Job Search Tactics for Recent College Grads
by Kevin Donlin
Just graduated from college? If you're hitting the streets in search of your first job, you may find it slow going in this economy.
Here are three tips for finding that first job faster, based on the advice of career experts and my experience advising 2,000+ job hunters.
1) Don't sit back -- be aggressive
"In this job market, don't wait for placement firms or prospects to respond to your mailed resumes," advises Paul Richard DiModica, President of DigitalHatch, a sales training and consulting firm.
"Deal with decision makers only. Call the VP of the department you want to work in and ask for an appointment. Never deal with HR -- they do not make decisions and are more 'resume traffic managers,'" says DiModica.
The more persistent and proactive you are, the better. Sure, you might get the phone slammed in your ear once or twice. But the more "Nos" you hear, the closer you are to that one "Yes" that comes with a job offer.
2) Research for insights
The more you know about the company you want to work for, the better you can tailor your resumes and cover letters to hit them right between the eyes. And the better you'll do in a job interview.
"Research the company you are trying to seek employment with. Review their earning statements and Web site. Gain an understanding of who their customers are and what they want and need," says Richard Schuttler, Ph.D., Associate Dean at the University of Phoenix.
The more extensively you research a company, the more intelligently you can approach them with potential solutions to their problems. (Remember -- never think: "Give me a job." Think: "Here's how I can help you.")
3) Plug into your network
Networking is both the most effective and most overlooked tool in every job seeker's tool kit, no matter what your age or experience level.
Here are three uncommon ways to network better, according to Paul Richard DiModica:
- Contact your religious leaders -- they are networking experts. Ask for help reaching decision makers at target companies in your community. If your own leaders can't help you, perhaps their colleagues in another congregation can -- just ask!
- Contact the head of the chamber of commerce in your city. Buy that person lunch at their favorite restaurant, then ask for advice and introductions. Take notes!
- Make a list of 50 companies you like best. Call the switchboard and get the name of the VP you would work for, then call that VP and ask for a 20-minute appointment (it can help to buy lunch here, too). If you've researched the company ahead of time (and you must!), you can wow them with your knowledge and ideas.
Here's hoping these pointers help you make that all-important leap from college student to full-time employee!
Kevin Donlin owns and operates Guaranteed Resumes. Since 1995, he has provided resumes, cover letters and online job-search assistance to clients. He is the author of The Last Guide to Cover Letter & Resume Writing You'll Ever Need, a do-it-yourself manual with sample cover letters and resumes.