You Can Prepare Now To Land Your First Job

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Graduation isnt until May, but if you are a college senior then updating your resume, practicing your interview techniques, and buying business wardrobe now are some of the things you can do before returning to school for your final semester.

Graduation isn't until May, but if you are a college senior then updating your resume, practicing your interview techniques, and buying business wardrobe now are some of the things you can do before returning to school for your final semester.

If you’re a college senior, graduation is still five months away which seems like plenty of time to start looking for your first “real” job. However, with the economy being a sore point in 2009, getting a head start now can make the transition from college to employment easier down the road. You’ll likely need it: most job analysts predict that new grads will have difficulty finding work when they graduate.

“The question I hear most often from concerned parents is why their son or daughter cannot find a good job,” said Jim Ratliff, vice chairman of Career Partners International (http://www.cpiworld.com/) and chairman of Cleveland-based Ratliff & Taylor. “The reason is not about the degree or work experience, but the lack of fundamental job search skills. They are simply not prepared to compete effectively against more seasoned interviewees vying for those same positions. College degrees open doors, but they do not guarantee a good job — to get that first career job, you must have good job search skills,” said Ratliff.

One way that future grads can get an edge in a tight job market is to visit their on-campus career centers. These centers offer students support from professional staff members, people who know the market and are ready to help graduating seniors.

Ratliff also encourages students to consider working with an outside job search coach. “Job search preparation requires an investment of personal time to learn the process and there are no shortcuts! With a coach, the student goes through a self-assessment and strategy session to identify potential employers plus work on resume development, networking and interviewing,” said Ratliff.

Conduct an Effective Interview

“Strong interviews are the difference between winning and losing a job opportunity,” said Ratliff who recommends the following steps:

  • Work with a counselor or professional to host a mock interview practice session.
  • Translate school/work/life experiences to contributions you’ll make to the organization.
  • Script and verbalize a concise, two-minute answer to the question: tell me about yourself?
  • Do your homework. Understand the job description and the company’s key products or services.
  • Present a prepared, professional image.

Finally, today’s college graduates have some tools at their disposal not available just a few years ago, namely social media tools that are excellent sources for professional networking. Ratliff recommends using sites such as LinkedIn as well as wikis and blogs to help build a social network.

Source: Career Partners International

Adv. — If you’re looking for career information, please visit SayMyCareer.com for information on how to find and build your career. Check out our job search section to begin looking for your first full time job.

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Categories: Career Planning