You don’t have to be a news junkie to know that joblessness has jumped sharply since last fall, when soon-to-be college grads were just beginning their senior year. The US unemployment rate, which was 6.2 percent last September, has risen steadily to 8.9 percent in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. College graduates about to enter the job market are understandably apprehensive, and may view the rise in unemployment as a formidable obstacle.
Suzanne Roush, director of career services at Brown Mackie College in Illinois, offers advice to graduates who are looking for work. "With the increasingly downward spiral of our economy, the outcome for new graduates can appear bleak at best," she acknowledges. "But there are a few simple rules they can follow in their search for employment."
Roush works with graduates on a daily basis to prepare them for the work of finding a job. Her advice helps people set themselves apart from the crowd, and avoid discouragement during the search. Here, she shares a few simple rules that help in the search for employment.
"It is extremely important to be organized in the job search," advises Roush. "Creating a ‘job search’ book is a good first step. You can keep records of all job descriptions, applications, and dates of contact." Roush points out that two or three months can pass before a company contacts applicants. "I’ve heard many stories where someone calls for an interview, and the applicant doesn’t know who is returning the call. Not a good start," she says.
Organization helps when the callbacks come. "When a company calls to set up an interview, you will have the job description and can tailor your responses," Roush continues. "If an applicant is not organized, that can be the cause of not landing the position."
Persistence eventually pays off. "Do something every day that will take you a step closer to landing a job," she recommends. "Check newspapers and websites. Treat your job search like a job." It is common for college graduates to accumulate more than 100 jobs in a job-search book. "Every 10 or 15 resumes result in a phone call," she has found. "It’s a numbers game. The more resumes you send out, the more chance you’ll have of garnering a response."
"It’s important to talk to as many people as possible when looking for a job," counsels Roush. "A high percentage of jobs aren’t even advertised. Don’t be shy about joining trade clubs and associations and networking clubs. Call past graduates, current students and friends and family members as well. You never know who may be able to help."
Roush encourages graduates to do volunteer work with an eye toward networking prospects. "Keep a copy of your resume in the car," she says. "The person volunteering next to you may be on the board of a company you’re interested in. Talk to everyone – neighbors, people at church. Someone may be hiring for a company in your field."
Sell Your Best Attributes
Most college graduates have little experience in the field they want to enter, while older applicants have concerns about competing with the young. "Both have good things to offer," suggests Roush. "The younger graduates can sell enthusiasm and eagerness to work hard. Older graduates offer maturity and skills that go with the workforce."
"I remind everyone that Charlotte’s Web was rejected 30 times before it was published. Many successful people go through hardships. I use inspirational stories to show that anything is possible," Roush says. "It helps college graduates feel better, build confidence, and it helps with interview skills."
With a mind for detail, and a concise ‘elevator pitch’ about yourself, finding employment can become a systematic process that inevitably leads to a good job, even if an uncooperative economy demands a little more perseverance than usual.
Courtesy of ARAcontent