Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer is job hunting season for Coker College grads

Coker College had an impressive graduation a couple of Saturday's ago. And, for many Coker College seniors, this was the timhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gife to begin to looking for jobs. I spoke to several who were still hoping they could enjoy their last summer before the "real world' and have a real vacation. It is more than a guess that the reality of having to find a way to put the degree to use in making a living is kicking in.

In my classes and in our one-on-one discussions I will often tell students that I have found finding a job is just about the hardest job I have had. In today's economy, even as it gets better, this still appears to be the case. One of our former Coker students just announced on Facebook that she has just been offered and taken her first job. She has been in graduate school since her graduation. The company that hired Shannon has made a great decision.

And, the other day I had a call from a good friend who has a job opening and a couple of my former students were in the running. He had a short list of about five who were being considered for that opening. It was a list that had been shortened significantly from a large number of applicants. What kept some of the people off the short list?
-- Resumes that exceeded one page
-- Resumes that used long paragraphs of explanations instead of bullet points
-- Resumes that were not complete
-- Resumes that had errors
In several of the classes that I teach that I consider "professional" we include discussion on the job search. We include discussion on the above resume errors but like most of what we learn in life, we have to keep being reminded.

Just today I got one of those sort of junk emails about jobs. It had a major lesson that kept it from being "junk" in my mind. The person writing the email asked an important question. Is the resume for you or is it for the employer? The right answer to that question is a variation of the lesson most of my students repeat in their sleep -- Know Your Audience. The person writing that email was selling resume-writing services for those who were still writing for themselves.

Also today, PR Daily had an email where they asking PR people about what they tell recent grads who are in the job hunt. One of the unusual but totally on-target pieces of advice was "to say hello to people" - lots of people. Most people get jobs through networking and we tell students that is not something they should fight -- they need to learn to network. We talk about networking books. We talk about elevator pitches and when we put job-search plans together, these activities are part of that hard work that goes into the hard jot of finding a job.

As I was writing I received call on my mobile that was a reference check from someone who may be hiring a former student. The competition for this particular job is intense. There were 134 job applicants. The 134 were whittled to 12. I think the hiring person said the 12 were then trimmed to five. There were at least three rounds of face to face interviews. There was a writing test and there are still three strong contenders for the job. I was delighted to recommended my former student. She was a good student who understood the value of hard work. She was a student who took full advantage of the Coker liberal arts education and then went on for her Masters. If they hire her, she will prove herself in the work place. As the person doing the hiring said she told applicants, it is hard for them and it makes her job a bit more difficult because of the supply but it sure does mean she has the ability to choose from a lot of very strong candidates. That is a message the students get when we discuss the job hunt. Times are frequently hard. The economy is frequently out of kilter and you have to equip yourself to be competitive.

This is the job hunting season so keep your ears open. If you know of jobs that are available tell people who may know people in the hunt. If you are hunting make sure people know you are in the hunt.

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