Career Advice For New Graduates In My New Career Column For Money And Time

career advice for new graduates

career advice for new graduatesI am so excited to be the career blogger for the launch of Money.com and Time.com – career channel. I’ll be doing a weekly column on a range of career coaching topics, including job search, networking, salary negotiation, and more. For my first column, I was inspired by the June graduation season and share tips for new graduates who are still on the job hunt:

As a former recruiter, I have hired thousands of new graduates into their first full-time jobs, so I’ve seen the hiring process up close, inside and out.

Some industries—like management consulting and investment banking—do the bulk of their hiring well before graduation. If you have classmates entering these fields, you might be anxious if you don’t have your own first career step confirmed. (This goes for parents, too!)

Temper your anxieties by keeping in mind that the vast majority of companies only hire as needs arrive. Some of those companies are looking to fill entry-level slots right now, just a few heartbeats after commencement. So it may not be long before you (or your child) is launched—assuming you’re strategic. Take these four steps to take now to get the search in gear:

Figure out the finances first

You need to have time for your search. Even in the best-case scenario, it may take a month or two for you to go through the interview and vetting processes and land your first gig. In that time, you need to have a stable living environment where your basic needs are met so that you can be confident and relaxed as you meet with employers.

That requires answering this question first: How are you going to cover your expenses as you look?

Talk to your family about how long you are welcome to stay. If you have student loan payments that had a grace period while you were in school, find out when the first payment is starting and how much it is. Sketch out the rest of your budget, so you know what you’ll need to cover yourself.

Pick the low-hanging fruit

If money is tight, you’ll need to land something quickly and start earning. But even if you have the finances to support a longer search, you’ll want to avoid a long gap on your resume.

People who already know, like and trust you will more readily hire you or refer you for positions. So start your search by reaching out to family, friends, former employers from past internships or side jobs, even professors. Let them know you’re available.

Employers get inundated with resumes, but if someone the hiring manager knows personally refers you as a candidate, there’s a better chance your resume will get noticed.

Continue reading at Time.com: New Degree, No Job? 4 Steps Grads Should Take To Jumpstart The Search.

Grads: A lame job is better than no job

I am quoted in Laura Vanderkam’s latest piece for Fortune on whether new graduates are better off taking a less-than-ideal job or holding out for something better:

…while you’ll probably get a grace period in employers’ eyes for a while post-graduation, “The reality is that any gap longer than six months has to be explained,” says Caroline Ceniza-Levine, a career coach and co-founder of SixFigureStart. “The question becomes why didn’t you take anything? It’s hard to justify.” Saying you were holding out for the perfect job isn’t particularly helpful because “anyone with experience knows there’s no such thing as the perfect thing.”

Read the full article in Laura Vanderkam’s latest for Fortune:  Grads: A lame job is better than no job

 

What will happen to your summer offer?

For those of you who worked at Financial Services firms this summer, this is a time of anxiety.  You must be wondering if your offer will be honored or if it will be reneged upon.  We still don’t know what exactly will happen since so many companies are being bought, merging, being broken into little pieces, or just plain going out of business.

Having worked at Financial Services firms for about 25 years now I can tell you this:  firms do not ever want to reneg offers – even if they are merging with or being acquired by another company.  They will do whatever possible to honor their extended offers.  With that said, there are so many things in the air right now that no one knows for sure who will do what.

One thing we do know for sure is that when a company does reneg, their reputation takes a serious blow and that reputation will last for many years.  But when you are fighting for your survival, honoring summer intern offers seems less important then staying in business.  Once businesses reneg, students will feel very free to reneg upon their acceptances because of the companies bad reputation.  All in all, it makes for a very messy situation!

My advice for now … hang in there and do what you can to stay calm.  Concentrate on doing well at school, and networking like mad this Fall recruiting season.  Choices are always a very good thing to have, so treat your job search like the most important course you have to take this Fall.

Hopefully, this recent and significant jump in the stock market will help and is a sign of more positive things to come.  But given that we have a very bumpy ride ahead of us … stay tuned!

5 Things Students Must Do When Returning to Campus

Labor Day brings the official close of the summer and students are now all back at school.  In this tough economy it will take more effort than ever to ensure employment either as a summer intern or as a full-time employee come next summer.  Here are the 5 best things you can do toward achieving that goal:

1. Visit Career Services and find out the following:  which companies are coming to campus and which companies are not coming to campus.  From those coming on campus, decide which are of most interest to you.  Prioritize the list but go to as many as you can because of the tough economy.  For the companies that don’t come to campus, start to target anyone you know that may work there.  You’ll have to network with them to get your foot in the door.

2. Schedule all the recruiting events and deadlines in your calendar now, so you won’t forget.  This includes:  a) company presentations, b) other marketing events, c) resume drop dates, d) career services overview of things you should do (like interview workshops, resume writing workshops, etc.).  You must be organized and capitalize on any event that has the potential to lead to a job.

3.  Network, network, network:  with your peers, your professors and your parents to find out what companies are hiring interns/full-time analysts.  Your goal is to get your foot in the door using that contact.  You’d be surprised about who knows who in this very small world.

4. Finalize your resume including what you did this summer:  you can attend a resume writing workshop, buy a resume writing guide, research how to write your resume on-line or work with a coach to perfect your resume.  Either way, your resume has to be perfect so proof, proof, proof it and then have three friends proof it as well.

5.  Raise your GPA as much as possible:   your GPA is a key way to differentiate yourself on paper.  As a recruiter, I would scan a resume in about 10 seconds and I always looked for a high GPA.  So make a pledge to yourself to do as well as possible in your classes. 

September can be overwhelming to students but not if you take it one day at a time.  Get organized and prioritize and it will be a much easier process!

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