Aren’t graduations great? The ultimate “feel good” event. Sure, the valedictorian is celebrated and others receive honorable mentions, but the day is about acknowledging the milestone for everyone. It’s not like they give out diplomas by your GPA.
The whole event makes you feel so optimistic and positive. It’s not like the keynote speaker is going to make you feel bad. No one is standing in front of a class of today’s college grads and saying, “According to NACE, 76% of students who were seeking jobs are still unemployed at graduation – and it has been that way for the past 3 years.” That would be cruel.
It would also be accurate.
So graduation has come and gone and everyone has acknowledged your accomplishments and hard work. Even if you haven’t yet found a job, PLEASE don’t indulge yourself by taking the summer off to relax – be proactive.
Remember, the harder you work, the luckier you get! So here are recommendations for how you should spend your time this summer:
- Make finding a job, your job. Create a schedule for yourself – this is the hardest thing for most job seekers. In general, you don’t really have any deadlines so you feel like you have to be in the mood to work on your job search. But, the business world has hours and you need to work according to that schedule. Set you alarm so you are ready to start work at 9am. Know how many days each week and how many hours each day will be dedicated to your search – discipline and organization are critical. Remember that Monday mornings and Friday afternoons are the most difficult time to reach people.
- Read. You should dedicate time each day to reading newspapers, periodicals and online resources – learning about the current issues in your field of interest and understanding trends. And what about books? You can get a lot of insight from learning what the pundits in your field are saying. It is not enough to read the website of a company before your meeting to feel adequately prepared. Don’t forget about social media: using resources such as blogs and LinkedIn can be very informative.
- Be conservative about time spent applying for jobs online. We all know that a low percentage of jobs are filled by online applicants. So be smart – don’t spend time perusing the job boards during business hours. Do this before or after business hours and on the weekends. Figure out how many hours a week you want to devote to applying online, but don’t let that distract you from what you should be focusing on – networking and getting personal introductions.
Taking the summer off to vacation on the beach is not going to take the sting out of looking for a job. It won’t increase your confidence either. But having a plan will make you feel better and ensure that you’re moving in the right direction.
Now, if you do decide to spend the summer at the beach, please lose the tan before your start interviewing – it gives off the wrong message, unless you want to work at a tanning salon.
Lesley is president and founder of Priority Candidates, which prepares college students and recent graduates nationwide to get hired for their first jobs. Previously, Lesley spent more than 25 years in executive search, working with candidates from entry level to C-Suite executives in organizations ranging in size from small, family owned businesses to large international organizations. Her fundamental knowledge of what hiring manager’s look for is the core of what Priority Candidates does to prepare college students/recent grads to get hired now. An alumnus of Duke University who is based in New York City, Lesley has been featured in USA Today, ABC’s New York Viewpoint with Ken Rosato, ABC News with Art McFarland, The New York Times, NY Nightly News with NBC4’s Chuck Scarborough, eCampus News and John Tucker’s Small Business Report on Bloomberg Radio. Lesley always welcomes connections via LinkedIn, on Twitter or by email or phone, available on her website.