Despite the high unemployment rate, college grads can find jobs in this job market — after all, business is still going on. Opportunities do exist, but today’s college graduates may have to take a different approach to accommodate the drastic changes in the job market, like a longer hiring process and greater competition.
Getting a post-college job in this economy requires a new way of thinking about the job search and looking for work. Here are a half dozen ways to get yourself ready and get a job.
- Organize Yourself If your parents are your main source of job hunt guidance, consider how much job searching conventions have changed significantly in the last decade. Unless your parents have also had to find new employment in the past few years, you’ll want to seek more current advice.
- Sell Yourself Make sure your resume doesn’t look like a student’s. Instead of submitting a resume where the first half of the page is taken up by education, notes on coursework, and honors, play up work experience—internships, volunteer work, and so forth. When a hiring manager makes an initial scan of your resume, you want her to see skills and experience she can use, not a list of college courses.
- Think Broadly Don’t limit your job search into too narrow a slot. If you’re interested in a particular field, think of all the jobs related or even vaguely related to that field. Do a brainstorming session with friends and family, and search the Internet for even more ideas. This might double, triple, even quadruple your job prospects and your internship possibilities — and may even change the way you were thinking about your future career.
- Act Globally If you can’t find a job in the United States, consider working abroad. First, it shows initiative, a willingness to learn and adaptability and desire for personal growth. It also will give you a breadth of experience and an edge that other grads won’t have. In today’s world of increasingly globalized activities, being cognizant of other cultural differences and proving that you can operate efficiently in them is a major plus. If you have language and managerial skills that go across countries, you can only help those businesses looking to expand markets in other countries, as most businesses are doing today.
- Be Productive If you can’t get a paying gig, take an unpaid internship or volunteer. It’s important to show employers that you know how to use time productively. You don’t want to give employers the image of a college grad hanging out at home or doing odd jobs. You should strive to appear to be progressing and challenging yourself at all times, even if it’s not in a conventional position of employment.
- Get Help Use your college’s career office. You may think campus resources are only for current students, but many campuses’ career offices cater specifically to grads. Ask them to connect you with alumni who work in the field you’re interested in.