For the Class of 2012: Top 10 Ways to Build a Career

by Vault Careers | May 17, 2012

1. Consider a change in scenery

A change of locale to where the jobs are might seem drastic, but can open the door to many opportunities. Increasingly, the areas with the greatest need for skilled workers are in places that recent college graduates used to abandon for the coasts such as Austin, Tex., Salt Lake City and Indianapolis.

2. Continue your training

While you may think that a college degree is the end of your education, many in-demand jobs require specialized training, such as advanced manufacturing or health care. Consider continuing your training with courses at your local community college. Today, in many cases, the programs are developed with a company’s talent needs in mind, which could lead to greater employment chances.

3. Keep your skills fresh

Whether you take a free class or educate yourself at home, always be learning something new. Once you leave the confines of school, you need to prove to employers that you are keeping abreast of the industry you want to work in.

4. Always be networking

It’s time to get out of your comfort zone, and start engaging with people whose careers or experiences match where you want to be, no matter their age or background. You will be surprised at how much you have to offer people of other generations – and how much they can help you.

5. Get found

Don't just pursue employers, but also position yourself to be found by them. New and exciting ways are helping new grads get found such as the Certified Business Laureate Exam, which distributes the resumes of the top 30 percent of test-takers to company recruiters. And of course, don't forget to create a solid presence on social media sites like LinkedIn and BranchOut that employers and recruiters frequently scout for skilled new talent.

6. Join the cloud

In today’s economy, being without a job doesn’t mean that you have to be without work. Just as companies are relying on computing in “the cloud” to access computer resources over the Internet, so too are companies increasingly relying on a new concept of work: talent in the cloud. This is where individuals can be hired through the Internet whenever needed for specific tasks rather than for permanent jobs on sites like elance.com. Individuals can build valuable skills, and quite a respectable income this way, eventually building enough credibility to increase the chances of landing a full-time job.

7. Turn a temporary job into an opportunity

Many recent grads are falling into the “underemployed” category, and taking jobs outside of their training just to pay the bills. Savvy recent grads will capitalize on these jobs and develop actionable results in innovative ways than can impress potential employers. A waitress, for example, could take initiative by redesigning the process flow at a restaurant, and sell herself to employers as having budding and valuable operations management skills.

8. Go after small firms

Gaining hands-on experience at a smaller firm can provide a wider range of skills and bolster your resume. Small companies have trouble reaching potential employees because they don't have the recruiting dollars that large companies have, so they often get fewer applicants and are always looking for fresh talent.

9. Do your homework

Understand which jobs and skills are in demand by employers now, and make sure you choose a career path accordingly. An Accenture survey revealed that only 20 percent of workers developed new skills in the past five years based on the needs of the job market. Take the time to realistically evaluate the career before you pursue it, so you don’t have to make an unwanted shift in your career path.

10. Enjoy the adventure of starting your career

There are many ups and downs to a career, and no one – not even the most successful among us – is immune to those emotions. The secret is to make sure that you start good habits early that allow you to manage through these ups and downs, and keep a positive attitude to help you have a rewarding experience for your entire working life.

David Smith is managing director of the Accenture Talent & Organization management consulting practice. He specializes in designing and developing talent and organization performance strategies and solutions for clients.

Filed Under: Job Search | Networking


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