Thank you to Brian Kurth for inviting me to write a guest post for his blog. If you aren’t familiar with Brian’s work, check out his career coaching and his company, Vocation Vacations. He is also the author of Test-Drive Your Dream Job: A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding And Creating The Work You Love. Here is the blog post I wrote for Brian’s blog:
It used to be so easy: entry-level professionals applied for entry-level jobs; mid-level professionals applied for mid-level jobs and senior-level people eventually retired.
Ah, the good old days.
Today, due to the economic recession, it feels as though everyone is competing with everyone for a limited number of positions. When this happens, the lowest ones on the totem pole are particularly vulnerable. According to a survey from Qvisory and the Rockefeller Foundation, nearly 19 percent of young adults are unemployed or looking for work.
What can you do if you’re a recent grad competing with experienced professionals who are willing to take a step back? Here are some suggestions:
1. Seek out honest feedback. Find someone you trust—a former colleague, relative, career services professional, etc.—who will be candid. Do you say “like” or “you know” too much when you talk? Should you dress less “slacker”? Are you applying for jobs you’re really not qualified for? Take this feedback seriously and address any areas where you’re getting in your own way.
2. Become an active user of LinkedIn.com. LinkedIn is the largest and most active professional social network, but many young professionals are unaware of it. Don’t miss out on this resource! (Full disclosure: I am a global campus spokesperson for LinkedIn.) First, set up a profile that includes keywords an employer might use to find someone with your skills. Include all experience you have, including unpaid internships, volunteer gigs and extra curriculars. Next, scour other profiles to uncover potential employers and professionals who might agree to an informational interview (alums from your college are ideal). Finally, use LinkedIn to help others with suggestions, job leads and recommendations—the more people you help, the more people will offer to help you. Note: I am leading a series of official LinkedIn webinars for career services professionals. I welcome you to register for this 60-minute, free webinar at http://careerservices.linkedin.com/webinar.
3. Network face-to-face. While online networking is very important, still the best way to make a strong impression is in person. Make sure you are networking across generations to maximize your chances of finding out about opportunities. Don’t feel intimidated if you are the youngest person at a networking event, say at a Rotary Club meeting or a college alumni gathering. Sometimes you have the best chance of making a memorable impression when you’re different from everyone else.
Read the rest of this blog post at BrianKurth.com…