Thursday, October 20, 2011

Job Hunting Advice for New Graduates

A friend of mine asked for my advice for his son. The situation is prototypical, so I thought I'd share his situation and my suggestion.

The son is a new college graduate with a BA in psychology from a reasonably regarded but not prestigious state university. He's tried to land a job for a year but can only land something he could have gotten with a high school diploma. He asked if I had any advice. I suggested he try one or more of these strategies:
  • Identify one company, govt office, or non-profit at which you''d most like to work. Read up on it and then talk to one, or better, two or three people there, explaining why you'd love to work there, and what are some of his better skills and abilities. If necessary, it could be an internship or low-pay job as a launchpad.
  • Ask relatives, friends, parents of friends, etc. Usually only people who love you will--especially in this job market--give you even a strong lead on a good job. Be sure to tout your transferable skills--for example, the leadership and organizational skills you acquired as your fraternity's activities chair.
  • If you've tapped out your network, you must build a new one. Volunteer at places likely to give you face time with people who could employ you. Create deep connection: listen to them, offer to help them, tactfully teach them something, be pleasant.
  • Start a low-cost, simple, non-trendy business, replicating a successful formula, for example, a coffee/dessert cart in the lobby of a large hospital or office building. Status is the enemy of contentment. After the first cart is successful, establish a second one and hire trusted people to staff both. Keep expanding until you've netted $200,000 a year. More than that and the quality control often goes down or the workload expands too much. $200,000 is more than enough to live well on.
If that advice is inadequate, your son might read one or more of these:
Only if all that is unsuccessful, would I recommend his seeing a career counselor. If he needs to do that, he might ask who the best career counselor is in the career office at his alma mater.

1 comment:

ST said...

I posted a comment in the "What Career to Pursue" article link about testing abilities on which direction to go.


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