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Strategic job hunting for the recent grad

3 min read


Today’s guest poster is Kristen Fischer, author of “Ramen Noodles, Rent and Resumes: An After-College Guide to Life.” For more on her, visit

It’s no wonder that today’s college grads are more cautious than ever when it comes to entering the workforce. Not only are they stepping into the big, bad real world?but the state of the economy is even more overwhelming.

More than 62% of employers have called the job market for this year’s college seniors fair or poor, compared with about 7% last year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

So what’s a grad to do? Simply stated ? press on. There’s no reason to give up the job hunt just because the economy is bleak. In fact, work a little harder to see favorable results.

  • Create a strong marketing platform. Recent grads should arm themselves with a strong resume and interview techniques. If you’re not getting jobs, the economy isn’t solely to blame. Make sure you’re putting out a strongly written, error-free resume and that you practice interviewing with a friend or family member. You want to make certain to put your best foot forward?things are competitive out there and you want to ensure that you give the job hunt your all.
  • Explore new careers. When job hunting, recent grads need to get over the fantasy of immediately landing their dream job. This is smart advice regardless of the economy. Consider something outside of your major. For example, an English major who wants to be a journalist may want to apply at newspapers and magazines?but also consider things like copywriting, editing or teaching. Few graduates get their dream job right off the bat. And with the economy the way it is, sometimes having a job that’s not spot-on is better than having no job at all. If grads can’t find the exact job they want, taking something else to pay off bills and loans is practical. And it’s important to remember that any entry-level job is only temporary.
  • Limit job-hunting time. Certainly recent grads should devote time and energy?and use every resource?to get a job. But everyone needs a break. Grads should work in targeted spurts and take a rest when need be. Job hunting is hard and energy-zapping enough; recent grads should also limit their exposure to dismal reports in the media, which can be exhausting. Everyone knows the job market is difficult, but it’s not hopeless.