With college graduation only a few short weeks away, we have collected some fabulous advice for this year’s graduating class.
Monique Harps, Sr. Supply Chain Analyst at American Airlines
Begin building your professional network on Linkedin.com. Too often we know someone who knows someone that would be able to help us with job searches or career advancements. We miss out on the connection because we didn’t take the time to build and manage our networks. Networks need to be developed all the time, so that they are ready when you really need them.
Be accountable for you own career path and progression. Do not wait for other inside or outside of the organization to recognize you or coach you to the next level. Seek knowledge, training and a mentor.
Michael Hermens, President of Hermens Finance
Graduates will find a tough job market, depending on your major. Those who have interned may have shortened their job search. One of the best investments of time you can make in your career is to walk across campus to the alumni hall and get involved with the alumni association. I get referrals from recruiters, direct inquiries from candidates and networking contacts from colleagues all the time. These are formal “I need a job” contexts that put us on the spot and usually don’t come out well for the job seeker. However, as universities are reaching out to alumni who are in decision making roles, students can utilize this medium to explore what’s out there and get help with their careers. Business professionals love the context of “I am learning about the job market, can you help me.” Plus, by having alumni status, you now have something in common to share with your contact. Even if you don’t get your first job through an alum, it is likely that you may get your second job that way, as long as you continue to be active in the network.
The biggest advice I would give to recent college graduates is to get active in social media, especially LinkedIn, Twitter, and Blogging. There are specialized communities that they can become involved with on LinkedIn and Twitter such as LinkedIn Groups and following like-minded professionals and sharing their content in Twitter. They can use their blog to establish credibility in the industry they are interested in by promoting their blog posts within Twitter and LinkedIn.
Recent grads should listen to what established professionals are saying within these communities. Not only will they gain valuable insight and knowledge, they will be prepared to answer very specific questions when it comes time for interviews.
Amanda MacArthur, Chief Marketing Farmer at BuzzFarmers
Before you can ever learn to market someone else’s business, you need to learn how to market yourself. This means buying your name as a domain name, and starting at least a simple website that features who you are, what you’ve done and what you can do.
Any student in marketing needs to be on the forefront of marketing technology, which means they need to attend social media networking events and start chumming up to their potential employers via social
media. I can’t tell you how many students I’ve seen lately who are getting their internships via Twitter and LinkedIn.
The first thing an employer is going to do, is Google you. If they’re lacking in the application department, they might even do this before you even come into your first interview. That means you need to own
page on in Google for your own name. Creating a website dedicated to your name, starting social media business accounts (Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.) are the first ways to get that going. You want those
types of accounts to show up before your Facebook, MySpace and Flickr accounts anyday. The more attention you pay to what shows up when you Google your name, the more likely you will be able to control how that first page looks.
Stacey Hawley, Principal and Owner of Credo
PREPARE. 1) Don’t assume that because of your GPA, school or work history you are a “shoe-in”. Also, don’t ever assume you know more about the company than its employees, no matter how many school projects focused on that company. 2) Practice interviewing – make sure answers are relevant to the role 3) Study the company thoroughly. If you can, learn about your interviewers. If it is public, read the latest analyst reports and investor releases – know the stock price! Know the mission and vision. Read anything you can get your hands on. 4) Practice again. Practice your answers. Practice your questions. 5) When the interview is done, reiterate your sincere interest in the role and how much you want the job 6) Send a hand-written “thank you”.
David McDonough, Director of Career Services, Clark University
SMALL TALK IS BIG BUSINESS WHEN IT COMES TO NETWORKING. Every one hunting for a job knows the importance networking. Members of the Class of 2011 are well into the hunt by now, or know they should be. Job fairs and networking events are attracting anxious crowds on campuses and off. Most often, eager job seekers dressed for success are too busy cutting to the chase. Slow down. Pause before handing over that resume. Taking time to simply chat, listen and share what may seem at the time to be non-essential tidbits of information can reveal a key that unlocks a personal connection or illustrates a talent or skill that leaves an impression that might lead to more serious consideration as a candidate for a position.
