Tag Archives: Networking

Helpful Encouragement for the Class of 2009

Unemployment may be at a 25-year high but there is still hope for the soon graduating college students! NY Times recently wrote an article titled “All is Not Lost for the Class of 2009” giving the class positive encouragement on finding a job in today’s economy:

The first thing that is so important for college job seekers is to adjust your expectations on your first job. This includes the pay, the location, and the job description. If your a public relations major, you don’t have to work for a public relations firm. Look for jobs in company communication departments or non-profits and apply for jobs that need any kind of communication background.

Use the big job board sites to search for job listings and try ones that are focused on recent graduates like Collegerecruiter.com. Also check the corporate and big business website to check their own personal job listings.

Another great suggestion the article makes is to look for unpaid work that you can do to gain experience and connections. Contact organizations and non-profits and ask if you can work an unpaid entry-level position. Hopefully you can impress them enough that they will want to hire you for the long run, or at least you will learn alot in your field and make vital industry connections.

You can use social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to find job leads, as long as you use them correctly. Do not use your Facebook as a networking tool if you have pictures of you out drinking with your friends and other inappropriate information on your profile. Use Twitter to follow people in your industry and companies you might be interested in. Sometimes they might post some job openings or useful information for you. Also use LinkedIn to introduce yourself to an employee in your industry. Message them and see if they would be interested to meet you for a quick information session. Do not ask or show interest in looking for a job in the company, make sure it is stricktly for information.

Lastly, being forced to work for a restaurant or retail store in order to pay your bills while you are job searching is totally OK. These jobs on your resume might even help you land your desired career because they show you have experience and certain skills that might be desirable to your employer. So don’t be afraid to work at Starbucks while your trying to find that yearly salary job you need and want!

So don’t give up Class of 2009! We can do it!

Common Mistakes New Grads Make

I stumbled across an article written in 2007 by Anne Fisher about the 5 Mistakes New Grads Make. Although the optimism meninsuitsof the 2007 job market is the thing of a past, the advice for new grads is still relevant.

1. Keep parents’ involvement to a minimal- Your parents can help expand your network and make professional contacts for you, but make sure you are the one actively searching for and applying for jobs. You will come off as mature and professional if you keep your parents’ help behind the scenes.

2. Manage your social media profiles- Keep in mind posting information to the net makes your profile one Google search away from public knowledge. Make sure your profiles on social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook are appropriate and a good representation of your personal and professional lives. Potential employers do not want to see pictures of your scandalous Halloween costumes or your first keg stand.

3. Network, Network, Network- Let friends and family in your network know you are job hunting. Keep in mind everyone in your network has their own network of professionals they can talk you up to. College alumni associations are another networking resource.

4. Say “Thank you”- When someone goes out of their way to help you with your job search or refers you a potential employer, email or send them a hand-written note expressing your gratitude. New grads are underestimating the impact of a simple ‘thanks.’

5. Appropriate voice-mail greetings- Although a poem or rap directing your caller to leave a message brings a smile to your face, it is not an appropriate greeting for potential employers. Record a mature, respectable message detailing who they have reach and to leave a message.

Career Fair Benefits

handshakeThis After Grad author is in full job search mode. In addition to traditional search methods, such as job search Web sites and local classified sections, career fairs are a great way to network, find local jobs, and gain experience.

As I’ve been told throughout my undergraduate career, “It’s all about who you know.” Applicants are finding jobs through peers and other professional contacts. According to the latest Help-Wanted Online Data Series report, over the last two months (December 2008 and January 2009) there has been a 1 million, or 23 percent,  decline in the  number of advertised job vacancies. Career fairs are an excellent time to network, or make professional contacts, and find out about non-advertised positions.

I recently attended the C2C, College to Career Fair, in Richmond, Virginia. I was able to expand my network by interacting with fair participants. Receiving several business cards and e-mail addresses, one participant urged me to contact her for advice and for a list of possible employers. She expressed that I was not a good fit her company, but referred me to three organizations I would be a good fit for. This is a perfect example of networking at career fairs- I was able to increase my network and found out about  possible jobs through one fair participant.

Even if the fair does not lead to a job, career fairs are a great way to gain experience interacting with peers and company representatives in a professional setting. The more experience you get “selling” yourself, or talking about your skills and proficiencies, the better!

I understand how hard it can be to find a job. Remember to relax, put your best foot forward, and take advantage of everything career fairs have to offer.