5 Tips to Help Students Navigate the Tough Job Market

Published on Friday, December 18th, 2009

It’s no secret that the current job market is the most challenging in decades, and there does not appear to be much relief in sight for the class of 2010. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers expected to hire 7% fewer college graduates in 2010.  There are strategies students can apply to maximize chances of employment success.  You don’t have to be a senior to get started; these strategies also apply to part-time job and internship seekers.  Here are five examples:
1.  Start at least four months before graduation:   Get your resume updated prior to the beginning of the spring semester. When deadline-sensitive job listings come up you won’t be hastily throwing it together between mid-term study sessions. Start browsing job listings and making contacts in your field several months (or earlier) before graduation.
2.  Don’t rely solely on online job and resume postings:  Although they can be a valuable tool, job search web sites still result in much less than half of all hiring in the United States.  Networking is still the best way to find leads that go somewhere. The next three strategies will help improve your networking success.

3. Tell everyone you know: Over Thanksgiving, January break, and beyond, tell all your relatives, friends, and co-workers that you will soon be in the market for a job—specify position and industry—and that you’d appreciate any contacts they might offer.  You never know who can make a valuable introduction for you. Stay in touch, and be persistent.

4. Make friends with people who work in your field of choice:   The more people you know in your industry, the better networked you will be.  One way to do this is to join a professional association affiliated with your career of choice.  Most associations welcome students at a discounted rate.  Don’t just become a “silent member.”  Attend local and regional conferences, become active on email listservs for visibility, and be professional.  Ask faculty members or your Career Services office what associations or other networking opportunities might be best for you to consider.

5. Take advantage of resources:  Attend the Colleges of Worcester Consortium Career Fair on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at the DCU Center. Click here for more information.  Review the employer list carefully before attending to be sure the event includes your industry; not all industries are represented.
The Career Services office offers more individualized guidance to students about the above topics.   Ultimately, each job-seeker is accountable for his or her own success; things will only start to happen when time is invested in the job search.  Make a first “job search” appointment with Career Services and your Faculty Advisor well in advance of graduation and follow up on recommended action steps.