HOUSTON – They are young, educated and broke! Finding a job is harder than ever right now for college graduates, so how do you shine and set yourself apart in this competitive job market?
Candice Coleman thought her resume had it all, but since graduating more than a year ago, she hasn’t been able to find a job in her field of health sciences.
“You spent four years, with a major and two minors, and it hasn’t helped you at all,” Coleman said.
She’s sent out more than 30 resumes, but hasn’t landed one interview yet. Without a steady income, she was forced to move back in with her parents.
“Almost feeling like a failure because you have to come back and rely on them,” she revealed.
Recruiting specialist Yolanda Owens works with grads like Coleman every day and has a few key pieces of advice.
“Hang out with people who already have jobs,” Owens said.
Many companies have employee referral programs, so there’s a monetary incentive for others giving you a recommendation. Networking is vital, but Owens says don’t give anyone your resume until you have three meaningful contacts with them.
“Someone who doesn’t know you from a can of paint is not going to trust you enough to be able to recommend you for a position,” she said.
Owens also advises that you make your resume as specific as possible and quantify it. For example, don’t just say you raised money, say how much you raised. Also, make it simple with bullet points, not paragraphs.
Give the employer three weeks to process your application, but once you get that interview, be prepared.
“Make sure you prepare a couple of stories about yourself that really display your leadership, your confidence and what you’ve done to improve your role,” Owens said.
Coleman hopes her big break will come soon but, in the meantime, she’s considering grad school.
“It’s almost like college is the new high school diploma, and you have to have your Master’s to be considered,” she said.
It’s a tough environment out here today and the new generation of workers will have to learn how to outsmart in order to succeed.
Owens gave another helpful tip – and this one is huge – clean up your social media! Check for any questionable pictures or posts on your Facebook and Twitter pages, and delete them before applying for any jobs.