Around this time last year, I was less than diligently studying for final exams, taking naps on the campus quad in the sun and trying to find a job.
For those of you fresh out of graduate school without a concrete notion of what’s to come, here are a few items to consider from someone who was unemployed for nearly two months before a great opportunity came calling.
#1 Adjust your outlook
Your dream job may not be your first job and vice versa. Additionally, don’t just jump at the first offer because you’re afraid you might not get another somewhere else. Being realistic with your expectations is key. Few companies are looking for a freshly graduated employee to run a department. It’s an entry-level job because it’s a good place to start.
#2 Wake up!
Carpe Diem! Early Bird Gets the Worm! Up and at ‘em, and other clichés. You’ll be surprised how accomplished you feel when you start your day before noon. If you go through the week getting up at a respectable hour, not loafing in front of the TV and think of applying for jobs as your job, you’re setting yourself up for less of a shock when you land an actual job.
#3: Don’t get cocky
Practice gracious confidence in your e-mails or letters of inquiry, follow up calls and *gasp* interviews. If you think you’re being cute, unique, clever or funny, you’re probably the only one who thinks so. Let your credentials make you stand out, not your ability to make a pun. It can be tough sending dozens of e-mails and filling out online job inquiry requests all day, but it’s part of the deal.
Some may choose to make their own website to promote themselves, education and experience. If used properly, I think there is some benefit to that in the marketing and PR business. But I suggest keeping it between the lines to remain from straying into the realms of bad taste.
#4 How important is home?
You may be missing opportunities because of your geography. Spend some time looking at opportunities in other states and regions. That perfect fit might not be in NYC — it might be in Omaha. Examine how willing you would be to pack up and start your life in a new place.
#5 Ask for help
More often than not, somebody knows somebody who is looking for somebody. Make sure to ask people to keep an eye out for you. It’s like networking at an event, so take it seriously and remember to be as graciously confident as possible.
#6 Open yourself up to criticism
If you haven’t had your resume critiqued recently, now is a good time. Career services centers often have free seminars and offer loads of great advice. If you don’t have an up-to-date resume…then I think we may have just figured out why you’re having trouble finding a job.
#7 Clean up your social media presence
More employers are checking applicants’ social media profiles during the screening process. Take this abundant free time of yours to go through your profile, pictures, tweets and anything else that might pop up in a Google search about you to make sure it follows the Grandma Rule (don’t put anything online you would be embarrassed of if your grandmother saw it).
Most important of all, don’t get down on yourself if things don’t happen right away. Sure, rejection feels about as good as the morning after an all-nighter at the library, but it’s part of the process.
What tips would you add for recent PR grads who are looking for that golden employment opportunity?