It’s a rough job market for new college graduates right now. How rough? Well, since the pandemic hit, the overall unemployment rate is now roughly 7.7%...but WhatToBecome.com reports that about 53% of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. To beat these crazy odds—and you can—you’re going to need to take action immediately and call forth all the career resources at your disposal. Here are five job search survival tips to help you along.
1. Take advantage of your college career center
Sign up for every tutorial, workshop, private mentoring session, and any other form of job search assistance available to you through your college career center. Make personal friends with a counselor there and stay in touch. Make sure you know how to access all the newest job listings and stay on top of them vigilantly. Ask your friends at other schools to monitor the job openings available through their career centers for you and return the favor by making your friends aware of possible opportunities for them. In the business world, those who help others get ahead!
2. Join professional organizations
Join the main professional organization in your field of interest. Every career field has a national association dedicated to serving those in the industry. These organizations help members meet one another and keep up with the latest developments in the field. You need to figure out which organization serves your field of choice, join, and then learn everything you can about the business you are trying to enter. Read all their literature and commit to attending their annual conference if you can and local regional meetings regularly. How else are you going to meet the people with the influence and power to hire you? This is absolutely essential if you want to be taken seriously as a prospective member of a profession.
3. Be willing to do whatever it takes
In order to succeed in your job search during a difficult economy, you may need to be willing to go to extreme measures, like moving across the country. Are you prepared to move to a part of the US where unemployment is low? Right now, the center of the country has lower unemployment than the coasts. Limiting yourself to a particular location also limits your job search, so unless you absolutely cannot move right now, it's best to be open to new places and opportunities.
4. Get off of Facebook and onto LinkedIn
Facebook is for socializing and for fun, but LinkedIn is where business occurs. This is an important shift in social networking emphasis, and it’s time to make it. If you’re entering the job market, you need to have a professional LinkedIn presence and you need to start connecting with working adults in your professional field of interest to start building a viable network. Start adding your aunts, uncles, roommates’ parents, and friends’ parents to your LinkedIn network now.
5. Don’t go it alone
Your family, your alumni network, and your friends have a vested interest in seeing you succeed. Notify them all that you’re in the job market, be clear about the type of position you’re looking for, and ask them to keep you in mind if they hear of any opportunities that might be right for you. They may know of the perfect fit, but they won't be aware unless you notify them of your job search.
One of the bright sides of a recessionary economy is many of your friends are likely to be in the same boat as you all search for suitable employment. Be sure to avail yourself of all the encouragement, companionship, and assistance they offer you along the way. A difficult job search can really give your ego a beating. By pooling resources and supporting one another, you'll be able to make the transition from college student to employed independent adult more bearable and perhaps even enjoyable.
Find more helpful tips to land a job in our Internships and Careers section.