As May approaches, we are getting closer to another crop of new college graduates looking for work. For many, this will be their first real job, so here are a few tips to pass along to those of you wide-eyed college grads about to get you first taste of what it's like to be a grown-up:
(excerpts from Kathy Kristoff of Moneywatch)
1. Edit your profile. Those drunken party photos might have impressed your Facebook friends, but now they could dissuade a prospective employer from hiring you. Recruiters do extensive web searches on people they intend to hire, including checking social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. If you've posted compromising photos or a stupid status update (i.e. Nice day. I think I'll call in sick and go to the beach...) it could cost you a job. Get rid of it.
2. Do your homework. Don't just figure that you can post a resume on a job board and find work. You ought to study all aspects of your chosen field and seek information about the companies doing business in that area. Go to the company web sites and see if they're posting open positions, too. If you send a resume, tailor it specifically to the job you're seeking.
3. Prepare to relocate. Live in a city where the job prospects are bleak? You can vastly increase your chance of getting work by seeking employment in other zip codes.
4. Set targets. Set goals every day for either sending out a set number of resumes; filling out a set number of applications or finding a set number of new opportunities. Don't hit the beach until you've hit your goal. You can't change the job market, but you can determine how hard you try. Trying harder than your peers makes you the one most likely to get work.
5. Be persistent. If you go to an interview and don't hear from the employer, follow up with a phone call. If they gave the job to another person, don't be angry -- be interested. Politely ask the hiring manager if he or she can tell you whether there was something that the other person did that particularly impressed them or something that you did wrong. If your approach is respectful and aimed at learning (rather than second-guessing their actions), they're likely to help you better position yourself for the next interview. And if they tell you that you were fine, the other person was just more qualified, don't be shy about asking them to keep you in mind for the next opportunity. If you don't have a job in three or four months, call again and see if anything has opened up.
6. Work your network. Ask your friends, your parents, your parents' friends, if they know of anything that would suit you. Check in with your college career office and attend their alumni functions. When there are hundreds of people applying for a given job, a personal referral can make your application stand out.
Best of luck to those of you in the Class of 2013, and hopefully a few of these tips can help you land that first job.