If you’ve just graduated college, you may not be prepared for the cold, harsh reality that adulting is hard. The real world can be discouraging, and in our current political climate, it can be downright depressing. But no matter how much rejection you face, you still have to pull up your big girl (or boy) shorts and take action. You have to find a job.

You have to strategize to find the job you want. You can’t just fill out a bunch of online applications and assume you’re going to find a job. You might just out of sheer chance, but when you leave your career to chance, you usually end up in a crappy job you hate. There are better ways.

1. Visit Your College’s Career Advisors

Most colleges have an office dedicated to helping students and alumni find jobs. It might be called a “career center” or “alumni services.” If you’re not sure where to find it, ask the receptionist at your former school.

It’s in your former college’s best interest to help you find a job because the US Department of Education keeps track of information regarding how many graduates have jobs, both in and out of their degree industry. Your employability should be a priority to your former college, because if you have their shiny degree and can’t get a job, they look bad.

Your college’s career advisors usually have a list of employers looking to hire graduates. Some advisors can help with your resume and cover letter too, but in our experience, their advice is usually outdated on those particular topics. Some career offices have a closet of professional attire for interviews—just ask!

2. Don’t Take a Gap Year Before Getting a Job

As you’re leaving school or college, your focus should be on getting a job. Taking a “gap year” before getting a job is an immature idea that won’t impress employers. You (or your parents) have spent a lot of money on your college education. The least you can do is put your degree to work. Be a grownup and get a job.

When your job search isn’t going your way, it can be tempting to just give up. Unfortunately, life doesn’t let you just give up. You have to find a job, so don’t stop trying until you have one!

3. Find a Coach

If you’re waiting for the job fairy to show up and hand you your first job, it’s time you find a career coach. If you’re stuck in your career in any way, a career coach can help you set goals and clearly see the steps to reaching them. Jarell and I offer career-coaching services via phone, online, and even in person if you live in the Orlando or Tampa area.

4. Redo Your Resume

One of the easiest things you can do to make meaningful change in your job search is to do something different with your resume. Improve your action verbs. Ditch your objective. Create a professional profile. Add skills. Change the format. Make a video resume. Keep playing with it until you find a winner!

Remember that you should alter your resume for each job advertisement you answer. Look for keywords and key skills that the employer wants and make sure your resume includes them.

5. Do Something to Gain Experience While You’re Looking for a Job

f you didn’t intern while in college, your lack of experience may be holding you back from finding a job. That doesn’t mean you stop looking for a job, but it does mean you should do something to fill that experience gap.

The first thing you should consider is taking an externship or fellowship, but if you can’t find one of those, volunteer. Find a company you admire, and offer to work for free. The worst they can say is “no.”

You can also start a side hustle. Employers will be impressed at your entrepreneurial spirit, and your parents will be impressed that you’re making money all on your own. Running your own side business gives you skills that you can take into any job field; plus, it gives you something to talk about in your cover letters and interviews.

Bonus Idea

Check out the Transitioning from College to Career: A Guide for New Grads for great tips and advice for finding a job, acing interviews, and figuring out life in general after college. 

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Keep Looking

No matter what, don’t give up on your job search. Keep looking for new ideas. Connect with as many people as you can both on LinkedIN and in person. Go to job fairs. Talk to recruiters. Network with your classmates and former professors. If you don’t have a job, your job is finding a job so get to it!

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5 Things to Do if You Can't Find a Job after College - #getajob #intern #sidehustle

If you’ve been searching for a job for awhile, it’s easy to get discouraged when you can’t get an interview—or worse, when you land interviews, but never hear from the employer again. After countless applications and resume tweaks nothing is coming back positively for you. You wonder if you will ever manage to get a job and you’re starting to lose hope.

The first thing you should do is read our article on the 9 Reason I’m Not Hiring You. Katie talks about her experience as a hiring manager for our parent company, and the biggest mistakes that keep her from hiring applicants.

Then, there are three positive actions you can take right now to improve your chances of finding a job. Take a deep breath, then get started!

