By Stephanie Broadhurst/The Mother List
As the American job market slowly recovers, many college students graduating next month won’t be walking off the podium with job offers.
Young adults have been hit especially hard by the economic recovery. In 2012, 44 percent of recent college grads with a bachelor’s degree were underemployed or working jobs that don’t require an advanced degree, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
“There’s no question that an advanced degree gives college graduates a tremendous leg up compared to those without one… and graduates typically find good work soon enough. It’s just a matter of how much of an advantage students demand right out of college, ” says Matt Stewart, an entrepreneur and spokesperson for College Works Painting.
Stewart suggests that college students consider taking jobs or internships that offer real-life challenges instead of just fetching coffee. That may mean taking a job with a smaller company where they gain more experience. On the other hand, name recognition in some industries can go far, so students should know their field and choose wisely between getting hands-on work and industry recognition. The goal is to develop leadership and time-management skills, and grow their list of job contacts.
Good internship experience is a must if students want to land a dream job, says Elizabeth Venturini, President and Founder of CollegeCareerResults. She suggests students consider taking a business etiquette class to learn about how to work with clients and network, as well as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and Strong Interest Inventory assessments to help them learn about their personality type and interests.
When students land a job interview, there are five important ways that they can stand out, says Holly Rodriguez, a communications professional in Richmond, Va.:
- Research, research, research. If you land an interview, don’t go in “cold.” Make sure you have researched the company — their website, their social media presence and, as an added bonus, their top two competitors.
- Find something in common. Before the interview even begins, talk about a generic topic to find common ground between you and your interviewer.
- Ask good questions. A job interview is not just a one-way street. You want to find out if this company is the right match for you as well. Having questions ready will show the person interviewing that you are not just a doer, but a thinker as well.
- Know your resume backwards and forwards. Be able to elaborate on each point of your resume in a concise 30 seconds each.
- Know Thyself. Be familiar with your strengths and weaknesses. This may sound old-school, but you want to acknowledge a positive weakness (ex. – sometimes I am a little too dedicated) and outweigh it with your positive attributes (I’m punctual, I’m detail-oriented).
“A motivational mindset will help you set yourself apart from others and be the candidate that hiring managers want to see, ” says Mike Provitera, author of Mastering Self-Motivation. “Match your skills to the job market and you should be fine.”
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