Job hunting tips for recent college grads

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Q:  My daughter is graduating college in the spring of 2017.  She has replied to many online postings and seems to be getting frustrated.  Many of her friends are landing jobs.  I am sure that job hunting has changed since I graduated from college.  Can you share any tips on job hunting, more specifically for recent grads?  We thought after laying out some pretty big dollars for an undergraduate degree, she would have job offers coming through our front door.

A:  How wonderful that your daughter has just graduated from college!  Congratulations to her!  Finding a job, especially a first job out of college, can be a challenge.  Here’s some practical job hunting advice for your daughter:

  1. Make sure that your daughter is using the career services office of her college or university. Part of your tuition likely funded this office! A career services office can help with development of a resume, coaching in interview skills, and connections to employers.  Some employers even visit college campuses with the intention of hiring graduates or students.   Your daughter should also become active in alumni groups.  Fellow alumni are often very helpful in finding job leads and contacts within companies.
  2. Review her resume. No typos, spelling errors or wild fonts are allowed.
  3. She has probably already received this advice, but your daughter should consider joining LinkedIn. Recent college graduates will often protest and explain that they don’t have any connections. Now is the best time to start building a professional network.  Your daughter can connect with fellow graduates, professors, friends and neighbors.
  4. Your daughter should have an elevator pitch. This is a 1-2 minute summary of who she is and where she hopes to land in her next job.
  5. Introductions to others can lead to job opportunities. She should never say no to an intro. It is not just the person with whom you are meeting, but all of their contacts too!
  6. Your daughter should stay close to email. Email should be checked daily, even on weekends.
  7. Sometimes recent grads need to be reminded to send thank-you notes or emails. Even if someone has just met her for coffee, a quick note of thanks should be sent.
  8. If your daughter interned with a company, she should re-connect with that company. Companies like to hire interns into regular full-time roles, if they have appropriate roles available.
  9. Networking is more valuable than spending time behind a laptop. A reasonable guideline is 75% of a job hunter’s time should be devoted to networking, while the remainder can be spent behind a PC.
  10. A social media check-up may be smart. College grads need to make ensure that their social media pages portray them in a positive light.
  11. Finally, stay positive. Every interview is helpful, because every interview practices a skill.  Interviewing is a skill!  No recruiter wakes up in the morning and says, “I am eager to hire a negative person today.”  Even though your daughter might be getting frustrated, it is important not to share that frustration with a prospective interviewer.

Your daughter will land.  Have faith!

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.

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