The other day a potential client, a new grad, contacted me for help. I was very sorry that I had to turn her away as I couldn’t help her. You see, she didn’t know what to do with her degree. She could go this way or that, or perhaps some other way, but she wasn’t sure.
The saddest thing to me was that her university’s career office could give her no advice on possibilities, nor could the office help her narrow down her best bet according to studies, talents and interests. Without a target, her resume was not landing any interviews at all. It was not proving that she had the knowledge or skills to do the job as it was too diluted, proving only that she didn’t know what she wanted to do. And although I love writing strategic resumes, and am an expert in this field, I am not a career counsellor.
That new grad’s dilemma got me thinking: what creates a robust, resilient and effective job search? Here are three “must-haves.”
1. Alignment. Clearly this new grad’s issue illustrates this point very well. If you have no goal, no target, you don’t know what to prove. You must have a job title in mind and several job postings on hand in order to write a strategic resume. Your resume must align with your end goal. If you are like my caller, do seek out a good career counsellor. Unfortunately I cannot help with this, but once you know your goal, your resume and cover letter would be in expert hands!
2. Confidence. This applies not only to new grads; it applies to many job hunters. Confidence is critical. You must confidently express that you possess the credentials – skills, knowledge/education, and experience (yes, even new grads actually have experience; they often simply don’t know how to state it as such). You must articulate how you applied your knowledge and skills to solve the problems at hand (each job has a problem to resolve). If you are having trouble articulating your skills – the “how” of your skills being applied – check out StrengthsFinder 2.0, available in hard copy and as an online test. At less than $10 for the online test, it’s some of the best money you’ll spend. It helps you define and articulate the how of your work, your motivation, your working style …. don’t doubt the power of the spoken or written word!
3. Tactics. It’s very unlikely that a job will land in your lap simply because you have attained your diploma or degree. A job hunt takes tactics or a plan to execute. Targeting prospects, establishing an online presence, networking with colleagues, mentors, and through LinkedIn, – even cold-calling – there are many tactics available. You can customize your plan according to your strengths and industry, but a plan to work is faster than a haphazard watching of the job boards!
I hope that my caller sources out a career counsellor that meets her needs. It’s best to begin one’s post-grad career with purpose rather than desperation.
Working to YOUR career’s resounding success! – Stephanie