By Lianne Palazzolo, Public Relations Assistant
In today’s recession, which still just barely improving, all everyone is saying is how impossible it is to find a job, especially for recent graduates. For the class of 2010, only 56% of graduates reported finding a single job, compared to 90% from the classes of 2006 and 2007, according to The New York Times. It is not uncommon now-a-days to hear of a student with a law degree that is waiting tables or a recent graduate of computer engineering that is restocking the shelves at your local food store. Although times are hard, there are ways to improve your chances of being the chosen one out of thousands, or even millions, of applicants.
While you are still in college earning your degree is probably the most crucial time to get a head start on your future. Experience, experience, experience. The marketing department of a Fortune 500 company does not want someone who has been bartending for two years or working in retail for a year-they want someone who has worked in the marketing industry before, even if it was only for a semester. It is so important to find at least one internship, if not more, while you are still in college. This shows that you want to gain experience and that you are serious about your career. The employer will also see that you don’t only have knowledge in the classroom, but also in the real world.
Through your coursework and internship, the main facet you should focus on is communication skills. Written and verbal communication skills are essential when applying for jobs, especially in the business world. An employer wants to see that you are well spoken and that you can also communicate clearly on paper. You may not take writing papers in college seriously at first, but as you get older and wiser you will see that those papers are given to you for an important reason, for practice.
Keep all of your work in a portfolio so that you have something to show for yourself when am employer asks for a writing sample. Make it look professional, as well as your resume and cover letter. Take all of the advice you can get with your resume and cover, they are the first documents an employer looks at and you want it to really jump out at them.
When it comes time for the job search you want to make sure you thoroughly search a variety of different job sites, SimplyHired, Indeed, Doostang, Jobs.com, just to name a few. Twitter is also important when searching for a job. If you follow the right people in your industry, they may lead you to an amazing job posting and your dream job.
You land an interview. Now what? First of all, you do not just show up. You must prepare. Think of questions they will ask you and practice answering them. Not only will this help you with the answers to the questions, but it will also take away some of the nerves we all get during an interview. Practice speaking to yourself in the mirror.
When it comes time for the interview, wear your best business-professional, but comfortable, outfit and wear it with confidence. Arriving on-time is arriving late. Arrive roughly 10 minutes early to show punctuality. Having confidence during an interview is important to the employer. They like those who are sure of themselves and who feel that they are well-qualified for the position. When you first meet the employee(s) who is conducting your interview, stand when introducing yourself and address them by their proper title. Have a few copies of your resume as well as your portfolio in hand so that you are well prepared to show them your writing samples. Make sure to keep eye contact when communicating and listen to their questions thoroughly so that you answer them correctly. Don’t be so passive. Ask a few questions to show your interest in the company. Most of all have a positive attitude!