You’ve heard the hype. The economy is bad. There aren’t any jobs to be had. Things are tough all over, kid. But since when do you listen to the naysayers?
Sure, you’re not going to step out of college and into a CFO position. But you’re also not stepping into a part-time job selling hot dogs on the side of the road. Being realistic about your opportunities goes both ways, and the most fatal mistake job seekers make is selling themselves short.
Congratulations, you have a college degree! Maybe you weren’t in the top of your class with a full academic scholarship, but you have a higher education and that means something to hiring managers. What it means exactly is that you have the latest information about your field of study. You’ve most likely worked with cutting-edge technology. And you’re not so set in your ways that you can’t be trained. This gives you a distinct advantage over people who aren’t fresh out of school. When you go to interviews, remember this.
College graduates have something many other job applicants don’t have. Enthusiasm! All things being equal, someone with a positive attitude will get the job over someone who is jaded, indifferent, or world weary. It’s not all about what you know. It’s also about who you are. Show hiring managers that you’re someone other people would want to work with.
Employers are looking for long term investments and are hopeful that you will be loyal to their company. When they ask you what your five year plan is, don’t tell them that you hope to be traveling in Europe. Nor should you point to the company president and say, “I want to be there.” Consider your audience.
Don’t be so confident that you think everyone should want you. Always tailor your resume and cover letter for each position. Follow up with a phone call. If you don’t hear from the employer in 4 weeks, send another letter with another resume. Call again. Don’t give up until you’ve heard a definitive answer. If it’s a “no” send a thank you letter anyway to ask that they keep you in mind for any future positions. Repeat for each job search. If you want an employer to see you’re willing to go the extra mile, show them up front.
Being a realist when it comes to job searching is hard work. Sure, it takes work to get work. But landing a job and putting yourself on the road to a successful career is worth it.