Career advice for college students
The following is a great article for college students who graduating soon and are faced with the daunting prospect of finding employment:
How college students can prepare for the job market (minnesota.publicradio.org)
It contains advice from career experts Lindsey Pollak, author of Getting from College to Career: Your Essential Guide to Succeeding in the Real World, and Steven Rothberg, president and founder of CollegeRecruiter.com.
I’ll discuss two points from the article in greater detail:
Sitting behind your computer looking for job openings isn’t good enough anymore. “Probably in an economy like this, roughly 80 to 90 percent job openings are unadvertised,” Rothberg said. “If you’re in that 80 to 90 percent who only apply to the advertised openings, you’re with the masses chasing after a very, very small pool of openings.”
The Internet can be great for finding career opportunities, but the vast majority of job openings are unadvertised and come from word of mouth. To find all the opportunities you can, you need to ask your connections (friends, relatives, alumni, etc.) if they know anybody who might be hiring.
Some companies pay their employees a bonus if they find an employee for their company, which would make your connections all the more likely to help you.
A resume handed to a recruiter by a trusted colleague still works best. “If you have a real person who you know, who knows you, and can vouch for you and recommend you, who personally hands your resume to that recruiter, you are suddenly at the top of the stack of resumes,” Pollak said.
As I’ve discussed in my blog post on networking, the problem with résumés and cover letters is their impersonality. They’re just a series of words that list your skills and achievements. And employers aren’t hiring a bunch of words; they’re hiring a person.
So if employers have an impression of you as a person from somebody who really knows you well, that impression will make you stand out. The best reference wouldn’t be a friend or relative (since employers would perceive them as being biased towards you), but somebody you’ve either worked with or studied under: an employer, co-worker, professor, or teaching assistant.
The article also contains a tweet from a hedge fund analyst that demonstrates the importance of being at the right place:
I’m a barista turned bartender turned hedge fun [sic] analyst. It’s about being where the bosses are: the right bars, shops etc.
My final piece of advice for college students is that no matter how impossible finding a job in this economy might seem, it’s certainly doable. I have many friends who have found jobs, and though you might be rejected more in this economic climate, you have to maintain faith in yourself and keep applying.