So you just graduated. You listened to the commencement speech, grabbed your diploma, sobered up from those nights of endless college drinking and you are hungry for the world and what it has to offer.
The only problem now is you need a job and a place to apply this thirst for success and a real paycheck. Big dreams are good at this point but you need to stay in the present moment to in order succeed. Creating unrealistic expectations can only bring disappointment . The first thing you need to do is sit down with a pen and paper and brainstorm. Its easy to just come up with stuff in your head but it can sharpen your focus if you start trying to physically map where you want to be realistically on paper. Dont fret, I was in this position one year ago. I graduated with no job and worried thoughts about what i was going to do just like you.
Here are my list of tips that i have personally found helpful during my search for a job.
- Network. I really can’t stress this enough. You should treat yourself like a start up business and market the crap out of it. Go out of your way to meet, talk, impress and wow people around you in the field you are looking to go into. This is how you get a foot into the door. Research the industry and the different jobs you are interested in like crazy. Talk to people, be hungry and stay hungry. Your dad’s uncle’s best friend knows a guy at the company you want to work for? Pick up the phone and try to call that guy, stay in touch and check in with him every 4 days. People respond to persistence and passion. If you really want something you will make it happen, if you don’t you will make excuses. When I was starting out I went to many meetings and lunches with different bankers from large and small banks time and time again to just finish the meetings with them telling me that they didn’t have any job openings but they knew another guy at another bank that could help me out. I would shake hands, thank them for their time, and then immediately call their contact. I did this many times before finally landing an interview. It worked, because I didn’t give up. The more you network the easier it will become and the better you will be at it. Remember, you will most likely be working for someone in the baby boomer generation so you have to relate to them by picking up the phone sometimes and not just using email or linkedIn.
- Find a headhunter or a recruiting agency. These are people who’s main job is to find you a job. They are paid by the company to seek talent. Most headhunters will charge you nothing for their services. These are a great resource because they will set you up for interviews, and help you prepare for the interviews. They want you to get a job just as bad as you do because that is how they get paid. Even if you don’t get a job through a headhunter the whole process will help you practice for interviews and give you good experience for the jobs you do want or come across.
- Go to networking events and in your field. these are great ways to meet people who could possibly help you find a job. from what I’ve learned working in the city is that everybody knows at least 5 people who have the potential to help you in a big way in landing a job, so you should never underestimate the power of a smile and a handshake. it can get you a lot farther than you ever imagined.
- Don’t limit yourself to possibilities and don’t stop searching until you have an OFFER! Jobs are like girlfriends or boyfriends. Always be looking for potential matches when on the market. Just because you have a prospect doesn’t mean you should stop pursuing other opportunities. Keep the search going until you have that offer at the very end.
- Talk to your friends who have jobs at companies, get insight on what they do and what their company is like. If you think it would be a good match ask them if they know anyone in HR that you could reach out to. Many times people get bonuses for finding talent or potential employees, so its a good incentive for both of you. LinkedIn is a good source for this as well, usually you can see where your connections work, don’t be afraid to reach out.
- Dont rule out opportunities. I always liked the sales phrase, “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work”. This rings true because if you want a job you should be doing whatever means possible. I remember that I was on tinder one day which is the cell phone dating app and I gave my resume to a girl who I talking to whose dad worked for a hedge fund in Boston. I was doing whatever it took.
- Don’t give up. Jobs usually come from the most unlikely places. Just because you got an automated rejection email from State Street doesn’t mean that you are a failure. Try to stay away from just applying online to companies through the career website, or your schools job link. Many times those online applications are screened extremely loosely and if you don’t have much going for you on paper you’re likely to get rejected because it doesn’t give employers an full picture of the real you. I was also talking to a couple employers and many said that those sites just feed to the HR spam email folder and many are rarely looked at.
- My last piece of advice is to not care about what other people think. This is your life, you need to hound people for a job. Don’t be afraid to really get their attention and don’t be passive because employers have a lot on their mind and will easily forget about potential candidates if they aren’t constantly being put in front of them. So make sure you dial that phone and send those emails reminding them who you are and what you want. My dad’s buddy once told me that he stood outside of a company in a suit everyday waiting for the employer to give him a job. His dedication and persistence paid off because even though he thought it was weird, he knew that my dad’s friend was hungry and dedicated. That’s what employers are looking for.
Good Luck and Let the Game of Life begin!