It's almost college graduation time, again. And this year, although the job market is picking up, things are still tight out there. And you have $60K of student loans to pay.
I have been helping local collegiates with their resumes lately. One of the first things I ask them (after "what is your major") is "what would you like to do?"
There are some interesting answers. Believe it or not, I prefer to hear "I'm not quite sure" rather than "I'm going to get a job in event management and plan concerts for indie bands around the country."
I wholeheartedly believe in goals and dreams. But I also believe in having a reality check. Any graduating senior with a BA in Marketing or Business who thinks they are going to walk into an event management job planning indie concerts had better have some serious connections that she has already vetted if she is going to make a statement like that.
OK. You've been hearing about how bad the economy is from your parents. But that's for the older generation that is more than halfway to retirement, right?
Wrong. If you can afford to start your own company, or you have some major ins to the industry jobs you want (like your Uncle Bob's best friend manages an up and coming band and is looking for an assistant) then you can decide what you want to do. If you are an honors student at an Ivy League University, you probably already have a few job offers. But for the majority of graduating seniors, it's a tough economy out there.
You need to have a realistic understanding of how the professional world works. That means you need to be cultivating relationships with people in decision-making roles; contacting older friends that graduated two years ago in your field that can give you an employee referral (assuming they are employed); you need to have your LinkedIn profile updated; ask your parents and friends of the family for leads; contact alumnae from your fraternity/sorority; join the University Facebook alumni page and start meeting older graduates that are employed that you can network with; email your manager from your internship from last year expressing interest in any openings, reminding him of what an excellent job you did; go to volunteer functions and meet community leaders *and getting their email addresses.* (Not their phone numbers. They want emailed resumes, not a call asking for time to chat.) Join professional organizations and Special Interest Groups.
The theme here is that you need to do the same thing your parents are doing: networking. Putting your resume up on Monster, going to school career fairs and handing out your resume and adding your resume to the university career center are *not enough*. You need to learn to tailor your resume for jobs, write a targeted document and learn how to research people like hiring managers and recruiters at companies you are interested in working for.
And you may need to truly consider relocating. If you grew up in Las Vegas, unless you want to be a Blackjack Dealer, a dancer or a bartender, chances are you need to move somewhere else. Read housing and job market articles. Know which cities are growing, what industries have experienced growth and then follow them.
There are always job out there. There are options. But you need to learn and take suggestions offered to you to maximize your opportunities. Good luck. Leave me comments if you have specific questions.
Why Privacy Is Becoming Obsolete
Keeping It Real(istic)
This article also appears on