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Job Hunting ABCs for recent graduates

Before the flying mortarboard caps even hit the ground at college and university commencement ceremonies, the brand-new graduates begin pondering the job market. Today's trying economic times only add to the challenge of the recent grad’s job hunt.

What practical and professional steps can a brand-new graduate employ, as he or she seeks to find gainful employment after commencement?

Try these five basic steps for maximizing job hunting success.

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1. Build a Network.

Personal relationships and professional references still count plenty in the job market. The smartest college graduates, setting out to hunt for jobs, begin by talking with family members, friends and others. By interacting with personal contacts, the job hunter can expand his or her circle of possible employment leads.

After all, one never knows from where the best job hunting hint may come. That friend of a friend or second cousin once removed just might be hiring.

2. Plan Your Attack.

Time management is an essential tool for a recent college graduate hunting for a job. Deliberate and purposeful planning can pay off in the job market.

Having recently graduated from a college or university, the newly degreed job hunter likely possesses a certain amount of insight into his or her own academic and professional interests and strengths. At least initially, the job hunt should focus on these areas.

3. Write a Resume.

The professional resume has become the basis, at least on paper, of the modern job hunt. This document should include the job hunter's academic and professional background. The professional resume should always be accompanied by a well-written cover letter. A list of professional references, if available, should be on hand as well.

Once the job hunter has composed his or her professional resume and cover letter format, it will be time for targeted mailings to potential employers. These contacts may be compiled from personal networking, as well as professional listings in the job applicant's area of interest. (The public library and online professional directories are excellent resources for this process.)

This step, of course, will be followed by periodic telephone inquiries. The job hunter's goal, in making telephone inquiries, is to set up informational interviews, if possible. The smartest job hunters, even fresh out of college, may offer to take key individuals for coffee or lunch. Such a meeting may open doors of opportunity for the recent college graduate. At the very least, these sessions may help build the job hunter's personal and professional network and his or her knowledge of potential fields of employment.

A savvy job applicant will never leave a single informational interview without obtaining at least one new name as a potential contact. After all, one contact may lead to another.

4. Take a Job.

Although a brand-new college graduate may be somewhat idealistic, hoping to land his or her dream job immediately, this is not always the case. Many job hunters must begin their careers by accepting less-than-ideal jobs and working their way to the positions they truly desire.

Employers tend to respect effort. Prospective employees who are willing to work (even part time) while hunting for professional slots in their areas of expertise, may be even more employable than those who are not. Many degreed individuals begin with hourly positions outside their areas, simply to pay the bills while they seek the jobs they desire.

In today's trying job market, everything counts.

5. Aim for Open-Mindedness.

Many recent college graduates have already envisioned the career paths they would like to take. Others have not. In any case, the professional job marketplace generally surprises everyone.

Often, new professional possibilities may arise, as a job hunter begins to seek employment. Even more avenues may open, once that individual starts to build career experience. Technology advances constantly, and company structures shift. Open-mindedness is a key to success in an ever-changing job marketplace.

 Job Hunting ABCs for recent graduates
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