If your LinkedIn feed is like ours, it has been filled with college grads celebrating all their hard work. It’s fantastic to see all of the celebrations take place in 2021 — as last year’s ceremonies were on Zoom and some were canceled completely.
When the accolades have been given and the celebration is over, graduates are propelled into the world to apply what they have learned. Most new graduates feel at least some level of anxiety after they receive their degrees.
Relax and be optimistic!
There are jobs! We would caution any graduate to get discouraged by media hype. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May 2021 that 559, 000 jobs were added, unemployment is down, and there were notable job gains in leisure and hospitality, public and private education, and an increase in the health care industry. Productivity is up 5.4% and compensation has risen. Also noted, there are upticks in construction, finance, accounting, marketing, and human resources/recruiting-related jobs. These are all very positive indicators that the job market is strong and now is a good time to launch your career.
To make jumping into the job market even more appealing; jobs come in all sizes and shapes – Full-time, WFH, In-Office, Part-time, Hybrid, Contract. A wide variety of “work types” seems to be the new norm. Traditional, “full-time in-office” isn’t the only option.
There is a myth that if you have a college degree, you have a job.
Traditionally, the university system has been amazing at turning out college grads and collecting tuition payments, but many university career centers are not doing enough to help grads get connected to gainful employment. If a college student is lucky, they’ve been to job fairs and had a class assignment or two on how to make their resume and set up their LinkedIn profile. While it’s a candidate’s market…skill, connections, and sticktoitiveness are required to find the right job; one that will send a graduate on a successful career trajectory.
It takes the average college graduate three to six months to secure employment after graduation. What can you do to close the gap?
1. Be committed. Determine when you will do your job search and schedule it in a personal calendar. Graduates need to set aside 5-8 hours a day to concentrate on their job search. Looking for a job IS a full-time job. This time should include applications, emails, calls, meetings with your recruiter, connection requests on Linkedin, and research.
2. Use a spreadsheet. So simple, but yet important to stay organized. → Download a great one to use here.
3. Develop a very clear objective and put it in writing. Refer to it and refine it as you learn more during your job search.
4. Tailor your resume. Set out to customize your resume and cover letter for each job.
5. Do your research. Job candidates need to be prepared. You must study the job requirements, company, and any key personnel that you may come in contact with.
6. Use a recruiter. It’s the truth, many jobs are filled before they are even posted. This is the case of who you know not what you know. If you choose to partner with a great recruiting firm, you’re in luck because they know many hiring managers and have inside tracks with potential employers due to our their years of experience and connections. An outstanding recruiter can be your best advocate and an important sounding board. They will be honest with you, provide valuable feedback from interviews, direct you when you feel your gut instinct might not be kicking in. Your recruiter is in your court, they are on your team and will be sure to help you find the exact cultural and technical fit. Find a recruiter here.
7. Get connected. Update your Linkedin profile to align with your overall objectives and resume. Your profile does not need to be your full resume, but it must be comprehensive. Here’s a quick checklist for your LinkedIn profile setup.
__Feature Banner. Upload a photo in the banner area. It can be of the city you live in or something creative that includes your objective.
__Profile Photo. Professional-looking profile headshot. Adding a professional photo to your profile makes you 11 times more likely to be found on LinkedIn.
__Headline. The default for this field is your current job title and company name. However, it is fully editable, so you can make this say whatever you’d like, up to 120 characters. This field is required for all-star status. You can include your current job and aspirational objectives. For example, * • Recent graduate of Boston University looking for a position in a fortune 500 accounting firm where I can expand my knowledge and skills. • Marketing Intern and graduate of San Diego State University looking to make an impact in online sales in the fashion industry.
__Summary. Think of it as your “elevator speech.” You have up to 2,000 characters, but the best practice is to keep it short and sweet.
__Skills. Profile views for LinkedIn members that list skills on their profiles are 4 times higher than views for profiles that do not list skills. You can add up to 50 skills to your profile. Three are required for all-star status.
__Experience. Your current position with a job description, plus 2 prior positions are required for all-star status. A good rule of thumb here is to include 3 positions and/or your jobs for the past 15 years but consider your career goals. There’s no need to clutter your profile with irrelevant jobs unless you would otherwise be left with a long gap in employment.
__Education. Do you have an Associates’ degree? A Bachelors? How about a Master’s or a Ph.D.? Add all of your post-high-school education. According to LinkedIn, profiles that contain education content receive 7 times more profile views. This section is required for all-star status.
__Volunteer Experience. All experience, whether paid or unpaid, is valuable. A 2011 survey conducted by LinkedIn revealed that one out of every five hiring managers in the U.S. has hired a candidate because of their volunteer work experience.
__Certification. Do you have a certification or a certificate that would support your job search goals? According to LinkedIn, profiles that have certifications receive double the profile views.
__Honors & Awards. If you’ve earned a Medal of Honor or Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service, Commendation, or Achievement medal, consider including them here.
__Projects. In the Projects section, you can add more detail about specific projects. They will be associated with the position you held while you worked on the project, and you can include other people with whom you worked on that project if you are connected to them.
__Connections. Get connected and aim to have 500 or more connections. Do your best to have quality connections and disconnect with anyone who is not providing value for you on the LinkedIn platform.
TOP LINKEDIN TIPS!
1. No “grey ghosted boxes” Make sure all of the logo boxes are linked to educational institutions you have attended or jobs and internships.
2. Get reviews. Have you worked with someone on a project that can vouch for you? Ask for reviews and aim to have at least 5-10.
You’ve checked off all the boxes and feel confident, so what’s next?
Stay mentally positive and stick to your plan! Sure, there will be challenges. Keep in mind that many successful professionals have walked in your shoes. While a straight path is good in theory, twists and turns may happen and a bridge job that can help you explore and build skills may be optimal.