Job Hunting Tips for High School & College Grads

By Steve p Brady

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You Have Graduated. Now What?

It is that time of year again. Graduation gowns, proms, valedictorian speeches, and the inevitable question that follows all graduation activities: Now what? Whether you are graduating from high school or college you will need to have some job plans for the future.

The first thing you need to do is make sure your resume package is complete. While the importance of finding work after school is more important to college grads than high school grads, with the ever-increasing cost of college, even 18 year olds need to be gainfully employed- even if for just the summer months. So whether you are applying for an internship or are taking the first step onto the corporate ladder these tips should help you on your way.

Resume Tips for Recent High School Grads

If you have just finished high school then creating a resume will be your first challenge. While your experience is limited, proper format and some writing savvy will go a long way towards making your resume one that gets attention.

1.Make an Outline. I'm sure you've heard this one before. As an English teacher I know I have certainly said it before. However, it bears repeating, because it is true. Before you write anything, make should to list it all out.

2. Review Resume Samples. There are lots of different ways to format your resume. Look around the web, check out a book at the library, determine what format will work best for you.

3. Include All Your Activities. At this stage in your professional life you are going to be thin on accomplishments, so it is better to err on the side of over-including.

4. Promote Your Attitude and Performance. Later on, once you are established, this will be considered filler in a resume, but at this point playing up your work ethic will come across as appropriate. Sell yourself.

5. Use Action Verbs. Never start a statement with a personal pronoun. Instead of saying, " I contributed articles to the school newspaper ," say, " Contributed quality writing to school newspaper. "

6. Proofread your Draft. I'll say it again. Proofread your draft. I can not tell you the number of resumes HR departments simply throw out after encountering careless errors.

7. Ask for Recommendations. You'll need them eventually, ask now while teachers, coaches and advisers still remember you well.

If you have just graduated from college, or are about to, you need to take a larger scale approach to the resume package, which will include multiple resumes, cover letters, portfolios, networking andsocial media profiles. I won't lie to you; the job market is tough. Most surveys report that about ½ of recent grads are either unemployed or underemployed.

I said tough , not impossible .

There are many positive steps that you can take to better your chances of finding solid employment.

Job Searching Tips for Recent College Grads

1. Contact your college career office . They are paid to help you. Use them.

2. Resist the temptation to take the summer off from job searching . The longer you wait, the harder it will become, especially in a tight job market. The best jobs will go to those candidates who go out and find them first.

3. Update and fine tune your resume and cover letters . See the above advice- it will work for you too.

4. Start networking...yesterday . Talk to your alumni office and ask about a list of contacts in your desired industry. Look for career events where you can interact with alumni. Use social media to start creating your personal brand.

5. Use your Facebook friends . In a nice way of course! Get in touch with those who graduated a year ahead you. Do they know of openings, other contacts that could help?

6.Shadow a professional in your industry. After making some contacts you are sure to hit it off with someone. Even if they can not help you land an interview at this point ask to shadow them for a day. This will help to solidify the relationship and allow you to possible make further connections within the industry.

7. If you are not on LinkedIn, get on it. Linkedin is the number one professional networking site. You need to be there and be active. Join groups and participate regularly. Recruiters search LinkedIn for specific types of employees. Make sure to present yourself well here.

8. Get a job. Even if you can't find a job in your field you need to start building up your resume. It is much easier to job hunt while employed. Try a temp agency or even a paid internship.

Entering the world of work in a slowly recovering economy isn't easy, but it can be accomplished with a little planning and a lot of hard work. You have worked hard for 10-15 years in school- it is time to put that knowledge to good use.


Steve P Brady has been an executive resume writer for over 10 years. He also publishes a monthly newsletter for those interested in growing their careers.

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