By Melissa Burns
Today’s competitive job market can be daunting for new college graduates. Only about 17 percent of students have a job offer upon graduation. There is also mounting evidence that Universities do not adequately prepare students for their future job searches. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to get ready for your post-graduate job search and drastically increase your chances of finding work.
Your search for a job should begin years before you actually get your diploma. Starting from your first year at University, look for opportunities that can offer you real-world experience in your field. This might include internships, part-time jobs, or volunteer work. In addition, make sure that most of your employers and professors get to know you. Be proactive, ask questions, and develop relationships with them. If you do so, there’s a good chance that these people will be willing to write your letters of recommendation, help you network, and give you some sound advice for succeeding in your chosen field. In your last semester, map out a detailed plan for your job search: Lydia Dallett, a columnist for Business Insider, gives some tips on how to accomplish this.
Most new graduates begin their job search by reviewing advertised job openings online. However, according to NPR, only about 20 percent of job openings are publicly advertised. Many employers don’t have the time or resources to sort through hundreds of applications, so they rely on word-of-mouth to find a good employee. Therefore, while searching for jobs on websites such as Indeed or SimplyHired can be very helpful, most of an applicant’s time should be spent pursuing that other 80 percent of jobs that are not advertised. The way to find them is through networking. Cornell University offers some excellent advice on how to network effectively. Simply put, the biggest part of networking is letting the people in your life know that you’re looking for a job. Most people are not hesitant to let their parents and best friends know that they are searching. But, they may not have thought of telling their neighbours, acquaintances, former employers, or church members. All of these people can be excellent resources. You will likely be surprised at how eager people are to help you. Don’t overlook social networking sites, either. A recent study found that about 15 percent of employees found their jobs by networking through Facebook and similar sites.
Search in Unlikely Places
While most of your job searching time should go toward networking, you can maximize the time you do spend searching online by looking in lesser-known places. For example, websites such as Gumtree or Adoos, which are most commonly used for buying and selling, also have job advertisement sections. You can also visit the websites of the companies you are interested in working for–they will often have jobs posted on their websites that are not publicly advertised.
Research the Company
If you’re applying to dozens of jobs a week, it can be exhausting to do the added step of researching every company. Nonetheless, you are much more likely to be considered if you can tailor your resume and cover letter, at least a little bit, to the company’s goals and philosophy. It will be clear to the employer that you took the time to do some research and that you’re genuinely interested in working for their company. The company’s website will usually offer sufficient information, but you can also research their page on LinkedIn.
The post-graduate job search will be much less stressful if you’re adequately prepared. Use these tips to help you succeed.
Melissa is a graduate student of the faculty of journalism. She is a passionate blogger and writer. Now she dreams od publishing her owm novel.