This post is written by Carrie Wynne, the author of 10 Ways to be Deliriously Happy – How to Live an Inspired Life.
Graduating college is a special milestone, one that should be rewarded with lots of great career opportunities that align perfectly with your newly achieved educational credentials. Unfortunately, that notion isn’t realistic in today’s still-struggling economy, in which employers are wary of making high salary offers to new grads. Some aren’t hiring at all, making for a stingy job market.
So what’s a job seeker to do to stand out and overcome the challenges of a recovering workforce? For starters, you need to come to grips with the fact that you’re in charge of your own job search success. In other words, companies and employers will not come to you with offers just because you have a diploma.
While that might have been the case a generation ago, today’s job hunters have to be more proactive about branding themselves and networking their way into job opportunities. Just ask the 7.9 percent of recent grads who are unemployed, even in highly specialized fields like information systems and architecture.
That being said, here are three ways to stand out, recession proof yourself, and avoid becoming an unemployment statistic.
1)Put the Search for the “Perfect” Job on Hold
The idea that you were born to work for a particular company or in a specific role is great, but it’s also very closed-minded. Don’t limit yourself. Instead, keep an open mind about jobs in which you can apply your skills, talents, knowledge and passion, even if they are in somewhat different industries than you would normally target. And don’t balk at job openings at smaller companies, since those can give you a better chance for
And don’t balk at job openings at smaller companies, since those can give you a better chance for some hands-on experience than a larger corporation might. If nothing else, you’ll get some good job experience under your belt, while keeping your skills sharp and making connections that can lead to bigger and better things – perhaps even that dream job!
2) Live Up to Your Degree
The fact is, having a college degree – or even better, an advanced degree – is still a leg up on the competition. And, research shows that the more education you have, the higher your earnings potential is.
Similarly, unemployment rates climb for those with less education. Employers are desperate for skilled workers, especially those who bring to the table strong soft skills like leadership and the ability to communicate well. When meeting with potential employers, talk up the ways in which your education and internship/volunteer/work experience prepared you for the working world.
3) Use Your Network
One of the best ways to recession proof yourself in the job market is to have a strong network. You might not realize it, but you know a lot of people who could provide you with your next job lead. Whether it’s the career center at your alma mater, former classmates, your parents’ friends, or your neighbor’s brother, let everyone you know that you’re in the market for work, and that you’d appreciate any introductions they can make, or information that they can share.
Take a look at this infographic from MidAmerica Nazarene University for some sobering employment stats, along with expert tips for being a job-seeking standout.
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