A small percentage of you were lucky enough to get recruited off campus and are ready to start your career. The rest of you are now preparing for the arduous task of finding a job, and many of you are scared and ill prepared.
So here are a few tips for you.
1: Set a Budget - Before you start to look for a full-time career opportunity talk with your family and see how much financial support you can expect from them, and for how long. Then determine how long you can financially afford to stay unemployed and if you also need to look for an interim part-time position to make ends meet. If you are not living at home budget your rent, utilities, food and entertainment and see if your savings and current income (if you have some) will cover them, and for how long.
You should also set aside money for the following pre-job search related expenses if you do not already possess these items. A means of transportation, two new interview outfits, a professional resume, a computer w/internet access, and a cell phone,
Also, if you do not have a credit card get one, this is your emergency fund. I suggest you get a credit limit of $750-$1000 to start, with as low an interest rate as possible. Don’t use this for anything non-job search related and only as a last resort.
2: Don’t Think Too Big – In the ideal world most of you would love to work for a large company with strong brand identity. However the job market today is more fertile for 2010 grads among the small and mid-sized companies. These are the companies to target.
3: Research The Market – Print out 15 jobs that you think would be appropriate for you and they do not have to be in your geographic location. Then review them all to see what the employers are looking for in a new hire and how well you match the requirements. If you do not have 75% or more of what they want, look for another type of job.
4: Take a Personal Inventory – Now that you know what the employer wants from you, underline the requirements and write down how well you fit each requirement based on your academics and any work experience you have. List all you business and personal skill sets and rate them on a scale of 1-10.
5: Start A Network – You all know people in the business world. Get in touch with them and ask them for advice. Work every contact you have. Don't be shy about checking in with contacts you've made. Personal referrals remain one of the strongest door openers to a job.
6: Start A Job Search Group – Get together with 4 or 5 good friends in the same position as you and start a support group. Meet at least once a week to set weekly goals and see if you achieved them. Share leads and network buddies. Share news articles. Discuss the interviews you had, what questions you were asked, your responses and what you learned. You can also share the research assignments and do mock interviews to help you get ahead.
7: Follow Up – Don’t let leads get cold, jump on them as soon as you hear about them. The same holds true to any network suggestions you receive. Most important follow up on every job interview and make the people you meet part of your network if they do not hire you.
8: Job Fairs – I don’t recommend them for people with 4 or more years experience but I have found that most universities and colleges, as well as industries and companies, host job fairs. These are terrific places to meet many opportunities in one location. Make sure that you have a great resume and dress sharp. You may also want to invest in some business cards. Vista Print will do them in color for a very low price.
9: Get a Part Time Job or Interim Staffing Assignment – I know you are anxious to get a full time offer; however, part time and temp work in the right environment can also help you make your mark at a company. It also helps pay the bills. You can also use this to work for more than more than one company and expand your experience and network.
10: Keep Positive – Looking for your first job can be a frustrating mess, but you need to keep everything in perspective and never lose confidence. You can change your focus and job search strategies week to week, but a positive attitude is the one constant you need to get to where you want to go.
Perry Newman, CPC CSMS is a nationally recognized executive resume writer, career coach, AIPC certified recruiter and SMMU certified social media strategist known for his ability to help his clients get results. You can view his sample resumes at http://www.perrynewman.com/, and email him your resume at firstname.lastname@example.org for FREE resume critique.