By Lauren Harrison, Account Representative
Have you ever wondered why the college graduation ceremony is called “Commencement”? As many graduation speakers have pointed out, it signals a new beginning, a new stage in your life. If the question “Where do I go from here?” lingers, you are not alone. This is a time when you and your fellow graduates have to make decisions about your future, which include searching for a job.
There is a huge leap from still being somewhat sheltered and taken care of during college, to being let loose on your own into the real world. What’s the reality today? The U.S. Department of Labor and the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey in 2012 found that 53.6% of bachelor’s degree holders under age 25 were unemployed or underemployed (working in a job that doesn’t require a B.A.).
Here is some advice on how to search for a job without getting frustrated and discouraged.
Start the job search early on. Don’t wait until you have graduated; start looking about 4-6 months before. Spend time preparing a professional resume. Most schools have career counselors who will help you put this together. For many positions, your resume will be your first and maybe only opportunity to spark employers’ interest in you to give you a coveted interview. Develop a target list of companies that you’d like to work for. Each time you send out a resume, tweak it to fit what that company is looking for. Informational interviews are great since you get to ask an employer all your questions to see if that industry or job is really what you are looking for.
Look at how you are using social media. If you haven’t already done so, now would be the time to clean up your online footprint. That party you had a blast at during spring break may make your friends laugh, but for a prospective employer looking for a serious and trustworthy candidate, you run the risk of not looking serious and ready for the responsibility. Clean up your posts, adjust your privacy settings if need be, but remember that when you post something online it is like having a tattoo on your face. Be aware, this is fine as long as you understand that not everyone will be accepting of your choices.
Network. Attend job fairs, find Meetup groups that are related to your industry, network through LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Local job fairs are easy to find by searching the internet; your university might have some upcoming job fairs as well. LinkedIn is very popular now for recruiters to search for the right candidate, so definitely build a profile on the site. You will be reaching far more people than you can ever imagine.
Use your university’s resources, like Career Centers. They have counselors who can guide and assist you in your search. Consult a resume specialist to create or update your resume, and help you add key words. Get tips on how to write a cover letter that will make you stand out. A cover letter can be the key to getting you in the door.
Although the search may be difficult at times, keep your chin up. There are jobs for everyone. Don’t forget to start the search early, network, join a Career Center and get out. You may not find the ideal job at first, but you will find something. The only thing that will keep you from succeeding is fear. It’s like riding a bicycle: the first time you get on may not be the smoothest, but over time you gain strength and confidence that will help you grow into your career.
By Lauren Harrison, Account Representative, Career Center, Jewish Community Services, Baltimore, MD
JCS offers a full range of career services. For more information about JCS Career services click here or call 410-466-9200.