. In addition to being extremely knowledgeable about career decision making, they have connections with business leaders and can provide introductions to hiring managers and human resources. If you haven’t used these resources, I encourage you to meet these talented professionals (yes, I’m biased. I’ve held this position before). Career service offices can give you the tools you need to be successful in your job search, including an expertly formulated resume to use at networking meetings and to clear Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). These professionals can also help you develop your LinkedIn profile, your interview techniques and your negotiation strategy.
Most new grads don’t have much work experience, but don’t overlook your part-time, summer, and educational experiences. These could include internships, student leadership positions, volunteer work, and travel in some cases. You should describe your experiences on your resume with an emphasis on accomplishments and contribution, not just responsibility. Did you put ice cream in cones? I bet you “provided high quality customer service in a fast-paced, family-run restaurant”. Think of your resume as a passport. You need it to talk to people about businesses and to network, but it’s not the ticket to get in. It’s the interview. You might think resumes get you the job, but regardless of a candidate’s experience, most people (about 70% to 80%) get their jobs through networking. You may think that looking at job boards (and I encourage you to do so) is the only way to find a job, but only a small percentage of professionals get a job this way. As a recent graduate, you have a network even if you don’t think it – your working friends (and their network members), former professors and family members, their friends and employers. Reaching out to these people is key to developing a network of contacts who might be able to introduce you to a hiring manager or HR representative who will ultimately bring you closer to the job you want and the skills you need. the business needs.
To be proactive, make a list of organizations you want to learn more about and might want to work for. Today, organizations are looking for professionals with hard skills (IT, finance, marketing, writing) and powerful skills (previously called soft skills), such as communication and your ability to deal with people (customers or prospects). All of these abilities are what employers are currently hiring for, so be sure to highlight these skills on your resume. As a new graduate, don’t be discouraged if you lack certain skills, it’s normal. However, now is the time to create an ongoing commitment to your professional development. This could mean taking an online course on writing or spending time honing your ability to communicate effectively with others.
New grads have an extensive library of materials on job search and job performance, and two books come to mind when it comes to employment after graduation. A being Do not wear flip flops to your interview by Dr. Paul Powers (Don’t Wear Flip Flops to Your Interview by Dr. Paul Powers | Audiobook | Audible.com). This book offers a strategic look at the job search process with pragmatism and humor. Do not wear flip flops to your interview, “…walks you through every crucial step of your job search, from getting interviews and answering those really tricky questions to negotiating the best deal possible.” Another great read is by Gorick Ng The unspoken rules (The unspoken rules). Gorick Ng is a career counselor at Harvard, and his book is dedicated to “helping first-generation professionals accelerate their careers.” Both of these resources will serve you well and their advice has proven to lead to success.
Ultimately, becoming a networking expert and using all the job search tools at your disposal will help you land the opportunity you want. Having a basic knowledge of technology, showcasing yourself and your skills, sharpening your professional presence are all key steps to landing a job. While your class work may get done, your homework may not. Now is the time to really grow yourself and your network.
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