Tips for Recent Graduates – How to Find a Job Without Experience
What Have You Been Doing for Four Years?!
Your resume may not shine with the most glamorous internships and summer jobs, but that does not mean you can’t leverage the education and hidden experience you have gained from your four years in college. Many junior and senior level classes offer hands-on class projects where teamwork, decision making, communication and creativity play a major role. Whether it was Corporate Finance, History, Political Science or Biology, these skills are honed during your four years in class; capitalize on them!
Your Final Homework Assignment – Find a Job!
Finding a job is the most important homework assignment of your life. You’ve honed your researching skills over the last four years, and you’re not done yet! Utilize these skills to discover and land your first position in the real world. Create a binder that includes:
- Contacts list including previous professors, employers, friends and family
- Prospective employers list including target companies and contacts
- Log of resume submissions or completed applications and feedback
- List of job fairs or networking events and the companies to target while in attendance
Generate targeted daily objectives for yourself each week. For example, Monday: Contact five previous professors or employers; Tuesday: Attend a workshop to improve your interviewing skills; Wednesday: Create a LinkedIn profile and begin connecting with industry professionals; Thursday: Join a professional association in your area of interest to network and learn industry jargon.
In this stringent job market, recent graduates are no longer earning $50,000 their first year out of school. Graduates must be prepared to cut their salary expectations and be flexible on position title, duties and responsibilities. Currently, the supply of qualified recent graduates is extremely high, while demand is low. Don’t let this discourage you. Entry-level roles, even those outside the job description you hoped for, are valuable opportunities to get your foot in the door. For example, you may have graduated with a degree in marketing with no internship experience, however, considering roles in customer service or administrative support may prove invaluable down the road when you are interviewing for a promotion.
The Job Search is Like Dating – Be Selective
Sending out your resume in mass is more luck than strategy. Instead, target your search to specific industries or positions in which you are interested. Once you’ve focused your search, tailor your resume to highlight the skills most important in those industries and positions. However, be careful not to limit yourself when choosing potential fields of interest; think outside the box about how your skills could add value in a specific position or industry.
Work for Free
Become more attractive to potential employers by appealing to where they’re being hit the hardest – their pocketbook. Offer to work for free on a trial basis or shadow an employee for one week to show them how you could add value to their organization. This is your time to shine! Do your research on the company and their initiatives before you get there, and come prepared to offer solutions and suggestions to the company’s weak points. The burden of hiring costs will become an afterthought to employers if you show them how you could grow their business immediately upon arrival. Work your hardest and smartest during this trial period; if you impress the hiring managers, you may find yourself with a new career sooner than you think!