The unemployment rate for recent college graduates is an alarming 7.9 percent. We’ll examine an infographic start-to-finish guide on successfully landing your first job post-graduation.
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Going to college isn’t what it’s cracked up to be anymore — you work hard to get into a great school, work even harder to get decent grades, then you graduate with a crippling amount of school loans and no job to pay them off. A recent Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce study found that not all majors are created equal in this dilemma, with unemployment rates for graduates with majors in IT (14.7 percent) and architecture (12.8 percent) to be amongst the highest, with pharmaceutical (2.5 percent), nursing (4.8 percent), and education (5.0 percent) degrees proving much more fruitful for recent grads.
Step 1: Understand Yourself and Your Career Goals
You can’t plan out a fulfilling career if you don’t know what makes you happy. First, figure out what activities tickle your fancy, what sort of work environment is most ideal, and what companies your friends work for.
Step 2: Develop a Career Action Plan
Start your plan off with creating “S.M.A.R.T.” goals — “Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound,” then break those goals into short-term and long-term goals. Separating out your goals will help you gain perspective on what’s realistic now and what’s better saved for a later date. Next, follow CollegeCareer’s five-step Career Action Plan:
- Make a list of your interests.
- Follow up with the companies you’re interested in.
- Tap into your existing network and start putting the word out.
- Find where prospective employers will be (e.g. job fairs).
- Find recruiters on LinkedIn and start making connections.
Step 3: Prepare
Your most important document during a job search is your resume. Nowadays, many recruiters and hiring managers utilize social media (LinkedIn, specifically) to seek out qualified candidates and conduct preliminary background checks. Therefore, you should also ensure that your social media profiles are current and worthy of a call back. Read more about optimizing your LinkedIn profile here, here, and here.
Step 4: Apply
As the infographic explains, “Your resume and cover letter can help you get an interview, but networking, negotiating, and interviewing will get you the job.”
Networking – People want to do business (and hire) people that they know, like, and trust, and networking is the best way to do just that. Start with your immediate network, then work on making new connections from there. You never know who knows who in this small world of business.
Interviewing – In order to put your best foot forward, be sure that you’re prepared for your next job interview. Be sure to understand your qualifications, your overall career objectives, and what the company is about and what they’re looking for before the big day. You’ll want to make a great first-impression, so preparation is key!
Negotiation – If you’re on the fence about negotiating in this job market, then rest assured, because according to the infographic, “100 percent of employers find it acceptable to negotiate job offers,” with 90 percent of employers expecting a bit of negotiation from candidates. After all, you don’t want to accept a job that you’ll only end up regretting because you are underpaid. Negotiate!
Another great way to gain credibility and gain exposure in your field of work is to contribute to discussion groups (LinkedIn, Quora, Yahoo! Answers), comment on relevant blogs or articles, and, probably the most effective means, starting your own blog that drives traffic.
Hopefully this information provides you with a solid foundation to work from when it comes time to finding, landing, and negotiating your first job out of college! For other useful job searching tips, see the full infographic below.