Attention students and new graduates: despite the recent employment myth that claims organizations nationwide are staying away from young, inexperienced recruits, companies DO want to hire you. The truth is, many are searching high and low for young candidates they feel will make a good fit for the growth of their organization. But top employers are often afraid to take that leap of faith when America’s youth continue to disappoint, giving off the dreaded impression that they just don’t have what it takes to survive the business culture as it stands today. Why is it so hard for new graduates to get a job, and what are they NOT doing to prove their career readiness?
HOW TO SHOW EMPLOYERS THAT YOU’RE READY TO JOIN THEIR TEAM:
1. Build a real job/career plan. Employers want candidates to know exactly who they are and where their professional futures are headed. That means taking the time to understand your strengths, weaknesses, and motivators in relation to the workplace. You don’t necessarily need a comprehensive 10-year plan, but you do need to be able to connect your background, education and experience to the opportunity you are applying for and show employers how you can strategically help them grow their company. Employers also want to know the reason behind every career move you make. Rather than accepting any job that comes along, they’d like to see a logical progression in the steps you took. Today, your college degree doesn’t speak for itself anymore – it must complement your goals and values in a way that connects to employers’ hiring needs.
2. Get an internship. Believe it or not, unpaid internships are more impressive than paid ones in the eyes of employers. By volunteering your time in exchange for knowledge and training rather than money, you are showing employers that you are truly passionate about joining a specific industry. Internships are a perfect solution to the “I-don’t-have-enough-experience-to-get-hired” problem. Experience is always out there, and even in times when you aren’t being compensated, use it to your advantage.
3. The resume. Everyone knows that an optimized LinkedIn profile is a must-have in the job-search process, but few people recognize that resumes, which are still the number one hiring tool, should be approached in a whole new light. Your resume is no longer a one-dimensional piece of paper that simply highlights your education, skills, and experience level. Your resume, on a 10-second glance, must make a good impression, be customized to the specific role and industry, and act as a communication liaison by concisely and effectively showing how your hard and soft skills will help employers grow their business. We recognize that it’s a tall order for one sheet of paper, which is why our resume service might be your best solution.
4. Practice telling your story. Your story is a 60-second elevator pitch that tells an employer who you are, highlights your relevant work experience and key ingredients, shows how they fit into your career strategy, and connects your background to the employer’s specific problem. My advice to you – get in tune with the ABC of a basic interview because it does matter!
5. Capitalize on your soft skills. Your soft skills (behaviors that employers seek out in candidates) are just as important as your hard skills (work experience and education). Make sure an employer knows that you have the soft skills (self-directed, communicative, empathetic, etc.) that will make their hiring hearts sing because that’s the “stuff” that creates a positive work environment.
Your career journey is your own blank canvas – it’s yours to create. The more effort you personally put into strategic planning and skills development, the more seriously employers will consider you.