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5 Job Hunting Tips for New College Grads

Unfortunately, job hunting for recent college graduates can feel tough. Fortunately, here is immediately useful job hunting advice or tips to help the job seeker get a job.

1. Volunteer

Problem: Job hunters find it hard to get a job without experience – but it is hard to get experience without a job! Solution: If you do not land a job in your chosen occupation, then volunteer to do similar work for free one or two days/week. Preferably, volunteer at an organization where you would love to work. Or, volunteer at a non-profit organization. They always want no-cost labor, will jump at the chance to have you volunteer, and then you get work experience that helps in your job search, and land a paying job.

Examples: (A) One art major craved to work in an art gallery, but did not find such a job. As I recommended, she volunteered to hostess art exhibit openings at an art museum one day per week. Question = Guess whom she met at those openings? Answer = She met owners of art galleries – and one of them hired her. (B) An IT major had a hard time finding a job – so he followed my advice to do volunteer computer programming at a non-profit trade association. Why volunteer at a trade association? Because the association’s members were executives from 100+ companies. His computer programming and work ethic impressed the association’s executive director so fantastically that he introduced the IT major to executives of companies belonging to the association – and that is how he landed his dream IT job.

2. Take Low Salary Job – but Only at Prestigious Organization

Note to job hunters: Less pay can help you earn A LOT more pay! This is especially true if you earn less pay at a famous or prestigious organization.

Example: When I graduated college, I got a job earning 50% less than other people who graduated college with the same major. But, my job was in a world-famous, prestigious organization. I got tremendous work experience, and I learned vastly more than my fellow graduates who earned much more, but worked in low-prestige organizations in the same industry. Plus, my job in that prestigious organization later helped me get into graduate school. In contrast, my peers earned more pay, but their work experiences and the amount they learned was far less than mine. So, be ready to take a lower paying job – especially if you can use it as a ‘stepping stone’ for your (A) learning and (B) future success.

3. Contact People Who “Owe A Favor” to You or Your Family

Make a list of people who will feel happy to do you or your family members a favor. Phone them – do not email – and ask them to give you names of people they know whom you can contact in your job search.

First, phone people whose income is based on your family paying them, e.g., physicians, dentists, accountants, clergy, and bankers. Second, call people you helped, e.g., neighbors for whom you baby-sat or shoveled snow. Third, call people you helped in college, e.g., students, professors you assisted, campus leaders, and administrators you helped. If they feel any concern for their income – or gratitude for kindness you rendered – they will jump at the chance to give you names and phone numbers of people working in your chosen field. Voila! Then, phone the people they referred you to as part of your job hunting.

4. Stop Hallucinating You Will Find a Job via Online Job Sites

Yes, you may feel delighted to could sit in your apartment or parents’ basement, and do nothing but apply for jobs online while you listen to music and text your friends. Don’t bet your job search on it! Recommendation = Waste – oops! I mean spend – only 60 minutes/day or less at online job hunting sites. Hundreds of people apply for each job there. Your chance of being picked from the crowd, called and interviewed is equal to a snowball’s chance in you-know-where. Solution: Phone people who can give you leads to potential employers. And then call those referrals. That is a super-effective job hunting strategy.

5. Low-Tech & High-Touch Helps Your Job Hunting More than High-Tech & Low-Touch

Managers who can hire you get 100+ e-mails/day plus phone calls from job hunters they do not know and feel no need to talk to.

But they get few or no (a) phone calls from job hunters starting with “[Name of person manager knows] suggested I contact you for career advice” nor (b) hand-written “Thank You” notes mailed after talking to job hunters. So, get leads to actual hiring managers, phone them, and hand-write follow-up “Thank You” notes. You will stand out from the crown of job seekers as you earn ‘points.’ Those managers will value and fondly remember your low-tech, high-touch style when job opportunities arise. And then they will call you – with job opportunities for you.

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