Many years ago, I received a master’s degree in the midst of a recession. Despite that, I was fearless in my thinking and actions and it netted three job offers. The findings of the jobs “Recruiting Trends 2009-2010” report for college graduates, is déjà vu all over again. The annual Michigan State University report paints a grim hiring outlook for those with fresh diplomas.
Yet, soon-to-be graduates and recent degree holders should play to their strengths. New graduates are usually more optimistic about their future, have positive energy, and are strategically seeking to ‘cash in’ their years of hard-earned education for desired work experience.
Still, even with fierce competition for seemingly limited jobs, I have seen many slip-ups in the job hunting process among new and seasoned job seekers. Whether you are in transition between jobs, are new to the professional job market, or an experienced worker, here are a few helpful tips:
1. Plan your first step. Think of your fulltime entry into the job market as the first step to a lifelong career assignment.
2. Don’t panic. Self-confidence and not cockiness in the job hunting process is a great attribute.
3. Manage expectations. If the loved ones who have helped to support your education are worried about your prospects, maintain your confidence beyond appearances. Believe in yourself first and then give them relevant details of your plan for employment.
4. Research your desired job. Gain additional information about your prospective assignment and employer. In this Internet age, there is no excuse for job seekers to be unaware of pertinent information.
5. Meet the minimum requirements. In many organizations, a Human Resources clerk will first check off whether your letter of interest, resume and application (if asked for), meets the position’s qualifications.
6. Write an effective letter of interest. Do not send form letters. In the first paragraph of each letter, state the job you are applying for and end it with your desire to be seriously considered for the position.
7. Edit your submissions. Make sure your letters of interests and resumes are free of errors.
8. Submit your information in the desired format requested by the employer. Do not ignore completing an online application if the prospective employer requires it.
9. Order your academic transcripts. Anticipate that you will have many employment offers, so invest in several copies of your official transcripts. Do not open the sealed and signed envelopes containing your official transcripts. That is for the employer to do.
10. Think like an entrepreneur. If you spot a weakness in any aspect of your prospective organization such as an outdated website, a junky entrance, or unfriendly receptionist, that is your cue to offer polite and skilled solutions.
Finally, read or re-read your favorite books on dealing with change. As the mice learned in “Who Moved My Cheese,” the handwriting is always on the wall to effectively move ahead with your career plan.