I’ve hearing from a lot of recent college graduates. They are just out of school after spending thousands and thousands of dollars (The average college debt among student loan borrowers in America is nearly $34,000, according to the Federal Reserve).
And yet, they have received very little instruction in the one thing that makes that degree really count:
How to find a job.
The ramifications are huge–not just in the months immediately following degree completion, but for the rest of the grad’s life!
Most of my clients have struggled with this process during their entire careers, breathing sighs of relief when they achieve an offer, and then getting high blood pressure all over again when the next job-seeking interval appears.
I realize there exist some universities that do help students with job searching skills. But most of them? Not so much
And it can get tough out there! Ever been through a recession?
I found myself talking with a colleague about this recently. Erick Cuentas graduated from his engineering program less than a decade ago, and his memory of the struggle to find employment is fresh in his mind. In fact, he started helping others find success, and started a side business working with new grads.
He’s got a lot of great advice (which, by the way, can help a job seeker at any stage of career).
Please share these two crucial pieces of advice with the New Grad in your life!
If you are a new college graduate, do not forget these steps!
#1: Take time to establish a direction.
It seems like a weird thing to say. After all, a grad just studied within a certain field, and it would seem logical that they should just apply for that thing. Accounting degree? Accounting job! Communication degree? Communication job!
But the problem is that there are many kinds of roles within a discipline. I realize you already know this. There are tax accountants, financial analysts, and auditors. There are internal communication specialists and digital strategists, etc.
Erick: “The No. 1 mistake graduates make is that they don’t know what they want. And because of this, they say they will take anything, and they move toward every direction, and they feel lost very quickly.”
So, it’s necessary to…
#2: Explore the possibilities.
Erick: “Take time figure out what actually interests you and what companies align with those things. Begin to network in that direction.”
Circle back to your professors, internship employers, and your family network.
This is a gold mine of contacts! People who work/ed in your field; their spouses who work in your field; their friends who work in that field…you get the idea.
Schedule some conversations with them. Tell them you are a recent graduate, and you would appreciate some of their wisdom.
Ask the people who work in your chosen field to talk with you about their career paths, companies, and offices. Ask them for their guidance about what do to next. Gather information about what you discover. Ask who else you should talk to.
Erick: “You learn from these individuals what you actually need in order to go where you want, and how to get on top of that by acting on the advice that they give you.”
And guess what?
“You start to get mentors. People love when you take their advice and when you act on it, and when you follow up.
“I’ve seen a lot of success when a graduate sees a job opening in the company that the mentor works in. And the thing, is you don’t even have to ask them for a job. You say, ‘I saw this opening in your company. Would you suggest I apply?’ And that’s all it takes sometimes.”
And here’s one other great idea that Erick came up with. He used it for himself, and he now he guides others to do it:
Form your own peer job-search group. Get together (digitally or in person) regularly to talk about what you are all looking for. Since you are not all looking for the same thing, you can non-competitively help each other with contacts, ideas, and most importantly, support and accountability.
I love this guidance! In fact, I have incorporated it when I work with a new graduate.
Most of them stand like deer in the headlights, armed with a degree but no idea how to connect what they learned to what employers really need.
I feel great about helping! Because I remember what I went through when I graduated! I was largely on my own, relying on advice from my parents (who, by the way, were absolutely great) and my own grit and creativity. (More about that in a future newsletter.)
If I can arm grads with some practical understanding of what it takes to get a job, it will pay off for the rest of their working lives.
But here’s the special part: The coaching I’m providing is one of her graduation gifts!
I feel it’s one of the best things I can do for our future workforce.
Some families agree. And that’s why they have approached me to buy my services for a new graduate in their lives. They know that celebrating the milestone of graduation with the gift of professional job-search help is a gesture with lasting resonance.
It is the proverbial “gift that keeps on giving.”
And ultimately, it will help get those loans paid off!
I want to talk with you about how we can make this happen for a new graduate in your life!
My friend Erick offers some on-demand teaching resources that can help your grad! Check them out! But many young people need more help. I offer a personalized 1:1 coaching and resume development package developed exclusively for recent college graduates! I would love to talk to you about how I help new grads do this:
- Pinpoint their first job target
- Develop materials that aim right at that target
- Speak confidently about themselves to employers
- Network like a pro
Let’s help this person just starting out to feel capable enough to land a job no matter what the economy is doing.