In part thanks to a still struggling economy, recent graduates are advised to have a Plan-B when it comes to finding a job after graduation.
Although there seems to be some improvement in the employment arena, unemployment rates across North America continue to be at all-time highs. What's more, companies have reduced the percentage of on-campus recruiting across the country, some by as much as 25 percent. That means that college and high school graduates will be in the same league as other job seekers -- pounding the pavement to find jobs.
As if the failing economy isn't stressful enough, many graduates are finding their degrees and study concentrations may be undesireable at the moment. Students with concentrations in real estate, accounting, finance and other struggling sectors are facing even choppier waters when applying for jobs. They may have to think outside of the box or temporarily apply for a different type of position until the job outlook improves in their area of specialization.
Individuals searching for their first real job should consider the following:
* Don't rule out temporary positions. Some companies that don't have the cash for permanent employees will use temp agencies to fill in open spots in the organization. While these positions may be temporary, they get a person in the door, their name on file and a chance to display their work ethic to higher-ups. When a full-time
position does open, a former temporary employee may have the insider advantage.
* Consider a different job sector. While individuals may not want to think about the degree they've worked so hard for being out of fashion, they may have to consider this when job hunting. Because graduates have little to no real world job experience, that brand new degree in accounting doesn't mean they can't apply for a job in customer service. Look at the broad picture when seeking a job and don't limit prospects.
* Networking really is key. Recent graduates are no doubt familiar with the term networking. Although many people would like to think they'll be hired based on their merits and experience, many times it's a "who you know" situation. Joining career groups, interning and keeping in touch with individuals, volunteering and any other interaction with people is a great way to get your name out there. Recruiters are more likely to hire someone who is recommended than a person with just a well-written resume.
* Be on top of your game. Graduates have to ensure they're polished thanks to the highly competitive nature of today's job market. Common interview questions should be well rehearsed so they seem thought out but not rigid. Resumes should be concise, clear and free of any errors. Interview wardrobe should be professional. Now is the time to take care of all the smaller details that can lead to success.
* Don't get discouraged. In a perfect job market it can take a few months to land that first job. In a difficult economy, it will take even longer. Start your search early -- even before graduation looms -- so that you will have time. Also, consider having a backup plan for work, such as a part-time job so you will have income while you are seeking your dream job. While it may not be ideal, you will have some financial freedom to wait out a full-time position that fits your goals.