The job market is tough out there for recent college grads. Few entry-level positions, coupled with competition from experienced professionals who are unemployed makes landing that “grown up” position quite frustrating. Here are few tips to give you that “Rock Star” edge on the job market.
10. Volunteer – Obama has called our nation to step up and serve the community, so why not serve the community and help your self at the same time!?! Volunteering for community organizations and non-profits can give you leadership and professional experience that you may not get in a paid position. Not to mention, it is a phenomenal way to network with other professionals in the business community.
9. Look the Part – Like Coca-cola and Google, YOU are a brand! In order to attract the position you want, you must look and act the part. Have you changed your hair style since high school? Do you dress like a college student who just rolled out of bed or a business professional ready to take on the day? Even when you run up to the drug store you never know who you will meet in line. If you are serious about finding a job, put on your grown-up game face. I know it might not be “fun” or “cool” but neither is living in your parents’ basement!
8. Know What you Want – Desperation reeks! We all know the psychological concept that humans all want what they can’t have, so don’t act so desperate. NO, you will NOT take ANY old job. What good will it do you to spend 40 plus hours a week doing something you hate and see no future in? Take a breath and take a look at your values, talents, interests and experience and specifically target a position you can get excited about. Your employer will thank you.
7. Networking Works – Studies show that 70% of available positions are never posted on a job board and are found through personal connections. Contact your local chamber of commerce, or industry news source and see what events are going on in your area. The more specific the networking event is to your area of specialty, the better. In the metro Detroit area, great resources are: Motor City Connect, Crain’s Detroit News and After 5 Detroit. Oh, and I know this idea is totally crazy… but FOLLOW UP with the connections you meet! Focus on how you can help them first and remember, “givers get.”
6. Get a Temp Job – Temp agencies will place you in paid temporary positions as an independent contractor. Temp positions in your industry can give you a foot in the door and allow you to start building relationships inside an organization. One Detroit area temp agency to start with is Kelly Services in Troy.
5. Networking Cards – So you don’t have a job so you don’t have business cards? NO! Make your own! This new trend for the unemployed works brilliantly. Create a card with your name, contact information, educational credentials, area of focus, special skills, etc. These cards can inexpensively be created by www.vistaprint.com or if you are feeling creative, print them yourself. There is nothing more annoying to an employer than someone not having a business card to give.
4. Intern – So, to be honest, you should have taken this piece of advice four years ago when you first stepped on campus, but I know…. shoulda, woulda, coulda! Now is the time to right this wrong. Taking an internship position (paid or unpaid) can give you experience in your chosen field and give you inroads into a company. Don’t just seek out the big traditional employers. Small businesses need help too and they are sometimes int he position to give you far more responsibility off the bat. A fantastic internship resource developed by the Detroit Regional Chamber is Intern in Michigan (www.interninmichigan.com).
3. Alumni Connections – Join your university/college alumni association and again, (I know a totally novel idea) ATTEND their events! Get involved, join a committee, take on a leadership role. Alumni love helping students from their alma mater and will instantly find a common ground with you. You might even get really lucky and remind them of themselves at your age!
2. Employ Yourself – I know, I know, you might feel like you don’t know enough about anything to start your own company but who knows? What is your passion? What are you good at? Nearly every affinity can be made profitable if positioned correctly. Are you a fantastic athlete? How about running a sports camp this summer for kids? This can keep you busy, you can make some money, get some entrepreneurship experience and expose you to a whole new network of people… the PARENTs of the kids you will be teaching! Get creative and you will be amazed at all you have to offer the world.
1. Get Online – Unless you were born under a rock I am sure you at least have an email address and a Facebook page. But there is SO MUCH more you can do to promote your “brand” online! LinkedIn is a total must. Post as much professional information on the site as you can and build your professional credibility by getting recommended by your contacts. Twitter is another fantastic resource for building your online brand. Don’t know where to start or how to leverage these tools? The Social Media Club Detroit has networking events with plenty of online gurus to give you great advice! http://www.facebook.com/SMCDetroit
Have specific questions? Shoot me and email. I would love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelly Olin, Professional Career and Life Coach