The other day we watched our daughter receive her Master’s Degree from Columbia University. We and all the other friends and family members nodded our heads as the University President spoke of the lack of jobs for these very qualified and eager graduating students. Our daughter is lucky because she is has a job that she loves. Thousands of the other undergraduate and graduate students won’t be so lucky and unfortunately, this scene is playing out all over the country.
How can a recent graduate stand out and get noticed? Here are a few steps that may help.
1. Network: While it is critical to have a social presence through LinkedIn it is also equally important to make physical contact with people. Like it or not, your parents can help! They may know many friends and co-workers that can help you even if it is for informational interviews. Also, if you were involved in a fraternity or sorority, make use of those contacts and their acquaintances. Your other friends have networking contacts as well. Make sure to return the favor with your own contacts.
Don’t be afraid to let your professors or other administrators know about your job search progress. As I watched my daughter interact with her professors over these past few days, I noticed a special bond between them and I know that if she were looking for employment, these professors would pull whatever strings that they had to get her seen by prospective employers. Think about those types of professors or school contacts that you have made and reach out to them. (If you haven’t yet graduated, now is the time to make those meaningful, sincere connections).
2. Volunteer: Yours is the generation known for helping others. Get out there and give back and in doing so, make connections.
3. Clean up your resume: Make sure that your resume is ready when your networking contacts ask for it.
4. Make up some business cards: Find a source for reasonable yet professional cards and create a batch to have on hand.
5. Join a Young Professional Group: Many United Way organizations have a branch featuring activities and opportunities for the newly graduated. As the group says, “Getting involved in the community is a great way to build your resume, learn new skills and create important relationships, both on a business and social level.”
These five steps all lead to the same thing, networking. Funny how that works. If you just graduated, congratulations and good luck in following your dream!