20 Job Search Tips for 2012 College Graduates

by Rich DeMatteo



I want to tell you about a conversation that I once overheard.  The day was March 15, 2005, my college graduation day.  A roommate’s dad was talking to my mother and father when I heard him say…

I wanted to bring a 2X4 (lumber), write “LIFE” on it, and use it to smack Billy right across his forehead the moment he received his diploma

I was certainly too confused and overwhelmed with my current newfound life situation to understand how true that joke actually was.  For many, graduation signals a new life.  For some it’s a tougher life.  For most (if not all) it’s the official birth of a professional — but only after they do land that first job.

When I graduated, the job market was much easier to break into than it is now.  The “life” 2X4 induces much more pain for graduates these days, so here are 20 Job Search Tips for the current or soon to be 2012 Graduates:

1.  Use Linkedin:  Spend serious time on Linkedin.  Build connections, join groups related to your industry, and apply for jobs through Linkedin.  If you spend 10 hours on Facebook per week, try popping onto Linkedin for 5 hours.

2.  Visit Your School Career Center:  Your career center is not only free, but people there are very helpful.  Take advantage of their tips, advice, and employer connections.

3.  Focus Your Job Search:  Don’t apply to everything you see.  Focus your search on one or two specific areas.  Applying to too many jobs is sloppy and employers will take notice.

4.  Practice Interviewing With Friends:  Get a group of 2-3 friends together and meet once a week to practice interview questions.  Critique each other and offer feedback.

5.  Buy Your Interview Clothes Before Graduating:  You might already have nice clothes for an interview, but it’s always a nice feeling to buy a new suit and feel mentally prepared for something great to happen.  Don’t want to get a call on a Tuesday for an interview on Thursday and feel unprepared to look the part.

6.  Have a Plan:  Write out a little job search plan.  List the companies you really want to work for, the geographic locations you like, and pick specific times of the week to designate for the job search.

7.  Don’t Have a Plan:  Hey, some people just can’t plan, and that’s OK.  Just make sure to not lose focus of the one or two areas that you’re SURE you want to work in.

8.  Set a Professional Voicemail on Your Phone:  A standard voicemail will work just fine.

9.  Check Your Facebook Privacy Settings:  Turn your wall comments off, disable photo tagging, and set everything to a minimum of “Friends of Friends”.

Tips 11 – 20 and complete article

Get a new job? 10 tips for new grads

Job seekers, particularly those just finishing school, have a lot more control over their situations than they acknowledge. Even in a competitive economy, there are steps to take to help land a new job successfully Check these off your list to get on the road to job search success!

1. Apply for the right jobs. Study job descriptions and highlight the parts describing you.


2. Research companies seeking your skills. Use LinkedIn’s Skills section to help choose suitable organizations.


3. Create and cultivate a professional online presence. Jobvite’s 2011 Social Job Seeker Survey reports 89 percent of companies will use social networks as part of their hiring plans this year. Consider creating and maintaining your own professional website like a social resume.


4. Network in person. Join professional organizations (many will have student or new professional rates) and attend events where you can expect to meet prospective hiring managers and mentors.


5. Practice your pitch. Be able to tell people what you do, why it’s important to them, and about your accomplishments. Narrow down these talking points to a 30-second introduction.

Tips 6 – 10 and complete article

A pre-graduation job search action plan

By Robert Half International


Graduating from college soon? As the “real world” looms, keep in mind these words of wisdom from Thomas Edison: “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.”

While a lucky few from the Class of 2012 will secure employment opportunities with minimal effort, the majority of graduates will need to work hard to launch their careers. Use your remaining time in school to your advantage by following these 10 job-search steps:

1. Keep it clear and concise. Some recent graduates try to compensate for a lack of experience by filling their résumés with overly verbose language. Others bump up the font size or triple-space the document to make it appear more impressive. Skip the typographical tricks and put away the thesaurus. A short and sweet résumé written in plain English is better than one brimming with extraneous phrases and fancy five-dollar words.

