May 25, 2020

4 ways college grads entering a bleak job market can boost their chances of launching successful careers

[Business Insider]

Career coach Lynn Taylor offers four tips for getting ahead in a bleak job market:

  • Recent graduates are at risk of being unemployed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert, told Business Insider that recent graduates should not panic. She said they should instead spend time preparing for their next opportunity.
  • This can include staying positive, preparing job search materials, and using connections to find jobs that aren’t advertised on career sites.
  • Here are four tips you can use for entering the job market as a college graduate.

Many college graduates have landed in a weak job market as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Experts say COVID-19  will have lasting effects on the economy. This uncertainty can make college graduates feel doubly stressed about their job search.

However, there are strategies graduates can use to combat these concerns.

According to Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert, the CEO of accessory brand BehindtheBuckle, and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job,” recent graduates should try their best to resist job-related panic. Foremost, she said graduates should get into a positive mindset. Then, they should focus on creating a plan.

“There is some light at the end of the tunnel,” Taylor said. “Sometimes it’s helpful when you’re feeling negative energy to turn that negative energy into productivity and view it as a challenge.” 

Get into the right mindset 

With unemployment at record levels  at least 39 million jobless claims have been filed in the US — it’s easy to feel discouraged. However, Taylor recommends using mental tricks to conquer these fears.

“It’s always good to get in the right mindset under these kinds of traumatic circumstances,” she said.

“What is your self-talk in the morning?” she asked. “Is it, ‘How am I going to get a job? This is the worst possible job market!'”

Instead, Taylor encourages students to take an “empowered” approach. This means reframing negative ideas with positive ones.

“You can change your life in the morning by saying this is an opportunity for me to rise to the occasion,” Taylor said. “Assume that hiring managers are more available now to read your emails because business activity has slowed temporarily.”

One step college graduates can take is meditating for about 10 minutes every day. She said it’s important to know that “you’re in control of the present.”

“If you set your intention every morning that you are going to look at only the bright side… those outcomes are more likely to come to fruition,” she said.

Prepare your job-search material

Additionally, Taylor recommends having a customized cover letter that is tailored to fit the needs of specific companies. She advises creating a cover letter with an “upbeat” tone that doesn’t harp on the bad news of the pandemic.

“You want to make sure you do your homework,” Taylor said. “The more customized your letter, the better your chances are of landing the job.”

Similarly, it’s also useful for students to use this time to practice their interviewing skills. Taylor recommends doing this either in front of a mirror, with your family members, or by filming yourself on your iPhone. Business Insider previously reported that being in a well-lit room, framing yourself from the waist up, and maintaining a pleasant facial expression while on the video call can also boost your chances of impressing an interviewer.

Find the key players in your industry 

During your job search, Taylor recommends being “proactive” instead of “reactive.” For example, this may mean doing some extra digging on Linkedln and connecting with hiring managers. They may have clues to jobs that aren’t posted, she said.

“They might listen to you if you reach out to them because you just happened to hit them at the right time,” Taylor said. “That job might just be created for you because they put a bunch of needs together.”

If the hiring manager isn’t listed on the job posting, experts recommend finding an alternative. A prospective applicant may find it helpful to search for the recruiting agency’s website, Business Insider reported. In this case, an applicant will want to look at the bios of all the people who work there. Then, see which one works primarily with the company they’re applying to. 

Job site the Muse recommends looking for someone on Linkedln that is in a similar role within the company or department as the one they want. When they locate and connect with this person, find common ground with them. 

In the introduction, they may want to highlight that they’re both members of a professional organization or attended the same college. Then, they can pop the question: “Would you happen to know who the best person for me to contact would be, to get a bit more info about this role?”

Join a professional organization

Becoming a member of a career association can also help a recent graduate land a job, Taylor said. According to Taylor, these committees are a great tool for networking with others in a candidate’s field.

For example, IEEE is one of the world’s largesttechnical professional organizations. On the other hand, the Association for Finance Professionals (AFP) is a known hub for meeting people in the finance industry and coming up with new ideas.

“You can always ask advice from senior leaders of the association,” Taylor said. “Many are flattered by that.”

While the job market is bleak now, it will not be like that forever. With this in mind, she said it’s better to think ahead and prepare because the right opportunity may just come along.

“All you need is one job,” she said. “So every little step that you’re taking now is an investment in your career’s future.”

By Mr. Tatyana Bellamy Walker

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