Wednesday, November 11, 2009

8 Tips for College Grads Entering the Job Market

The unemployment rate recently jumped to 10.2% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and may go higher instead of lower in the next few months. What's a recent college grad to do? Here are some strategies to achieve employment.

1. Never under-estimate the power of resumes
Over the years, I obtained three different jobs, based on my resume alone. One of the jobs was working as an adjunct professor at a public university - no interview, just a resume with a phone call (a year after my resume submission) from the College of Business department head, who said 'We need you. Can you start on Monday?' Just make sure your resume is totally accurate, include all your skills, especially customer service skills and tech skills, and make sure other people review it for typos.

2. Walk in
This technique won't work at large corporations, which seem to hide their HR departments more secretly than their central server operations. But walking in cold can work for small and medium size businesses. Bring a few resumes with you, walk in and ask who you need to speak to about employment at the company. It has worked for me in the past and I know several other people who got jobs this way.

3. Work through temp agencies until the permanent job comes along
Prospective employers like to see that you are doing something while looking for a job, not just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring with an interview appointment. Besides, many temporary jobs lead to permanent jobs, and even temp jobs look good on your resume.

4. Check out employment opportunities in the 'hot' industries
About $40 billion of the Economic Stimulus money is supposed to be used to create 'green jobs.' Look at solar, wind, smart grid, and geothermal companies.

5. Check out accounting jobs
If you have taken any accounting classes or have any accounting experience, apply at accounting firms and the accounting departments of large corporations. Personal and corporate income taxes are expected to be around for a long time. There will always be a demand for accountants.

6. Networking goes without saying
Every article about getting a job always mentions networking: contacting relatives, friends, friends of friends, acquaintances. So I'm not going to leave this out of the list. The only thing I will add is 'Just do it.'

7. Sales jobs
Companies that have commission only positions are more likely to hire you than companies that have to shell out a salary to an unknown new hire. If you don't mind selling and marketing, look for these types of jobs.

8. Set up a side business
While you are looking for work, consider doing consulting work. Are you an html web site development expert? Know a lot about PC's or Macs? Are you good at writing and editing? What about graphic design. Get your web site set up and post flyers. Employers like to see that you have the initiative to get out there and work, even if it is your own business. And who knows, you may be so successful at your own business, you won't need to work for someone else.

There is no 'right' time to go out and look for a job. The best time is now, even with the unfavorable economic climate. Best of luck in your job search.

By Fred Fuld at


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