Job search tips for new college graduates.
I recently addressed a group of local college students about job prospects with graduation right around the corner for many of them. Their biggest concerns were two-fold. First, and normal in any economy, the daunting prospect of competing school with little or no experience to show on their resumes. The second is hoping to avoid becoming just another unemployed recent college grad stuck in a crowded job market.
Tumbling 401 (k) plans and escalating debt, all due to the recent recession, has forced many people nearing retirement to hang onto their jobs years longer. As a result, there are now fewer opportunities for younger workers who are ready to enter the workforce.
Therefore, students who are approaching graduation need to be especially cognizant of the job market and potential job prospects. However, the days of focusing on grade point averages and waiting for job offers to start pouring in are sadly behind us. Job hunting should now be a major component in the overall education process. Here are some important tips to consider if you will soon embark upon the workforce.
Maximize your internship experiences
Hopefully, somewhere along the course of your college experience, you took advantage of both paid and non-paid internship opportunities. Think carefully about what you learned and the new skills you developed from your internships. Were you given additional training or classes? Did you substitute for regular full-time employees when the workload was heavy? Give the reader a clear picture of what your daily responsibilities were and how that experience could translate into the business world.
Provide a professional summary
Place this section at the top of the resume under your contact information. This section allows you to introduce yourself to the reader and include your distinctive qualifications, skills, and talents. Are you are an exceptional organizer or planner? Have you held leadership roles in campus or student organizations? Do you enjoy research? Though you may not have extensive work experience, after four years in college, you should have developed unique strengths that could be considered personal achievements; include them.
Demonstrate your ability to multi-task
Graduating at the top of your class and getting all A’s will impress any employer, but they also want to see students who are well-rounded. If you were active in one or more student or campus run organizations, list them under a section called “Student Memberships” or “Campus Affiliations.” Indicate whether you held a leadership position or served on the board. You don’t have to list every organizational event you ever attended, however if you helped with any major events, it is acceptable to include those on your resume for that position.
Utilize your school’s resources
Utilize the school’s career resources. Most schools have resources (career centers) for students and alumni to assist in your search efforts. You will have access to resume writing services and job boards to submit your resumes. Many institutions have spent years fostering great relationships with businesses and business leaders, who could provide a gateway for job opportunities once you graduate.
It would be disingenuous to make light of the stagnant labor market for younger job seekers. But, I am also encouraged by the fact that the employment numbers do indicate that more and more people are going to work each day in our region. The key is for you to equip yourself with as many tools possible to standout from the competition.
Good luck with your job search and always remember to keep your head in the game!