By Deborah Federico
Commencement speeches have been made, graduation caps have been tossed in the air, graduation parties have come and gone. For a brief moment, you basked in the congratulatory glow of family and friends and felt a well-deserved sense of accomplishment. But now that the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” are a distant memory, the harsh reality of having to find a job is probably making you feel more than a little anxious.
Do you feel like you’re the only recent graduate without a job lined up? You’re not alone…not only in terms of feeling this way but also in terms of the fact that you are not the only recent grad who doesn’t have a job. Many seniors I work with often report to me in an anxious tone that “everyone else already has a job.” After I quickly dispel that myth, I explain that when colleges report employment statistics to national media, they report them six months after graduation. Why? Because they know that it can take up to six months after graduation for recent grads to find jobs. While that may sound a bit discouraging, it should give you hope that there are still jobs out there and many more to come over the summer months.
So what can you do to increase your chances of joining the ranks of the employed? Simply follow my advice, which has been proven to help recent grads to find a job after graduation.
Visit your college’s career center
It’s very easy to get discouraged during your job search, and having a coach who can see things objectively and keep you on your career track is critical. Get out of your room and make an appointment with an advisor or counselor at your college’s career services office. In addition to the obvious ways that your advisor can help you in your job search, the biggest benefit of meeting with an advisor is that he or she can coach and motivate you onto job search victory.
If you can’t physically visit your college’s career center, then you can visit them virtually. Many centers now conduct Skype counseling sessions, or use chat and IMing features to work with students. Counselors can also edit your resume and cover letters electronically, using the Word tracking feature.
Another tremendous benefit of visiting your career center is that they can tell you when new jobs come in and, yes, new jobs are still coming into career centers. The career center where I work, we get new jobs coming in on a weekly, if not daily, basis which I pass along to recent grads who are still looking. Obviously, career counselors can only pass along jobs to students they know so it’s in your best interest to “get known” by your college’s career services office.
Keep busy, stay motivated
If you stay home all day watching television or constantly checking your friends’ Facebook updates, It’s easy to lose momentum and motivation in your job search. Find ways to keep busy and be productive. By having something to do each day, it will not only keep you positive and energized, but it will also demonstrate to prospective employers that you have been making good use of your time since graduation.
Consider doing internships. Some can lead to permanent positions, but even if they don’t, you’ll be gaining additional experience and building your resume. If you can’t find an internship, you can create your own or volunteer for a company or organization that you would like to work in. Most companies can always use the extra help.
I know you’ve heard this a gazillion times, but networking really does work! Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job—friends, relatives, neighbors, people at the gym, Facebook friends, etc. You never know where a job lead will come from.
Attend professional association meetings and conferences relevant to your field. Not only will you be making connections and tapping into the hidden job market, but you’ll also get more energized from being immersed in an environment with others who share your career-related interests. You’ll also be honing your ability to intelligently converse with industry professionals.
Establish a LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn has over 100 million users—shouldn’t you be one of them? Having a LinkedIn profile is becoming a must for new grads as more and more recruiters Google you. In fact, many students establish a profile while they’re still in college. Everyone needs to be aware of their web presence these days. By having a LinkedIn profile, your virtual impression will be one of professionalism.
Perhaps you already have a LinkedIn profile, but don’t know what to do with it? Many students tell me this. In my next article to be published in July, I will be giving more specific pointers on how to effectively utilize LinkedIn in your career planning. For now, make sure to establish a profile and fill out your profile sections. If your resume is all set, all you need to do is copy and past the sections from your resume in their LinkedIn counterparts.
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So get off that couch or computer right now. Start doing the things I mentioned above and your cell phone will be ringing with calls from employers for interviews. After that, you’ll probably start feeling anxious again…but at least this time it will be for something good!
Deborah Federico is an Assistant Director of Undergraduate Career Services in the School of Management at Boston University. Prior to her career in higher education, Deborah worked in the corporate world, primarily doing marketing and market research. She blogs about career advice here and her LinkedIn profile is here.