For 2012 Grads: 10 Best Job Tips From Around the Web
Basic Tools for Grads
Everyone knows the job market is tough for graduates this year.
You've already heard how the handicap of starting out in a bleak economy can stay with you virtually for life, in the form of lower salaries and job satisfaction, a National Bureau of Economic Research study reports.
But the same data says that each class gets a fresh chance: each class leaving college gets to press the 'restart' button on the economy. A grad's first goal is to re-set expectations based on today's reality.
The question is, how? Each year, experts compile lists of job tips for grads with advice that often sounds the same. But job tips can change with hiring trends and graduates' skills, so we culled the lists to create a 'best of the best for job tips" that apply specifically to this year's class. We found some key changes from two years ago, when the downturn seemed bottomless. Now they are telling grads to be prepared for improvement.
There are some signs of improved hiring in the job market. But hiring eperts still aren't offering much hope that this year’s graduates will do much better than recent classes. In a gloomy survey released earlier this year, Rutgers said only 51 percent of graduates from 2006 to 2011 have fulltime jobs. These young people are "facing historic obstacles."
Hiring of grads hit a low for the downturn in 2010 and "improved only modestly" afterward, said the Economic Policy Institute in a study released earlier this year. More worrisome, it found, "Graduating in a bad economy has long-lasting economic consequence."
Hiring experts have amended their 'best job tips" to reflect the hard realities of this job market. The advice dispensed a few years back about cultivating your "personal brand" seems a little high-concept. With gloom thickening over the landscape like a glacier, grads are being told to focus simply on how to survive in a chilly environment. Here are our updated tips for today:
1. Don’t get discouraged.
“The key is to maintain realistic expectations from day one, but do not get put off when your dream job doesn’t arise overnight” said BuildCareerInfo.comin its Ten Best Tips for Graduates. “Something will eventually come from all those letters.”
2. Go Forth and Apply. Gap year is so last year.
“The biggest mistake students can make is thinking they have plenty of time, or that the jobs will come to them,” says Lindsey Pollak, author of Getting From College to Career in a list of Mainstreet.com. “In this economy in particular, you have to be extremely proactive and the earlier you start, the better your chances.”
3. Location. Location. Location. Jobs are this year’s real estate.
Graduates are learning to read the landscape of America to take advantage as regional markets re-emerge from the recession at different speeds. As a result, this year’s top job tips list is heavily focused on helping grads find job-friendliest places to locate. Best place to find a job? Look beyond destination sites like San Francisco, New York and Boston. Find towns or regions with promise not yet discovered and easier on the budget. The good news is that some communities are actually competing for America’s best and brightest. Once a destination for newlyweds, the city by the falls, Niagara, N.Y., plans to lure grads by paying off their student loans. You can’t get much friendlier than that. They have experience making newcomers feel welcome. They always offered umbrellas for people visiting the falls.Do Liberal Arts Majors Need to Apply?
Studies and surveys show that many students wished they’d taken something more fertile l than liberal arts field. So what advice does a corporate recruiter who worked in the oil patch have to say to your favorite English major? You don’t need to have training as a seismologist or an oil rig roustabout. Use your communication skills wisely. Ex-Exxoner Andrea Wilbur is publishing a new book “101 Things They Don’t Teach You About the Corporate Word.” Her site The Hired Graduate has been issuing tips that are more about going back to the basics than striking out for West Texas. USA Today adapted this to make their own Top 10 Tips for Job-seeking Grads. (Tips No. 4 through No. 7 come from this site)
4. Don’t Be Shy About Using Your College Network
You relied upon Frat Brothers and Sisters for wakeup calls, to play ‘wing’ for you at parties and to read your papers and poetry. It is not gauche to keep in touch about jobs. Wilbur says be "fearless and gracious" in requests for help. Mock interviews anyone?
Don’t forget the most important lesson you learned about learning. Keep your focus . “Hone your elevator pitch,” do research (History majors take note) so you can customize your resume to suit specific your job targets. Filter out the time sucks, jobs that are clearly not for you, and manage opportunities that arise.