June 5, 2003
Tips for grads facing a tough job market
Special to NWjobs
"Every spring and summer we get flooded with thousands of resumes, all saying how much they want to work at Nike," reports a V.P. involved with Nike recruiting. "New grads enthusiastically state how they think Nike is the 'coolest.' Their fatal mistake," he continues, "is that they never elaborate on how they can keep us great. If they'd just cover what skills and strengths they'd bring to us that would benefit our company, they'd get an interview."
Starbucks reports it is receiving more than 900 resumes a day! A human resource manager from Airborne says, "We get thousands of resumes from new grads and few ever state a specific job they want to perform. Do they really think I'm going to spend my time figuring that out for them? Definitely not in the 15 seconds I have to glance at their resume before I move on to the next one."
Face it -- this year's job market is much tougher than years past. So, stand out by using these proven tips to help get your career launched:
- Define the job target. You must be decisive about the job you seek! Using your talents in a way that truly interests you is the most successful strategy for achieving long-term career success and job satisfaction. Investigate and research potential careers -- talk to people who are actually working at that job. Ask about the pros and cons of their work to determine the true reality of doing that job and not how you imagine it to be. Then make your decision and begin to search for specific openings.
- Master the job search process. The HR manager's job is to screen people out; so mailing them resumes probably won't get you the job. You want to reach the department managers making the actual hiring decisions. Few grads ever mail resumes directly to these managers, but those that do often land the quality jobs. Practice your interviewing to create good answers to potential questions. Your appearance must be transformed to project that of a qualified job candidate. Conservative suits are the right choice for both women and men.
- Target your skills. Create effective cover letters and a resume targeted to the specific job you seek. Advertise the abilities you already possess, such as: computer and communications skills, research ability, teamwork, customer service or organizational skills.
- Consider small businesses. Most hiring this year is with small employers and nonprofit companies so don't overlook them. Smaller businesses offer a chance to get more experience and develop your career faster. Ask friends and family for leads, plus check online job sites and the local Sunday paper for openings.
- Get experience. Temporary jobs are the answer. Two months of volunteering or interning can help you move into a better company, and a more interesting job because you'll have recent experience to add to your resume.
- Be picky. Choose a job in which you will learn a great deal from your new boss. Seek a person who appears to take an interest in you and your professional development. His or her mentorship and guidance will set the stage for future job growth, so select carefully.
Still not sure how to move forward? Take a job-search seminar, read books and consider consulting a career counselor for guidance.
Robin Ryan has appeared on Oprah, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, CNN, CNBC and is considered America's top career coach. She is the best-selling author of: 60 Seconds & You're Hired!; Winning Resumes; Winning Cover Letters, and What to Do with the Rest of Your Life. She's the creator of the highly acclaimed audio training program Interview Advantage and The DreamMaker. Robin's passion is helping people find better jobs which she successfully does through her career counseling practice where she offers individual career coaching and resume writing services. A popular national speaker, Robin has spoken to over a thousand audiences on improving their lives and obtaining greater success. To purchase products or contact Robin visit her Web site at www.robinryan.com.
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