Right now you are in the middle of an economic recovery that is in no hurry to get better. First let me help you understand why things are moving so slowing.
1. Managers feel that there is plenty of good talent on the market so they are slow to make decisions.
2. Many companies are realigning their existing workforce to increase retention, this impacts external hiring of people fresh out of school.
3. So many mid to senior level people were let go the past few years, that those are the same positions getting refilled with mid to senior level people right now. Again leaving those of you who are fresh out of school in the cold!
4. Contract labor is what is hot right now and typically fresh grads aren’t picked up for high paying contract jobs that require immediate impact with no training.
5. How you market yourself to future employers is totally different than when you went into college.
I know these seem like major issues that can not be overcome. However, for every challenge there is a moment of truth and learning!
And the truth that you have to learn in this new economy is that the better you market yourself, the less these factors matter!
The old way of marketing yourself with your GPA and the relevant classes you took is still helpful. But what really needs to be shown is the value you bring day one.
Imagine if you invented a new flavor of soda, how would you get people to try some? You’d have to talk it up right? Things like. “it tastes so good that nothing will ever taste bad again after you drink it.” Or, “it has 100 less calories than the next yummiest soda.”
These are both value statements that make people buy. All soda is more or less the same. Can you really tell the difference between Cola So Yummy and Coca-Cola? I can’t! I just know that Coca-Cola cans look better, they have talking polar bears and the ones that say, “Hecho in Mexico” use real cane sugar and not corn syrup.
It’s all marketing the value! That is why I want you to learn the term “value” like you know your name.
So instead of going into a job interview hoping to take any job that they will give you. Try to demonstrate how much you understand about the opportunity (after careful research of course) and then show them how you can deliver the end results they are looking for.
Do the same for your resume. Use as much quantitative data as you possibly can in your resume. For example, if you had a summer internship last year and you stuffed envelopes, don’t write, “stuffed envelopes of various sizes for 6 months” as the description of your work.
You want to show how you were the best envelope stuffer because your personal value system wouldn’t let you be anything less. So instead you can write, “filled 400 – 500 envelopes daily with highly sensitive documents. Maintained a consistent work-flow and reduced the total hours required to fill 2 bins of envelopes by 27%. Each bin containing 1000 envelopes.”
You see how the second description sounds more dynamic. If I were going to hire an envelope stuffer, it would be the one behind door number two. Remember, there is always something compelling that people leave out of their job experiences. So take a look at how you have written out your resume and tighten it up with value driven phrases to describe the best of what you have accomplished.
This reduces the amount of time the recruiter has to take to interpret your resume for you.
By spelling out your experience using numbers and powerful words, you make a much better impression overall. The same goes for when you interview. Talk in quantitative facts and figures. This shows that you have a command of yourself and the work that you have done. Plus, this approach let’s you dictate what you want your interviewer to think of you.
Don’t mind if what you have done does not really seem all that important, because if you are looking for entry level work… then managers are looking for “the potential to do well” more than the specifics of what you have done. They know you will need training and some time to get up to speed, they just want to make sure that they are going to invest the time and money into someone who actually cares. Here are some of the top traits outside of your core trade skills that the managers are looking for:
1. People skills
2. Energy, passion & drive
3. Positive attitude
5. Firm belief in yourself
6. Commitment to the task at hand
7. Ability to multi-task
8. Critical thinking skills
9. Basic interview etiquette
Other things that will help you land a job fresh out of school are professional relationships. If you don’t have any right now don’t worry. Start building them, especially if you are not working. I am sure you know how to use Facebook. Linkedin is not too different, it is just for the professional world. Create a profile on it and start contacting managers and recruiters.
By the way, it is totally OK to contact recruiters and managers via Linkedin to introduce yourself. Just don’t be a pest!
Also, if you have 2 years of experience or less, then you will want to focus on corporate recruiters. Most companies will not pay a fee to agency recruiters for someone fresh out of school.
Try to stay consistent with the volume of your job applications. Send out at least 10 a day and don’t expect anything siginficant in return for at least a month.
You will get calls here and there, but the real action comes after you have been busy submitting resumes and networking for at least 30 days. Once you have done that then you will start stacking up opportunities. That is when the real fun begins.
After you have tidied up your resume and practiced all of your value statements, click here to watch my video on, “How to Land a Job Interview in 5 Steps”
If you have any additional questions, please send me an email via my blog. I will gladly help you out with some additional info. Also, due to the volume of emails I get, give me a couple of days to respond.
In the mean time, go out and Make It Happen!