Considering that 53% of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed, seeking creative ways to gain entry into a chosen field makes more sense now than ever before.
Having consulted with numerous recent college graduates about their job prospects as they emerge from college life into this awful economy, you would think that their outlook would be rather gloomy. Not so for these recent graduates though — they are finding inspired ways to distinguish themselves from the rest of the sizable pack to gain entry into their chosen career field.
If you want to find the shortest path to gainful employment in this economy, therefore, try applying one of the techniques I learned from these new entrants into the job market:
- Work for Free
One graduate has been volunteering for a political campaign while also waiting tables at a local restaurant. Politics is her career track, so while she yearns for a permanent position, she is capitalizing on a presidential election year to gain valuable experience and exposure to people who will be hiring if her campaign wins.
Usually you intern at an organization before you have a degree, but some graduates are checking their egos at the door and working in internships to meet the right people, learn the trade, and build positive credentials. One graduate I spoke with is trying to get into the elite athletic training field, so he moved halfway across the country for a summer internship. He is so grateful for the opportunity and experience I have no doubt that he will be scooped-up for a permanent position at the end of the summer. He is also built like a Mack truck and has a big smile that should be present in every front office.
- Research Prospects
When you do score job interviews, invest at least two hours researching the organization you are pitching to hire you. In order to best position yourself, walk in the door of a prospective employer understanding his or her problems and convincing the would-be boss that you are the solution. Make a connection between their standing in the marketplace and your skills and your commitment to fuel their success.
- Sell Yourself
Until you are employed, you should consider your chief role to be sales – selling yourself to the highest bidder. This means whether you are at a networking event or walking into an interview, you should act with class, style, and grace at all times. Give direct eye contact, speak clearly, concisely, and articulately, and place your complete focus on the other party, even when you are highlighting your own attributes.
- Take the Bird in the Hand
Another graduate had interned for the past four summers with a beer distributor, despite the fact that his degree and passion are in physical education. Since he was offered a permanent job with the beer distributor at a decent starting salary and benefits, he decided to launch a career in that field with the goal of becoming a manufacturer’s representative, and will reserve his degree path as a back-up option as needed and as a weekend avocation. Sometimes it is best to hold onto the bird in the hand, considering the fate of so many other young job seekers in this economy.
As you can sense, gloom and doom does not describe the state of mind for many recent graduates I have had the pleasure to meet. In addition to their hard-earned sheepskin on the wall, these job candidates have a lot of ambition and humility which will serve them well in scoring permanent employment soon.