Just Out of College and No Job? What To Do Next

worried college studentMany of us have been there. You graduated and for whatever reason, you don’t have a job lined up. Maybe it’s the economy, maybe you are up against tough competition for the profession you chose, or maybe you were too focused on just getting through with a decent GPA that you missed out on the on-campus interviews. It doesn’t matter now, what matters is that you’ve graduated, and you have no income. It’s time to act! Now!

There are a multitude of ways of finding employment, so our suggestions aren’t going to be any any particular order. These are just items that are either a requirement for obtaining a job, or helpful in finding a job (or having a job find you).

Where’s the Résumé and What the Heck is a CV?

What we called a résumé in the ‘olden days’ is slowly being replaced with the Curriculum Vitae, or CV for short. What’s the difference between a résumé and a CV? A resume is a shorter document that briefly describes the applicant’s education, degrees and certifications as well as his/her job history as it relates to the position for which the résumé is being submitted. As such, the resume is often modified so that the skills presented match the job requirements. Because the résumé is usually only about one page, the content must be concise, powerful, and relevant.

A CV on the other hand is more of a description of your life’s accomplishments, often with a focus on academia. A CV has been used in the realm of research, health care positions or jobs relating to education for a while. Recently, the CV has become more mainstream. Although the CV is longer and more time consuming to read than a résumé, employers have come to prefer the CV because of its focus on what you’ve accomplished in the positions you’ve held, rather than just a list of responsibilities. A CV reveals what the author considers accomplishment worthy of including. It also separates applicants who simply fulfilled their responsibilities from those who went far and beyond, and actually accomplished as oppose to just performed.

Move on From Facebook and Instagram and Embrace LinkedIn

Facebook, Instagram and other social networks were fine when all that mattered was whose party you attended over the weekend, or who broke up with whom. You’ve graduated now, and if you don’t have a LinkedIn account yet (as you should), get one now! I said NOW. In a basic sense, LinkedIn is like an online, searchable database of CV’s. In other words, just by creating your LinkedIn account, you are instantly making your CV or résumé available to other professionals who are hiring.

LinkedIn goes far beyond being just an online repository of CV’s, it is a the leading networking tool available to business professionals. A vast majority of workers who consider themselves professionals will have a LinkedIn account. Even if you’ve just graduated and never had a LinkedIn account, their database will, by some wild Internet magic, find a list of people that you either know or have met and present you with their LinkedIn account so you may connect with them. Connect with as many friends, acquaintances and associates as you can. You never know when one of your LinkedIn connection’s manager asks if they know anyone who can fill an open position in the company. When they do, your name may pop up.

Find People Who Know Where the Jobs Are

If you hope to enter the job market as an accountant, hanging out on the weekends with your frat buddies who haven’t graduated yet isn’t going to get you a job (probably). On the other hand, taking a continuing education class, or joining a local professionals organization relating to your occupation could. The more people you meet in your designated occupation, the better the chance of running into one who knows of a vacant job position. So meet people who can help you.

Speaking of frat buddies, get to know their parents. Fraternities were created to be networking entities, extending even to parents. As a mechanical engineer in a fraternity, I had more than one frat buddy’s parent insist that I submit a résumé to their company and that they would ‘grease the skids’ for me when I graduated. Your friends’ parents (fraternity or not) are the logical best first place to begin networking. They already know you to some extent, are are already ‘approved’ by virtue of the fact that you are their offspring’s friend, and they have been in the workforce for quite some time.

Think in terms of volume. The more contacts you make, the better the chance of landing a job with one of them.

Pay For a Job

If you are really desperate, and at the end of your rope, find a headhunter. Headhunters are job agencies. They match employers with employees. Sometimes the employer won’t pay the fee, and so you may have to, but the good news is that it usually comes out of future earning with the company that hires you. In most cases, the company will pay the fee, but just be prepared to consider paying for it if the job is one that seems promising to you.

You may find that your acquaintances don’t agree with the idea of a headhunter, stating that if a headhunter can find you a job, you can find it just as well. The way I see it, a job is a job. The sooner you have one, the sooner you start on your professional career. Never mind the naysayers and go forward.

In Conclusion

Even after you’ve landed your job, you should still follow all of these suggestions above. You still need a LinkedIn account, you still need to network and you must keep padding your CV with accomplishments and education. Don’t assume that once you’ve obtained employment that you are set for life. You are just beginning. Baby steps.