Getting a job in today's competitive job market can be a challenge for any job seeker, but for recent graduates with little to no work experience, the challenge can seem nearly insurmountable. If you're a new job seeker without much experience, you need to position yourself strategically in order to stand out against the competition. Members of Forbes Magazine's Coaches Council offer a few valuable pieces of advice for getting a post-grad job.
Use What You've Got
A lack of work experience does not automatically exclude you from the running. Use whatever experience you've gained from school, including professional courses, projects, term papers and extracurricular activities. Make it clear that you can take what you've learned and apply it to your job. This is more impressive to potential employers than your GPA, says Barbara Safani of Career Solvers.
Volunteer experience is a major plus for any job seeker, and it helps you fill out your resume if you lack traditional work experience. Look for opportunities that have you providing customer service, working as part of a team or leading a small group of your peers. These are valuable transferable skills that you can emphasize on your resume and during your next job interview.
LinkedIn is a great way for job seekers to connect with industry insiders and other professionals. If you don't already have a LinkedIn account, create one, and immediately connect with your parents, neighbors, professors, coaches and friends. The first-degree connections you establish can introduce you to their networks. Many people are more likely to hire candidates they know, so make yourself known, advises Julie Bondy Roberts of Coming Alive Career Coaching.
Besides LinkedIn and social media, look for other ways to connect with professionals and other job seekers in your industry. Find message boards, blogs and discussion groups related to your industry, and sign up for updates. Attend seminars and networking events in your area to meet others who may hold the key to your next opportunity. The bigger your network, the greater chances you have of finding new job opportunities.
Narrow Your Focus
One of the biggest challenges for a new job seeker is trying to navigate dozens of different job postings, locations and industries. You can easily become overwhelmed if you cast too big a net. Even if you're not quite sure exactly what you want to do, try to choose one field, and focus on opportunities within that field, advises Larry Boyer of Success Rockets. As you go further, you'll have a better idea of what kind of work you can expect and whether it feels right for you.
The road to a new job won't be easy. If you're a recent graduate and new job seeker, you are likely aware of how competitive the job market can be. Use your skills and resources to help yourself stand out from the competition and greatly improve your chances of getting hired.
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