BY JOHN STEVENS
People have been clamoring for more employment opportunities for a long time, so there was excitement in the air when the U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that unemployment rate has gone down to 4.7 percent — the lowest in decades. This excitement was short-lived, however, as the very next day after the announcement thousands of people thronged the streets to protest low wages and poor labor conditions.
What is most alarming, however, is the fact that a good portion of people at these low paying jobs are college graduates. Data from Pew Research show that it is harder for college graduates to find good jobs, and 20 percent of college graduates end up working at low-wage jobs.
After spending years learning in college, possibly racking up tens of thousands of dollars in student debt, it can be demoralizing to get to the job market to find that the only option you have is low paying jobs. Below are some tips to help you land your dream job and get hired soon as a fresh college graduate.
- Don’t Simply Rely on Your Qualifications
You’re educated and intelligent, and you’ve just been vetted and approved by an accredited institution. Shouldn’t that be enough to tell people that you can be hired? Not necessarily. In fact, research suggests that as many as 60 percent of all jobs are unadvertised — some sources even claim that this number can go up to 80 percent. It’s clear, though, that the majority of jobs are unadvertised.
Your qualifications might be impressive, but it won’t matter a bit when you aren’t even aware of most available job opportunities.
Instead of relying just on publicly advertised jobs, look for the unadvertised one. Reach out to your contacts — friends, family, acquaintances, etc — to see if they are aware of any unadvertised jobs at their organization or elsewhere that they can refer you to. Also, proactively reach out to companies to hire you — even before they advertise a position you might fill.
- Get Creative About Getting Hired
We live in a world that values creativity more than intelligence, and you’ll have a much better chance of success by using this to your advantage. You can increase your chances of landing your dream job by getting creative. A notable example is Adam Pacitti, who graduated from college with a first class degree. After applying to over 250 jobs, Pacitti still had no job. He decided to get creative, and he rented a billboard with his last penny and put up the following message: “I spent my last £500 on this billboard. Please give me a job.” His campaign got a lot of attention — resulting in over 60 job offers for him. He had a good time selecting which company he wanted to work at.
- Work on Your Cover Letter
First impressions matter a great deal, especially when trying to land your dream job as a graduate fresh out of college. A good place to start is with your cover letter.
If available research is anything to go by, you have 5 – 10 seconds to impress potential employees with your cover letter. Instead of making your cover letter your life story, keep it short and simple, and ensure it makes a compelling case for reading your resume; your cover letter should get people to read your resume. It shouldn’t be your resume.
- Create and Optimize a LinkedIn Profile
We live in a very connected world, and, now more than ever before, many recruiters use LinkedIn heavily when deciding on who to hire. Available research shows that a whopping 94 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn for recruiting, and that 80 percent of recruiters have hired through LinkedIn at some point.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile yet, create one. Take a professional photo and upload it there. Fill in the tags and descriptions properly — in a way that demonstrates the kind of job you want. Also, list and highlight key achievements and interesting facts about you that will make employers more interested in hiring you.
- Create a Website and/or Blog
There are about a billion websites in the world today, and websites and blogs have gone beyond being just business tools or a personal journal. They can also be highly instrumental in helping you land your dream job.
As a fresh college graduate in this age, it is important to embrace technology in your job search. More than ever before, people are getting hired due to their websites and blogs irrespective of their qualifications.
There are several notable examples of people who got their dream jobs through their website: Leslie Samuel got his dream job as a biology professor due to his blog. Allison Hitz, who also got hired due to her blog, claimed that employers were more interested in her blog than in her Master’s degree.
If you haven’t fully embraced technology yet, creating a blog isn’t difficult or complicated; you don’t have to code or buy special software. You can do it on your phone/tablet. You simply need to familiarize yourself with WordPress and make use of resources like this one to help you setup your blog.
- Demonstrate Your Expertise
We can’t ignore what is perhaps the biggest challenge any fresh college graduate has — lack of proof of your abilities.
Most employers won’t want to hire a fresh college graduate due to lack of job experience, but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. The solution is to be creative at demonstrating your ability; potential employees only need to see that you’re capable, and you’ll soon be hired. A good case study about this is Alec Brownstein’s. In an attempt to get hired by advertising agencies, Brownstein purchased Google ads and targeted the names of major advertising executives to declare his interest in being hired; since these executives naturally Google their names regularly, they had to come across his offer at a point. By demonstrating his expertise he got hired in no time.
- Focus on What You Can Offer the Employer
Again, as a new college graduate it is very easy to make the mistake of making it all about you; you need to very carefully avoid that mistake. Instead of talking about your dreams, your purpose, what you want to do, what you want your future to be like, etc, talk about how you think the company you’re applying to fits in into the world, and how you being employed by them can further enhance this role and increase their potential. Make it more about your clients and less about you, and you’ll snag your dream job in no time.
John Stevens is a world-renowned consultant and regular contributor to major publications including Entrepreneur and Adweek. He is the founder of Hosting Facts, a portal that provides unbiased reviews of the best web hosts.