January 20, 2018

4 strategies to keep college grads off the unemployment rolls

4 strategies to keep college grads off the unemployment rolls - photo copyright 2012 Rick Sherrell

The job market for recent college graduates is definitely challenging: though new jobless claims have once again declined, NECN.com reports

“New government data shows that one in two new college graduates are either jobless or under-employed – a rude welcoming to the work world for the class of 2012.”

Nonetheless, there are opportunities out there: The StarTribune in Minnesota reports that, according to a March survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)…

  • Companies expect to hire 29,237 graduates this year, up 10.2 percent from 2011.
  • Internship offerings are up 8.2 percent from a year ago.
  • Job postings are triple what they were in 2010.
  • The median starting salary for the class of 2012 jumped 4.5 percent to $42,569 from a year ago.

But the market is still tight, and this means that new graduates will have to put all of their skills and a lot of patience to work for them as they enter the job market. One of the best ways to do this and maximize your chances of securing a job offer is to take advantage of strategies and tools, including new tech tools, to organize job search materials, network, and apply for positions.

Here are 4 strategies to help keep you off the unemployment rolls:

1. Campus Services: Most colleges and universities have a career services office and offer career planning advice, job fairs, resume assistance, information about internships, and job boards. Before you leave campus, schedule an appointment with a career counselor at your school to find out what services they offer. You can also create your own virtual portfolio at services like Interfolio.com, where for a small annual fee you can save all your transcripts, work samples, and resumes in a virtual file that you can send to employers when you apply for a job. Some schools may even have contracts with such documentation services, to offer reduced rates.

2. Alumni Networks: Though most new college graduates are short on cash, it might be worth it to join your college’s alumni association for the valuable networking opportunities it offers. For example, the University of Illinois Alumni Association Career Center offers graduates networking contacts, workshops, and access to job postings.

3. Social Media Networking: There are many new online options for graduates who want to market themselves to potential employers. You can sign up for Twitter updates from industry sites and recruiters, who may post job opportunities. LinkedIn has become one of the more popular sites among recruiters to search for job candidates. Check out Melissa Venable’s tips for using LinkedIn to get a job.

4. Research: Never go into a job interview, either over the phone or in person, without knowing as much as possible about the company you want to work for and the major trends in your field or industry. Business information sites like Hoovers.com, CorporateInformation.com, and newspaper websites like The Wall Street Journal can provide a wealth of valuable information about a company’s financial situation, personnel changes, etc. The ability to refer to these things during an interview will show employers that you are interested in working for them and not just trying to get any job.

While you pursue all of these tactics, the most important thing you can do is remain hopeful and enthusiastic. Employers are aware of how difficult the job market is, and they do not want to hear sob stories. Instead, they want to know what unique qualities you have that will help them grow their businesses and whether or not you are someone they can work with. A positive attitude can go a long way in attracting employers and keeping your own morale up as well!

Jill Rooney, Ph.D. is an Education Writer for OnlineColleges.net.  She earned a Ph.D. in History from the University of New Hampshire and has taught History, Political Science, and Film Theory for over twenty years. Dr. Rooney’s work has been published by the Smithsonian Institution, Oxford University Press, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Her teaching experience has taught her that all students really just want one thing: To learn. And that isn’t always easy, so she’s here to help! @JillRooney2jill@onlinecolleges.net.

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