Fresh out of college, many young men and women find locating that first full-time job to be the greatest challenge they’ve faced in their lifetimes.
Given that the present economy is continuing to struggle, and the fact that the national unemployment rate continues to hover around 9.1 percent, many recent college grads from this past spring and summer continue to find that first gig elusive to track down.
According to The Economic Policy Institute, “The class of 2011 will likely face the highest unemployment rate for college graduates…in history.”
So, how can these young twentysomethings improve their chances of landing full-time work when their experience level is little to none?
Among the things to concentrate on are:
- No hidden surprises – Given today’s obsession with social media, more and more employers are checking the online backgrounds of young individuals applying for work with them. Be sure if you have any questionable photos or comments on sites like Facebook and Twitter that you delete them prior to the job hunt. While that photo of you partying in college may seem innocent to you, a prospective employer may in turn frown upon it;
- Step outside the comfort zone – While you likely had a focused area of study in school and interests that you would like to pursue, there are no guarantees you will find work in your preferred field. Be willing and more importantly able to step outside your area of expertise in order to gain experience and make some money. Even if taking a job in another field means less money to start than you wanted, it is something to put on your resume, which you will want to grow right away;
- Internships are a good foot in the door – While a non-paying internship may not seem like the key to success, many individuals have started as interns and worked their way up the corporate ladder over time. If you can find a paying internship even better. Many individuals do internships while still in school and then transition to full-time positions once graduated. If you’re just out of school and a good internship presents itself, don’t automatically turn it down;
- Network via social media – While social media can be a problem for some individuals (see first tip), it can also be a boon for others. There are great opportunities to network via sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn just to name a few. Social media is also a great way to visit the sites of potential employers to learn more about what they do, their teams, and more. The last thing you want to do is go into a job interview totally unknowing of what the company does. If you are blogging and the posts are related to your desire area of work, by all means include a few links when emailing resumes to potential employers;
- Be aggressive, yet respectful – Oftentimes you will see job ads that say “no phone calls please” somewhere in the posting. The reasoning behind that is some employees would never get any work done if they answered every phone call regarding an applicant’s resume and potentially getting an interview. Whether you come across the phone notation or not, you can still follow up. Whether it is a simple and friendly email or tweet to the company’s Twitter page or dropping a short follow-up note in the regular mail, you can stay in touch. Don’t push it though and leave several messages to where you become a nuisance instead of a candidate.
While some recent college grads have found work or are closing in on jobs, others can take solace in the fact that they are not alone in trying to track down that elusive first full-time job.
Dave Thomas, who covers among other subjects’ business credit cards, writes extensively for www.business.com an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.