Graduating without a job offer is not unusual; recent college graduates typically take some time to make the transition into the labor market. In 2014 the trend continues, with less than 20% of college graduates reporting they had a job lined up, according to a survey by After College.com, a job matching service for recent grads. Even as the economy steadily improves, the job market remains quite challenging.
Here are ten tips for grads who don't have a job by graduation:
1. Remember that you actually do have a job - finding one! Finding a job is a full time job so approach it that way. Create your job search project plan and get up every morning and work at it full time. Identify the kind of job (s) you want to pursue, research employers, set networking appointments etc. Then hold yourself accountable at the end of the day. What worked? What could you do better? Make necessary changes and work your plan every day. Review the Job Search Checklist and other information on Manage Your Job Search for ideas to get started.
2. Enlist a job search buddy and build in accountability. Check out this previous blog for ideas.
3. Spend less time responding to posted positions and more time uncovering the "unpublished jobs" - the jobs that are filled by employers before they need to be publicized. Employers often use staff promotions, employee referrals and networking to fill a position without posting it. Since 70 % of all jobs are found through networking (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), shouldn't at least 50% of your time be spent that way?
4. Develop effective marketing tools. Be sure your resume and cover letter highlight the skills and experience most relevant to the job. Analyze the job description to be sure you are using language and key words that demonstrate a match. If you're getting calls from employers for interviews, your marketing tools are working.
5. Take a temp job. You'll meet new people to add to your network, and could develop relationships with employers that could lead to a permanent job offer. Some employers purposely hire employees on a temporary basis, which serves as a probation period, before committing to full time employment.
6. Build your online brand by creating a complete profile on LinkedIn. According to a recent survey by Jobvite, a social recruiting system, 94 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to source and vet candidates.
7. Join a local job search support group. Most members are professionals with experience and connections. They will be happy to share advice, information and referrals with someone at the beginning of her career. Check your local library or newspaper for an upcoming meeting.
8. Volunteer part-time at a non-profit whose mission you support. It's a great way to network and build new skills. It can help you stay positive, but don't let your volunteer job interfere with a job search.
9. Stay optimistic and don't give up. The average new graduate takes six months to find a job. Expect there to be some rejection during the process. To keep motivated, reward yourself for your commitment to your goals and your persistence in working your job search plan. You have no control over the job market, or the economy but you do control your job search.