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Now the “Real Work” Begins

By: Glenn Calder
College finals are over, graduation celebrations have come to an end, and now the real work begins: finding a career! In today’s market, even the most experienced job seekers are having difficulty finding employment. Not only are companies not hiring en masse, some companies are continuing to eliminate jobs. For new graduates, this poses a big challenge. Not only are they competing against other top graduates, but also with experienced professionals, who are out of work. Landing your first job out of college is stressful in any job market. But, it is particularly stressful in today’s market, when jobs are scarce and employers are hesitant about hiring.

Here are a few ideas for those of you who are having a difficult time or are unsure where to even start:

  • Start With an Internship: This is a great way for you to gain some valuable "real world" experience while looking for your full time career. Even if it's unpaid, the experience you gain and the connections you make will be well worth it. It may even lead to full time employment if you perform well and a suitable permanent position becomes available.
  • Network: Stay in touch with friends, classmates, professors, family and anyone else you may already know or meet along the way. Especially focus on those that are currently working. Send an e-mail asking if they might be able to help you or if they know anyone who can. Be sure to include all of your contact information and the best way for them to reach you. Utilize those popular social media sites to reach out, keep your name in front of people and Network, Network, Network!
  • Look the Part: Remember, it’s important to make the right impression and that impression begins the second you send out your resume. Make sure you have a professional resume that is free from typos and formatting errors. First time job seekers may choose a functional resume, which highlights your abilities, rather than your specific work history. Be sure your e-mail address and voice mail message portray that same professional image. Dress to impress! Buy a business suit and wear it to every interview. Looking and living the part will allow people to see you as a true professional.
  • Be Knowledgeable: Once you have landed an interview, familiarize yourself with the company. Research as much as you can about the company and any of the people you expect to meet with. Understand exactly what the company does, how long they’ve been in business and any other pertinent information. Check out their website, read news articles and talk to any current or past employees that you know. The more you know, the bigger impression you will leave.
  • Don't Get Discouraged: Finding employment is never easy so set realistic expectations and recognize you may have to start at the bottom and work your way up. Keep an open mind. You may find something within a company or industry you have never thought of before. So, do not count anything out. Be prepared to face rejection. The fact of the matter is, you will likely face rejection during your job search. It is how you handle that rejection that will either keep you going or hold you back. Just be sure to be proactive, persistent, and professional. Remain confident and committed to your job search. The right job is out there waiting. So, take what you’ve learned, get out there, find it and land it!

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