Beth Azor, Founder of Azor Advisory Services
The biggest piece of advice I would give to a recent college graduate, or a “soon to be” graduate, is: Pick a Company you want to work for, IE Google, Microsoft, Starbucks, etc …and even though they may not have a position available, offer to work for free…even if it is just getting the boss coffee!!! Trust me after 45 days of showing your work ethic, willingness, common sense, you will most likely get offered a job somewhere in the company. It never fails. Just get your foot in the door, and the rest is History! For income, valet cars at night, be a bartender/waitress, also in meantime….while you are working on this plan, go volunteer at a local food pantry, non-profit, so you can tell a future employer you are doing something valuable and worthwhile with your spare time, not wasting it away going to the beach, playing video games, being a couch potato!
Kristen Fischer, Author of Ramen Noodles, Rent and Resumes: An After-College Guide to Life
My advice is for college grads to get a “foundation job.” Regardless if you can’t get the job you want or not, the first job you take is critical to your success. Build skills during it so you can leverage it and move up the ladder—don’t just take any job solely to make money.
If you can’t get a job using your degree and are tempted to go back and flip burgers at the place you did in high school, or take another menial type of job, that could hold you back. Get a job where you’re building skills–either in the industry you want, or another field. Get a job that requires a degree. Even if you’re working in a role on the bottom of the totem pole at the company you want to work for eventually (or the type of company you want to work for), you are in that arena and cultivating skills. It may not be a rewarding job–first jobs hardly ever are–but you will be able to show that you have built up a skill set, not just earned money. You’re putting time in where you need to; otherwise you may wait a year, work a menial job and then start in that role a year later, when you could have been paying your dues.
Barbara Cooke, Author of Parent’s Guide to College and Careers: How to Help, Not Hover
Recent college graduates need to come out of the starting gate with a strong skills-based resume that focuses on what they can do for an employer. A good way to ensure you are on track is to have your resume reviewed by a hiring manager or human resources professional in a company you are not targeting for employment. Talk to family and friends to identify someone they know who works in HR or in a managerial position, and ask that person to review your resume. Does it give a clear picture of what you bring to the table? Does it detail how your education and work experience can benefit an employer? If not, what can you do to strengthen your resume so that employers will want to interview you for the job?
Marie Applegate Prasad, Founder of WiSo Resumes
Congratulations! You’re about to graduate college and enter the workforce. As a career coach, my number one advice for a new college graduate is to be persistent. It’s extremely important to follow up without being obnoxious. How do you do this, you wonder? Do it in different ways. Call the person you’ve interviewed with once a week, send an email to the person who scheduled the meeting to find out where they are in the hiring process, send an old school snail mail thank you card. Your goal is to keep your name and interview fresh in their minds so that when decision times comes, your name will be on top of the list
Alex Levine, Social Media Strategist at PACO Communications
Blog. No matter what field you are going into, blog. Write about industry news to show your potential employers that you take the time to learn about and stay current with the industry. If you go a step further and analyze that news, you really begin to show employers that you have unique, intelligent insights and thus would be of value to the company. Blogs also serve as living, breathing writing samples. If you blog once a week not only will you gain all of these benefits, but you will also show up in Google when people look for you (which employers often do). Instead of Facebook being the first thing they see about you, why not give them a professional blog to read? This will make you stand out from the thousands of other candidates that have graduated alongside you.
Carol Barash, PhDFounder + CEOStory To College
I always tell college graduates that they should get really good at knowing how to tell their own stories. It’s a vital way to connect with people during the hiring process, and build a foundation for leadership over time. So, they should think of ALL their college adventures – classes, jobs, clubs, volunteer work – as a set of stories that demonstrate who they are, where they’ve come from, and what they are capable of. Everybody has these stories, but the people who do best in the workplace are the people who learn how to shape and share them.