Recent Grads Face Uphill Career Climb, Study Says
Posted By Marisa Sanfilippo on October 7, 2016 at 11:45 am
According to the Economic Policy Institute’s report, the Class of 2016 will face a reality of underemployment and unemployment that has only marginally improved over the last several years. In part this is due to the number of highly skilled workers with greater work experience who are still in the job market as part of the Great Recession, which officially ended in 2009. Graduates can help improve their chances of landing one of the coveted positions in their chosen field by taking advantage of their university’s career center, leveraging their personal network, and making the most of the application process.
Career Center Opportunities
A university’s career center is one of the most overlooked assets for those seeking employment. All too often, students will wait until they are approaching graduation to venture into the career center. Ideally, job seekers should begin exploring the opportunities and services offered years before graduation in order to fully utilize them. In addition to attending regular career fairs that bring local businesses and students together, students can also locate jobs on campus. Throughout the process, making connections is key.
Many centers offer a number of events and training opportunities throughout the year. Career professionals can help jobseekers brush up on interview skills, etiquette, and crafting a memorable resume. A career center can also help students connect with alumni – a valuable network to tap into once job seekers began their job search in earnest.
Leverage Your Network
Author, speaker, and business consultant Gregory Serrien says the No. 1 thing recent or upcoming grads need to understand is that personal network equals net worth. He adds, “Since (your network = your net worth) you must learn to properly build and then utilize your network to get your first job and then to grow your career.” When beginning the process of looking for a new position it is important to utilize every contact.
Leveraging social networks is also key – it shouldn’t end with the career center and alumni connections. One of the best ways to get a foot in the door is through internships. Any companies that students have interned for can help unlock career doors in their respective field and may increase their overall earning potential. Students should reach out to the connections they made for personal references and help in finding openings in the field.
Social networks such as LinkedIn are an excellent outlet for creating a profile that helps demonstrate job seekers’ diverse qualifications when they apply to new postings. But more importantly, it puts job seekers on the radar of hiring directors looking to fill positions that are specifically suited to their skill set. The potential of sites like LinkedIn can be critical in landing a great job. Spending an appropriate amount of time to make that LinkedIn profile image and information really stand out can be a critical factor in catching the eye of a potential employer.
Brittany King, career strategist and founder of Career Credo, advises her clients to start their job search three to six months before they graduate. “Waiting until after graduation to start looking for a job is already too late,” she adds.
Regional job fairs in each industry are excellent places to begin putting out feelers. Online portals that are field specific, social media groups, and professional organizations are also viable options. No need to worry about not graduating yet; instead of including a graduation date on their resume, it is acceptable for students to put their anticipated date of graduation.
When creating a resume, there are several attributes that are considered highly desirable by employers. It comes as a shock to many job-hunters that two of the most important skills are teamwork and leadership. Experience in extracurricular activities, volunteer organizations, and student government can all help demonstrate these strengths. While it is certainly expected that academic achievements and pertinent work history will be included, candidates should look to those experiences that show off desirable skills that are difficult to learn in a classroom or entry-level job.
Although the job outlook looks somewhat bleak for those who have recently graduated from high school or college, there is hope. Employment opportunities have slowly been increasing over the last several years and projections in many different industries indicate continued growth. Those students who make the most of their time in school, build connections, and gain real-world experience that will demonstrate their ability to lead effectively and think independently will have an advantage.