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VOL. 35 | NO. 18 | Friday, May 6, 2011

More jobs seen for new grads

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The job market for upcoming college and high school graduates is still tight but getting better.

Employers throughout the U.S. have indicated they expect to hire 19.3 percent more college graduates than they did last year, according to a report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. And the hiring of new high school graduates should experience a similar increase.

Those graduates that are smart and put forth the necessary effort have a greater chance of finding a good job than those that do not.

Being smart means putting together a solid and attractive resume. Since it is still very competitive in the employment market, you need to take the time to show a potential employer what you are all about.

Include all your education, experience and skills. Don’t forget outside school activities that are not work related, such as volunteer activities. Consider your greatest strengths. Do you see a trend of what motivates you or where your abilities perform the best? Focus on your education, experience, skills and abilities, and tie everything together. Organize everything into an easy-to-read format.

If you worked part time or had a summer job, include that in your resume. It might not seem relevant for the position you are applying, but it shows you are industrious.

Write a good cover letter that complements your resume. When applying for different positions, tailor a letter for each employer. The extra effort can make a big difference in your success.

There are primarily two types of cover letters – solicited and unsolicited. Solicited are for jobs that are advertised, while unsolicited letters are for positions not advertised, which actually make up most of the jobs in the employment market. Though they both should contain much of the same information of your credentials in the body, they should be crafted differently. This is particularly true of the introduction.

Remember, the best way to find a job is through networking. Don’t just apply for positions on the Internet or in the newspaper. Talk with school counselors, former teachers, friends and relatives. Talk with friends that have recently been hired and find out if there are positions available that match with your qualifications.

Formulate a strategy to look for jobs you are most interested in performing. If the employer you are really interested in is not hiring, consider an alternative approach. See if they would let you be an unpaid intern. Getting an internship is a way you can show employers what you are capable of doing while gaining valuable experience. Hiring managers are more likely to hire someone they know can perform well on the job than hiring someone they are not familiar with. At the very least you would have experience to add to your resume.

Don’t forget the No. 1 mistake new graduates make – applying for the wrong job. Applying for positions to which you are not qualified is a waste of time. This includes aiming too high on the career ladder.

Put forth the effort to package yourself in the best way possible. Set up a strategy to focus on jobs you are interested in obtaining. Be prepared for a lot of work to send out cover letters, resumes and talking with employers. Eventually your efforts will pay off.

M.B. Owens is a Nashville-based columnist and journalist with a decade of experience writing on employment topics and business. He can be reached at mariusowens@aol.com.

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