“How do I help my daughter or son find a job, now that they have (or will have) a college degree?”
I’ve heard this question often lately, and it hits pretty close to home. I had a daughter graduate last year, a son who will graduate this year, and another daughter who will graduate next year.
So, what advice should you give them?
My first piece of advice is to congratulate them on their achievement, rather than tell them how daunting the task will be to find a job in this competitive economy. It’s important to keep their job search in perspective – it may or may not have been easy for you to find your first job, but what’s important is to continue motivating them to stand out from the crowd.
Top 7 things your grad should do to get a job:
- Get LinkedIn. Your graduate must be on LinkedIn – complete with a professional photo (even if it’s taken with a digital camera with a nice background), resume, and keywords relating to the job they want. Once on LinkedIn, they should connect with at least 25 new professionals within their field every week. The purpose of these connections is to ask for informational interviews, or to get in touch regarding current opportunities, and pass on their cover letter and resume.
- Get Indeed Alerts. They should search for companies they are interested in, and sign up to receive weekly (or daily) alerts of new job openings. This will not only give them specific jobs to mention to LinkedIn contacts, but also an idea of what skills companies value.
- Get a mentor. You would be surprised how many people are willing to give time to help another individual get started, especially a recent graduate. Your graduate does not have to pick the person with the greyest hair – instead, they should connect with a person they can relate to, or someone who has a job they’d like to have in the future. Graduates should set up a regular phone call or get together with their mentor.
- Get a professional resume. Resume writing is an art, and their resume not only needs to stand out, but also needs to be concise and free of grammatical errors. If they are lucky enough to not have their resume deleted before reviewed by a company, it will probably be given a 15-second or less once-over to see if it’s worthwhile – to see if it stands out. They should pay attention to writing an objective that’s memorable, and adding technical skills, language abilities (technical/creative/IT), and any other accomplishments that will get them noticed.
- Get a new suit, and use it. It’s important to look professional not only at interviews, but also at job fairs and networking events.
- Get help from the college. Colleges should not only be rated by the number of graduates, but also by the number of jobs their graduates get. Your graduate can ask their college for help setting up internships and informational interviews.
- Get going! Half of last year’s grads are either underemployed or unemployed. That makes the competition even tougher for this year’s graduates. If they use the tips above, stick to them, and keep a positive attitude, they’ll stand out, and land that new job in no time!