Key Job Tips for New Grads

Monday, May 10, 2010

The graduating class of 2010 will face a job market that is challenging, to say the least, although it has shown some recent signs of improvement.  

But as grads enter the competitive employment field, they’ll be wise to heed a few tips that could enhance their efforts in finding work, career experts say.

“Regardless of the economy, college-graduating, entry-level candidates need to understand all the strategies of job searching,” said Karen Lingrell, a career services expert at the University of West Georgia.

“A flexible, tailored resume, cover letters, networking and informational interviews are some of the key elements,” she said.

Lingrell also stressed the importance of applying for jobs with a specific strategy.

“A thorough understanding of how to do industry and company research is vital. Always get to the company Web site rather than utilizing the list serves of Monster, Career Builder and Yahoo,” she said.

And as most job seekers know, a strong resume is essential.

“Tailor the resume and letter to each individual job; the days of sending 50 resumes with a click of a key are gone,” Lingrell said.

Job seekers should also understand that unemployment remains high and job-growth rates are low, but opportunities do still exist.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, hiring of entry-level candidates has increased 5 percent over last spring.

“Candidates need to be realistic about job openings. There are peak industries and even companies doing competitive hiring. Knowledge of this is crucial,” Lingrell said.

The job search is deliberate but does not need to be desperate, Lingrell said. Candidates should seek guidance from mentors and others with whom they wish to network in the job market.

But it’s important to maintain professional protocol.

“The day after graduation, candidates can’t transmit a Facebook or Linked In status that blurts,’Yea! I’m a graduate – please hire me!’ ” Lingrell said.

Ultimately, face-to-face connections, keywords on resumes and “sweating the small stuff,” during every stage of the search is going to help make graduating candidates stand out, Lingrell said.