gmtoday_small.gif

 


Susan Tompor: How do you land that job after college?

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

July 6, 2015


Katie Diekman, 22, is looking forward to a "gap" year after graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in May.

Diekman, who majored in women’s studies and history, wants to find a job in the nonprofit field to fill that gap.

"For a lot of people, it’s really overwhelming," Diekman said. "It’s still very hard and frustrating looking for jobs."

Diekman is doing an unpaid grant writing internship at a Michigan chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters. She’s also working weekends at a gourmet market. Eventually, she wants to go to graduate school to become a professor in women’s studies.

But she wants to work in the nonprofit sector right now before committing to grad school. If she doesn’t find better paying work, she plans to move back home to and live with her parents for a while.

The class of 2015 is more fortunate than many other graduating classes. Employers had plans to hire 8.3 percent more new college graduates in 2015 than they did last year, according to a job outlook from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The reason? Companies are anticipating that their businesses will grow and they’re expecting more baby boomers to retire. Some employers want to fill their "talent pipelines," as well.

But overall, the job prospects have been slim for millennials.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen noted early in 2015 that millennials have had a "tough time in the job market."

Yellen stressed that as the economy strengthens, she’d expect more millennials to move on with their adult lives to form households and buy homes.

But first, you’ve got to find a good job, right? Here are three tips in the job hunt:

GET A JOB COACH

Or at least look for some outside help. Recent college grads who still don’t have a job or consider themselves as underemployed can tap into some job hunting tips and maybe find a job coach, as part of a "Brand of You" campaign being launched by Fifth Third Bank.

For the bank, the job hunting campaign is an opportunity to humanize a financial institution. For job seekers, though, there’s a shot at finding some extra help snagging a paycheck.

Many millennials are finding some real challenges finding work after getting a college degree, said Jack Riley, senior vice president and marketing director for Fifth Third Bank.

"There is a real problem out there," Riley said. "This is one small way in helping in that overall employment issue."

Some studies show that more than half of college grads are unemployed or underemployed six months after graduation, Riley said.

Fifth Third Bank is working again with the national reemployment company, NextJob. There’s a contest where Fifth Third is giving away $1 million in job coaching. The campaign will offer 1,000 job coaching scholarships from now through July 20. Participants tweet an answer to the question: "Tell us why you deserve free one-on-one job search coaching."

See #BrandofYou and #53Enter on Twitter for some details. Or go to the website www.53.com/brandofyou.

But there are also online tips and events to help build a brand and develop a job search schedule.

Resume tips include: Do not send out a generic resume. Highlight your skills that would fit a specific job at a specific company. Give details about your accomplishments. Use keywords that fit the industry or the company. Proofread.

GET OUT OF THE HOUSE

Erica Francis, 22, graduated in May from Central Michigan University with a bachelor of applied arts degree. She majored in broadcast and cinematic arts.

She just celebrated her first month working at her dream job as a TV reporter in Grand Rapids, Mich., because she went to a television conference in the spring and talked with a speaker who was a reporter from Fox 17 News WXMI.

The reporter suggested she contact the station and apply for a job. She thought there was no way they’d hire her but she applied.

She landed an interview. She almost teared up, she said, when she was offered the job.

"I was so excited that someone just offered me my dream job. I can’t believe I’m doing something I love so much."

Her advice: "I wouldn’t waste your time going through all those websites."

While job sites can help with some leads, she said, it worked better for her when she was able to make a contact with someone already at the company.

"If you’re reaching out to people and networking, those people will see how much you want the job," she said.

More advice: She created an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of where she sent resumes, contact names, information about the station, and where she was in the process of applying for a job. She didn’t always recognize who was calling her back, but she was able to quickly refer to the spreadsheet for information.

GET MOTIVATED

It can be too easy to stop looking, especially if you don’t have success in the first few months after graduating from college.

But the hiring picture is ever changing and jobs open up all the time. Spend some time researching companies to better understand how your skills and background might make a good fit for a given job. Get an idea of how you’d fit into a company culture.

Be willing to stretch and have some hope that you ultimately will find a real job.