If you’ve graduated from college and the reality of the job search has sunk in, you’re not alone. We spoke with Kathleen Downs, who is Vice President with Robert Half Finance & Accounting. She has advised many entry-level job seekers and professionals in launching their careers, and we offer her advice here. There is definitely light at the end of the tunnel–there are jobs for grads out there–and Downs has concrete tips for fixing some possible mistakes you might be making in your job search.
Don’t panic—you can and will find a job!
“You only have to make the transition from student to professional one time,” says Downs. “It’s the hardest move you’re ever going to make. You have to put as much work into the job search as you did into getting your education.” It pays to have this mentality and prepare for the hard work, she says, because if you know ahead of time, you won’t be surprised. If your friends have snagged jobs already, you might have an impression that it’ll be easy. For most people, it’s not.
You’re entering the workforce with little experience, and if you haven’t done an internship, you may have no formal work experience. But Downs insists that you have done something to show for yourself. Any experience you have volunteering, working with a student organization, a part-time job in high school or helping with a family business—all that is valuable. You have built skills through that experience and now you just have to think through how that applies in the working world.
Downs says that what gets people the job every time is what’s not on your resume, in fact. Your resume explains your work experience, your education and skills you’ve acquired. But “nowhere on the resume is your work ethic, leadership presence, an outgoing personality.” These kinds of personal qualities don’t necessarily shine on the resume, so it’s important to network and get in front of people. Read more
– Kathleen Downs is Senior Vice President at Robert Half International