How to Get a Job Out of College

A good friend of mine, Jane Howze, wrote a great article recently about what parents can do with respect to their kids’ first job hunt.

The first and most important message that you want to send to your kid is that finding a job is a job and time to do that needs to be scheduled. Using relatives, parents and other connections to find your perfect job is perfectly okay. Knowing what you want will ultimately help you get what you want. Knowing what type of industry or business you want to be in now (even if its not your life-long goal) is such an important part of the process. 

I just had to share:

"How can I help my son or daughter who is a recent college graduate get a job?" One recent report indicates that only 22% of college graduates have secured jobs this year. Although this is not our focus, much of the expertise that we use to recruit outstanding executive management is applicable to your son/daughter's search. The following are a few brief recommendations.

  1. The Mind Set. Finding a job is a full time job is a challenge, especially in these tough times. Merely sending out three or four resumes a day will not suffice. You must act as if you have a job and you have to report to work at 8 am. The job's location can be at a library or home office. The important thing is that you are not distracted by personal phone calls, household activities or friends. This is why the outplacement firms do well-not because they find you a job-but because they instill a discipline of going to an office where you devote eight hours a day to getting a job.
  2. Have a good resume. I am always amazed at how many resumes we get that have spelling errors-and this happens with even with senior executives. Ask friends and your parent's friends who are in the workforce for feedback on your resume.
  1. Ask yourself these important questions: What do you want to do? What companies offer positions that would allow you to do this? What size company do you want to work for? What industry? What geographical location? Remember that many positions are not advertised and are found by word of mouth. 
  1. Once you have answered these questions, start researching. Look at business periodicals. I find the Houston Business Journal's Book of Lists is an amazing resource because it lists a number of different types of companies-those that are growing the fastest, pay the most, are the nicest places to work etc. Most other major cities have these books. They are a good investment. Fortune, Forbes, Business Week and local papers also have articles that talk about notable companies. 
  1. Once you have found companies you would want to work for, write or email them a concise letter along with your resume. In writing the letter, do not address it to "Dear Sir or Madam" or "to head of Human Resources". Do your research and find out the name of the President of the company, the head of human resources or the department in which you would want to work. Always use a middle initial and his or her exact title. That shows that you are detailed and resourceful. 
  1. The most important part of any job search for a college graduate or anyone looking for a job for that matter: Network, network, network. Do not be afraid to ask for help. If you went to a certain college, get lists of alums that may be working at companies you are interested in. If you are a member of a certain fraternity or sorority, see if you can find alums at those companies. People are usually happy to do a favor for someone they have something in common with. Use sites like LinkedIn to add your own contacts. The more contacts you have, you are connected to the contacts of those contacts. Remember also to return the favor. It is the law of karma....what you give comes back to you again and again.
  1. If you are a parent, do not micromanage the process. Be supportive without asking "how many resumes did you send out today?"

In summary, getting a job is a numbers game. Do you have to make ten calls, or ten thousand calls? Assuming it is 10,000 calls, the faster and more disciplined you are, the faster you will get a job.


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