12 Tips for College Grads on the Job Search
We all know that the job market coming out of college is tough.
We also know someone who has had to move back in with their parents because they couldn’t get a job after college, right?
You’ve probably seen the statistic from the Associated Press that 53.6 percent of college graduates under 25 are underemployed or unemployed.
But this doesn’t have to be you!
If roughly 47 percent of people are getting good jobs out of college, that means it can be done! And in today’s post, I’m going to share with you exactly what you need to do to make sure you’re in the magic 47 percent.
I’ve helped dozens of different college graduates get jobs in what’s been called “the worst economy since the great stock market crash,” and you can be the next — if you use these tips!
1. Pick a Specific Job You Want and a Few Specific Companies
The biggest mistake most recent grads make is falling into the idea that they should take any job they can get, so they apply for EVERY job. It’s better to do a fantastic job applying and following up with a few specific companies.
2. Create a Non-Traditional Resume.
One of the best ways to get attention — depending on the field you’re looking to work in – is creating a non-traditional resume. For example, check out Philippe Dubost, who created his own Amazon page as his resume: http://phildub.com
3. Be Willing to Work for Free
If you’re serious about getting your dream job, you should consider taking a volunteer or internship position with your dream company and getting a second job waiting tables or doing freelance work to pay your bills. This will allow the company to see what you can really do for it.
4. Do a Few Practice Interviews
In today’s job market, you cannot afford to flub even one interview. To practice, make a list of 5-10 questions that you think you might be asked. Then, have a friend or parent walk you through them. Ask for their honest feedback on your performance and answers in the mock interview.
5. Tell a Story in Your Resume
One of the biggest problems recent grads have is that they often don’t understand their strengths and/or the value they can bring to a company. I call this your “core competency.” Rather than bragging about your accomplishments, try to present what you’ve done through a specific story.
6. Research Your Interviewer
In today’s world of social media, it’s pretty easy to find out who is going to be interviewing you or making the final decision about whether or not you get hired. Make sure you do your research, and if you’re really bold, reach out to the interviewer beforehand through social media or at the office.
7. Have a Game Plan for Your Interview
You need to have a plan when you go into an interview. If you’ve done your research and homework, you are prepared. Now you need to stick to your prepared plan while still being flexible enough to improvise if you think of something better in the moment.
8. Google Yourself
One of the big hidden reasons you may not be getting interviews or callbacks from employers is because you have red flags on your social media accounts. Before you send out any applications, make sure you’ve made all your accounts private or gotten rid of anything you wouldn’t want employers to see.
9. Don’t Use Monster.com or Jobs.com
The easier it is to apply for a job, the more competition there is going to be. Mass job sites are just one of many ways successful companies hire — and one of the least trusted.
10. Apply in Person
If you can drop an application off to the decision-maker in person, you have a much better chance of not only getting an interview, but of getting the job.
It will take some research to find the decision-maker’s work number. After you have that, all you have to do is call and ask if they mind you coming by to drop off the application. Make sure you mention that you know they’re busy and it will only take 30 seconds. Almost every decision-maker will okay such a request.
11. Harnass Weak Ties
Sociologist Mark Granovetter is famous for his landmark study on the “strength of weak ties.” According to this study, people are more likely to get jobs through acquaintances than through good friends.
This is 100 percent my experience and that of my students. You are way more likely to get a job or an interview because of someone you only sort of know (think “Facebook friend you don’t hang out with”) than because of a good friend or family member.
When you start your job search, start with any weak ties you have who are in the industry in which you desire to work or any directly related industries. Ask if they can put you in touch with someone who can help you land a job. You’ll be amazed at the results.
12. Find Something That Needs Doing and Do It Before Your Interview
My friend Emily was applying at a 13-person startup when she noticed the company didn’t have a Wikipedia page. I recommended she make one for the startup, and when she showed the company the great work she’d done during the interview, she was hired on the spot.
Now, you have all the information you need to get out there and make sure you get hired — and fast!