As graduating season is now upon us, students will soon enter the job market. But getting a job today requires skills they probably didn’t learn in college. In fact, most colleges poorly prepare students for the transition into the workplace. In these economic times finding a job can be more challenging because companies can be cautious about hiring and experienced workers are competing for positions as well.
That’s why 63% of graduates return home to Mom and Dad after they graduate and there are more 27 year olds living with their parents than 20 years ago.
A BA used to guarantee one a good job and a nice career. Now it just the price of entry. Every year we graduate 1.2 million bachelor’s degree students in the U.S.
It is key for young adults entering the workforce to develop skills at an early age that will help them get their first job and keep it. This is a different work environment than a generation ago where long term employment with a company was common. According to the OC Register we now work in an economy where if you are 30 years old your chances of getting fired in the next 20 years will be 90%.
Most likely one of the parents of this year’s graduating class has been downsized.
The key to making oneself more bullet proof and marketable is networking.
One of the most effective tools graduating students can acquire is the power of networking. Approximately 70% of those hired in a new job say they found that position through referrals or personal recommendation. The best way to get promoted is effective internal networking.
Yet young people don’t have a clue on how to network. They think that going to an event with friends and hanging around the bar is networking. That’s partying.
The first thing graduating college students should do is get business cards. Cards are just as important as resumes. The number of occasions where you can actually hand out your resume is limited, but you can hand out your card everywhere. Keep plenty of cards on you always because you never know where you will meet your next boss.
Your business card should brand you and reflect your personality. If you want to project creativity, your card should communicate that quality. Hire a graphic designer that is currently studying at an art school or taking similar classes in college. It doesn’t have to cost much. Your title should be unique and memorable. It should make people laugh. Try “Apprentice for Hire” rather than the predictable.
Mind your parents’ friends. They aren’t just more old people. They are a network of great resources many of whom are in positions of influence. Exchange cards. Follow up with them independently of your parents and arrange for courtesy interviews. This will allow you to polish your interviewing skills in a relaxed setting. They may also help you find a job.
Create a database. You should start building your database of contacts when you graduate and continue to build it throughout your career. It will become one of your most valuable resources. Think about how powerful your data base could be if you built it up over 30 years and kept it current.
Attend networking events in your field of interest. For instance, if you are interested in marketing attend local chapters of the American Marketing Association or Public Relations Society of America or AD Club. Bring your cards and keep them in your hand. Don’t hang with your friends. You are there to meet new people.
Arrive at the events early and read the name cards of people who will be attending. Introduce yourself to the people you want to meet when they arrive. Most people enjoy helping young people.
About Hank Blank and Blank and Associates
Blank and Associates provides a variety of Marketing Services for clients. Its founder and President, Hank Blank, is a well known networker in Southern California and has spoken to numerous companies and organizations on networking. Most recently he was the keynote speaker for Volvo of North America’s Leadership Guild in Cabo San Lucas. To have Hank Blank speak to your company or organization on the power of networking or to buy his networking CD at a ridiculously low price of $37 e mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.hankblank.com