Q: I am graduating from college in December, 2019. I am nervous about job hunting during this time of year, when companies are not in the “hiring a grad” mindset. What can a soon-to-be college grad do to make themselves more attractive to an employer?
A: Congrats on your upcoming graduation. A college education makes a difference! Research indicates that those full-time US workers who have earned a college degree earn more over their lifetime, compared to those full-time workers in the US who don’t hold a college degree. January is traditionally a busy hiring month. Use that to your advantage. You also have less competition that you may have had, if you had graduated in May.
Here are some suggestions for soon-to-be college grads:
- Use the career services office of your college. They often post jobs and share leads on employment opportunities. Additionally, they can provide advice on resume writing and job search strategies. Many sponsor networking events and workshops that may be very beneficial (now and in the future!).
- Familiarize yourself with online posting boards. Everything from LinkedIn to sites specific to industries of interest.
- Networking is still the best way to land a job. Talk to your professors or professionals in your field of interest. Family, friends and neighbors may also be good resources.
- Think back to summer and part-time jobs or internships. Are there connections there that could be helpful?
- Begin drafting your resume. Think about drafting a few different versions. It should be crisp, clean and in a readable (and scan-friendly) font. Have a few trusted friends review it before you begin using it.
- Never turn down an offer of an introduction or an informational interview. These are precious and worthwhile sources of information and perhaps job leads.
- Job hunting is difficult work. Set yourself a quantitative goal and stick to it. For example: five face-to-face meetings per week beginning Jan 2, 2020.
- Join a professional association in your field of interest. Many professional associations offer discounts to full-time students so this may be the opportune time to join.
- Talk to other recent grads about their successes and even missteps.
- When looking at job offers, money is important but experience and opportunity may be even more important.
- Consider temporary or contract roles. These opportunities can lead to full-time roles and also give you valuable professional experience and references.
Finally, send thank-you emails or notes to those who spent time with you. My mother would be proud that I reminded you to thank these generous people!
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.