Many new college – and even high school – graduates haven’t yet lined up “real” jobs and, if this is you, you may have started to panic, especially if several of your friends already have jobs lined up. (“Everyone is telling me it’s a great job market out there, so what’s wrong with me?”)
There’s nothing wrong. Your friends may have gotten lucky. In fact, chances are great that your friends with jobs landed them via their network. In other words, they knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who got them an “in.”
That “in” can be yours, too, but it’s going to take some work and, more importantly, you’re definitely going to have to move considerably out of your comfort zone. As in calling friends and even strangers, asking for informational interviews, approaching companies that don’t have job openings (simply because you want to work there), actually asking for a job (at the job interview), and more.
But, seriously: you can do this. Really. You can! Everyone who has a job had to feel nervous at some point in their search and some more than others. If they could do it, so can you! Believe it!
So, with that in mind, here are three ways new grads can advance their job search….and get a job quickly!
- Talk to people! And that includes picking up the phone and calling – or emailing – strangers!
As mentioned above, this is the meat of any job search, and most likely the part of a job hunt that makes most people really nervous. Really, really, really nervous. So nervous that they refuse to do it, and instead head to the job boards, fill out applications and hit send.
And then…. Crickets.
But here’s a secret: you’re young. You’re just starting out. People LOVE to help graduates just starting out! They really do. Why? For several reasons:
- They remember how nervous they were and understand how you’re feeling.
- It makes them feel good because they get to bestow their wisdom and experience on you. You’re looking up to them for advice and help and that strokes their ego. That’s not a bad thing: we all need validation and – whoo, boy! – does a young person listening intently to your advice validate you!
- People just want to help.
So take advantage of this and reach out to friends and even strangers. We explain how below.
- Research the companies to which you want to apply before contacting.
We’ve talked a lot about the right way to job hunt before, so we’re not going to go into a ton of detail here. But picking up the phone or powering up the laptop/tablet/smartphone and sending an email (do not text at this stage!) is exceptionally effective when it comes to not only finding a job quickly, but finding a great job quickly!
So decide what type of work you want, look at the companies at which you’d like to work, and do some research to find the name of the person who can hire you in the department. Call or email that person. For example, if you want to work in marketing, that would be the director of marketing. If you’re looking for an entry-level position in finance, that would be the finance director, CFO or assistant director of finance. Don’t be afraid to contact people in the C-suite. They had to start at the bottom, too, and they very well may really admire your chutzpah. Remember: boldness leads to success in the job hunt!
- Revamp your LinkedIn profile.
Get a professional, business-like photo of yourself and use it on your profile. Study some websites that help you create a good profile (here’s one and here’s one specifically for new grads).
Once you revamp your profile, ask some business people you know to look it over. Check for typos and misspellings. And don’t be afraid to update it as you job hunt: you may find your search is going in a different direction than you had first thought and your profile should make sure it highlights your skills and background that best fit where you want to go.
Here’s a fella who trains people in how to use LinkedIn for sales. You’re selling yourself as an employee and his techniques definitely are applicable to the job search. He does have terrific free information. Use his strategies to reach out to potential hiring managers on LinkedIn.
The smart thing to do is to look at looking for a job as if it’s your job. In other words, take some time off after graduation, but don’t take it easy: look for work!
Another great way for new grads to find terrific jobs is to sign up with a staffing firm such as Helpmates. Many of our assignments are direct-hire or temp-to-hire. Even temporary assignments often turn into full-time, regular work. Take a look at our current opportunities and good luck with your hunt!