Have you graduated or will be a grad soon? Does your job future seem bleak from the effects of Covid-19? What if you had a few strategies that not only set you apart, but boosted your chances of getting hired?
Recruiters meet and speak with a wide variety of people. One of our superpowers is assessing who has prepared themselves and who hasn’t. The person who prepares using the strategies we share here has the greatest chance of success in landing a job they actually want.
So, what does it take?
Strategy #1: Make Choices that Feel Good
This will be your operating system in life. What do you want to have experience doing? Where do you feel called to help? The positive energy you’ve put into school + the positive energy you put into landing a job are investments in yourself. Making choices that feel right will move you forward. It doesn’t mean you will always make ideal choices, but by trial and error, you will quickly learn how to trust your instincts. No matter what you do with your life, it’s the positive energy that will work in your favor. Here are some great tools to get there.
The flipside: Panic, do nothing, ignore/deny or avoid; thinking “I don’t have enough skills” or “I’m a college grad—that’s below me.”
Strategy #2: Not Sure What You Want? Find Out
Start with a trusted mentor. Who has the knowledge to help you the most? Visit your school’s career counseling department or alumni resources center. There are also plenty of free quizzes and fun tests that help you find out what you’re best suited for. Some good ones include Glassdoor’s What Job Fits Your Life? quiz; a free Myers-Briggs mini-test, or check out the Career Center at EntryLevelBoss, #entrylevelboss on Instagram. It’s OK to visualize your future in glimpses. What do you see yourself doing that sustains your interest? Create a vision board for work and add to it as you go.
The flipside: Feeling overwhelmed, avoidant or panicked; thinking, “I don’t know where to start” or “I’ll figure it out later.”
Strategy #3: Prioritize Your Connections
We all want to feel like what we say and do makes a difference. Even in the briefest encounters, we all want to feel like we matter. Imagine a treasure hunt where every person in your social network just might know the right person for you to talk to at a company you’re interested in. The prize is one or more key connections to talk to, share your resume with, or add to your LinkedIn page (highly recommended). The wider your network, the easier it will be to find and connect with others who can help you achieve your job goals. Before reaching out to a new contact, move to strategy #4 below.
Spoiler alert: Connecting with your devices is actually a bridge for connecting with people in everyday life.
The flipside: You’re going to miss out on some very valuable life experience.
Strategy #4: Explore Proactively
It’s all about being curious—particularly since you have to be more assertive than ever about your career. Be willing to dig enough on LinkedIn to find out who the hiring managers are where you want to work. Can’t find the right people? Search a company’s website and look at their employee bios. Who does work similar to what you’d like to do? Lead with your strengths. Reach out to them with a thoughtful message of what you can bring to the table for them.
Bonus: Notice what other people say about themselves that parallels what you’re good at and write your own version.
The flipside: Expecting a friend or family member to do the legwork for you; thinking “companies aren’t hiring now” or “this won’t pay enough.”
Strategy #5: Dive into Volunteering / Gig Work
Volunteering is an excellent way to see what it’s like to work somewhere. Maybe you think working with children is where your strengths are. Great! So what will that look like? What if you shadowed a friend who just got a job with a local youth group? Asking for the opportunity to shadow someone is a great way to do two things: find out what a job is like, and expand your network.
Your college career center or alumni association can also help you get connected with job shadowing and volunteer work. Websites like VolunteerMatch and Meetup will help you find people with common interests. Offering yourself for free during work hours will definitely get an employer’s attention. Taking on side projects or gig work give you a chance to see how things work from the inside out—while you develop valuable experience. Bonus: If you track the best parts of your day and what you learned, you will start to see a pattern emerge. This pattern will inform your choices going forward.
The flipside: Anxiety or regret; thinking “I should only work for companies that I’ve heard of before”
This is a time for being curious, exploring what’s possible, and moving forward with a positive perspective, regardless of external circumstances. The goal here is to help you get a clearer picture of what you want and where you may want to go. Clarity isn’t something you get—it’s something you have to seek.
As always, we welcome your feedback on this unprecedented journey and look forward to hearing what works for you, your friends, and your family. We’re here for you!
Taking sensible precautions to stay healthy and safe means you get to enjoy more of your summer!
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