2. Fine-tune your résumé. The résumé remains the go-to document for employers, so make sure it’s clearly organized and error free. While professors might have overlooked a typo in research papers, hiring managers may not be as forgiving. Proofread diligently and ask detail-oriented classmates, mentors and counselors in the career services department to check your work for both content and clarity.

3. Adapt your pitch. Once you have a rock-solid résumé to work from, customize it for each company you contact. It may sound like a pain, but this step is critical. Research the company, pay close attention to the words the company uses in the job posting, and incorporate these terms as appropriate. Tweak your pitch by highlighting strengths most relevant to that specific opportunity. For one role, you might play up the niche software skills you honed during an internship, while for another open position you might emphasize your communication and collaboration skills.

4. Cover your bases. Think writing cover letters is old school? Think again. In a Robert Half survey, 91 percent of employers interviewed said cover letters are valuable when evaluating job applicants. Your cover letter should demonstrate your knowledge of the company and expand upon your most pertinent selling points. Think of it like an introduction to your résumé. And, at just two to three paragraphs in length, a cover letter can be fairly quick to craft. There’s no reason to skip it.

5. Polish your online image. Operate under the assumption that employers will search the Web for additional information about you. Clean up any digital debris floating around Facebook, Twitter or blogs. That means deleting questionable content and checking your privacy settings. Also, it’s increasingly important to have a presence on LinkedIn. Students and recent college graduates represent the site’s fastest-growing demographic.

Read Tips 6 – 10 and the complete MSN article

50 Career Tips for College Students

College teaches you how to think.  However, unless you are engaged with your campus Career Center, college teaches you virtually nothing on the subject of career development.  Think about how many courses you took in your major, and then think about how many semester-long courses you took on career development?  A rare few colleges offer, at most, one or two courses on the topic.  You spend time more time at work than in any other aspect of your life, but college teaches you barely anything on how to start, build and manage your career.  Without the Career Center, you will be left on your own to figure out what you are suppose to do with your life.  The transition is difficult because there is no syllabus for success.  Here are my 50 tips to prepare you for the realities of working.

  1. Go to the Career Center on campus at least once a semester and then every month when you are a senior.
  2. Believe in yourself, believe in something and have someone believe in you.
  3. Success comes from inside of you.
  4. In addition to your college degree, employers will want to see multiple internship experiences.  Your competition has them.
  5. Start building your resume early in your college career.  Don’t wait until you get back from spring break of your Senior year.
  6. Be nice to your faculty.  You’ll need them someday to serve as a reference for graduate school or a job.
  7. Get clarity and focus on the three types of jobs you will pursue: 1) Ideal Jobs, 2) Back-Up/Realistic Jobs, and 3) Survival Jobs.
  8. Come up with your own personal and professional definition of success and don’t let anyone else define it for you.
  9. Your first job is a period of adjustment.  It’s like being a freshman all over again.  Be patient and learn the ropes.
  10. Think of your first job as a stepping-stone that can help you get closer to your Ideal Job.

The 10 Worst Mistakes of First-Time Job Hunters

By Kelly Eggers



If you’re in your final year of college, be warned: the rumors about landing a job in this economy are true. You should be taking steps today, not next semester, to prepare yourself.

An April 2011 survey conducted by Braun Research on behalf of Adecco Staffing U.S. found that 71% of 500 recent four-year college graduates would have done something differently to prepare for the job market. While companies will hire 9.5% more graduates from the class of 2012 than they did from the 2011 graduating class, according to another poll, employers are still looking for the pick of the litter.
“When you’re not familiar with the job market or job seeking, you really don’t know how much effort it will take,” said Kathy Kane, senior vice president of talent management for Adecco NA,
To find out what students can do to better prepare for the current job market, we spoke with career coaches, recruiters and recent graduates.

“I would have started looking for jobs earlier.”
Putting off your job hunt isn’t a wise move. Among the Adecco survey’s respondents, 26% said they would have started looking for potential positions earlier.
“It’s easy to fall into ‘my weekend starts on Thursday’ mode, rather than ‘I’ve got to put my job search into full gear today’ mode,” said Kane, “but procrastinators will have fewer choices.”
Most students don’t start thinking about their careers until they have to, said Lindsey Pollak, a career expert who focuses on Generation Y in the workplace. “There’s so much you can do that’s not a lot of work and not overly time consuming.”
“I would have actually networked.”


For students and older professionals alike, networking can feel like the most dreaded part of a job hunt. Twenty-nine percent of respondents to the Adecco survey said they would have spent more time building a solid professional network.
“Networking can be scary,” said Pollak, “but about 70% of jobs are found through networking.” Students who spend their time trolling job boards should instead spend that time making solid connections with people who are respected and involved in the workforce, industry experts and alumni, and spend only 30% of their time looking at job listings.
For the most part, Pollak said, people love to help students. As long as you are gracious and thankful and not trying to hard-sell yourself right off the bat, potential connections are likely to be receptive.

“I would have taken on a job or an internship in addition to my courseload.”
Bottom line: There’s no substitute for experience.

Having some professional experience under your belt before entering the workforce has become a necessity for many employers.

“I don’t know a company that doesn’t want people with internship experience,” said Pollak. “My advice is to get yourself through the recession any way you can, and come out with whatever experience you can.”

Look for internships that provide college credit or are paid. Otherwise, gain work experience in a setting such as waiting tables — and talk with people at each and every table. “There are CEOs who started networking while they were waiting tables,” Pollak said.
If you can’t find a full- or part-time position on- or off-campus, try going to the Internet for virtual work. “There are jobs you can get without even leaving your dorm room,” Pollak said, including maintaining someone’s social media outlets, working as a copyeditor or building a website for a small business. Many of these types of jobs have flexible hours, an added benefit for busy students.

“I would have gotten more involved in career-relevant extracurricular activities.”


Read The Complete FINS Article

Why College Students Should Join LinkedIn

By Miriam Salpeter

LinkedIn is the best designated professional network and the first social network job seekers should consider using to find opportunities. Yet job seekers without much workforce experience may wonder whether LinkedIn is useful for them. If you don’t already know a lot of people who are using LinkedIn, it is easy to underestimate its potential value.

Less experienced job seekers don’t flock to LinkedIn in the same numbers as other networks, such as Facebook, but joining early, learning how LinkedIn works, and connecting with professional contacts throughout your college career will help you later. You may have a work-study or part-time job, enjoy a good relationship with your supervisor, but not want to be friends on Facebook. What better way to connect and stay in touch than LinkedIn?

Making a concerted effort to grow your online network will help support your job hunting efforts today and in the future. In a transient environment, when people do not always stay in one job very long, connecting via LinkedIn helps you keep track of contacts who might serve as references or refer you to opportunities later.

LinkedIn says approximately 200,000 college students join every month, encouraging companies to use the site to recruit internship and entry-level positions. You don’t want to miss those opportunities by not having a profile.

LinkedIn even has a student portal. The LinkedIn blog explains the benefits of the portal:
• Recommends jobs based on your education and interests. You’ll be able to get email alerts and notifications on your LinkedIn home page.
• Helps LinkedIn’s network help you. Adding connections via LinkedIn is probably a lot easier than you thought. You can even import your email lists and see who is available on LinkedIn. The company suggests looking first at alumni (who may be hiring), friends, and family members. If you don’t know a lot of people using LinkedIn, tell your friends to join and then connect with them. You may be surprised by how quickly your network can grow.
• Helps you research companies via LinkedIn’s company pages. Find out what they do, types of people they hire, and what people say about them.

More advice and complete USNews article