Spruce Up Your Resume

You will start to notice a much quicker and more positive response rate from your applications if you give your entire resume an overhaul. You need an excellent resume objective in order to land an interview. You might need to tweak your resume for each individual job you apply for, so that you can showcase and highlight your strengths. This will take time to refine but once you have got the hang of it, you will soon become a pro.

Our Top Resume Articles

We will makeover your resume for just $49!

Raise Your Interview Game

Landing the interview is one of the most difficult parts of obtaining your dream job. Once you have the interview in the bag, you will need to brush up your interview techniques. Don’t rest on your laurels or credentials in order to bag the role, you will need to be articulate and well informed during the interview. Making a good impression in the interview room is easier than it sounds. All you have to do is be yourself, tell the truth and tell stories about how your previous experience will help you in this job. Make sure you can explain exactly why you applied for this job too, otherwise the panel won’t feel invested in you.

Our Top Interview Articles

Strengthen Your Skill Set

In order to reach your career goals you need keep your skills on top form. The more you can talk about first-hand experience in an interview environment the more impressive it will be to your prospective employer. Go above and beyond to meet the criteria of the job description and you will be sure to impress your future bosses.

Our Top Articles about Strengthening Your Skill Set

Bonus Tip: Start a Side Hustle

If you’ve been out of work for awhile, you’re probably running low on funds. One way to make some money and strengthen your resume is to start a side hustle. There’s a million ideas, from teaching English to Chinese students online for VIPKid, to selling your freelance services on Fiverr.

Our Top Articles on Side Hustles and Saving Money

So get your resume together, gain the skills you need, and get some hands on experience. Employers will be jumping at the chance to hire you as long as you aren’t afraid to showcase your skills and talents. It can be a cut throat world, so there is no time to be shy and reserved. Know your worth and always be positive about your abilities.

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3 Things to Do if You Can't find a Job - #career #getajob #resume

If you’re searching for a career that will allow you to help people in your local community, social work may be the career path for you. It’s a tough job, and it’s not for everyone, but for those with a strong moral compass, high-levels of empathy, and the ability to compartmentalize their work and personal lives, it can be an ideal career choice.

What do Social Workers Do?

Social workers provide support to individuals and families during difficult times. They also make sure that vulnerable people, be it adults or children, are safeguarded from potential harm. There are many types of social work, but ultimately, the job comes down to helping improve people’s lives.

Social workers act as advocates and guides, and they maintain professional relationships. As a social worker, you will be expected to make tough decisions and you will need to use your professional judgment at all times. Obviously, not all of your clients will be happy with your decisions, but their overall well being is your highest priority.

Where Can you Work as a Social Worker?

Social workers spend their workdays in a variety of places, such as hospitals, schools, and government offices. If you specialize in children’s welfare, you may be assigned to investigate claims at daycares and other childcare facilities. If you choose adult welfare, you may be assigned to investigate claims at nursing homes.

In many cases, you may have to investigate claims in private homes, which can prove quite awkward. Many states have laws that require social workers to enter a home only with a police officer present. Regardless of which work environment you choose, you will need to stay up to date on county, state, and federal laws.

What are the Benefits of Becoming a Social Worker?

Most people who become social workers feel called to help other people. While this can be an incredibly challenging career, it can also be very rewarding because are able to help people in tough and vulnerable situations. When the outcome is positive, there is no better feeling than knowing you have protected someone from danger and helped them to improve their lives.

However, if you are considering a career in social work, you must prepare yourself for the fact that not every case has a positive outcome. For example, battered women often go back to their abusive husbands, even after social worker intervention. You must mentally prepare yourself for these setbacks. For this reason, social workers need strong emotional resilience.

One of the biggest benefits for social workers is the opportunity for job variety and growth. You can work in a variety of environments, serve a diverse population, and meet people in all career fields. You will also develop skills that can be transferred to other careers.

What are the Drawbacks to Social Work?

While there are clearly plenty of benefits associated with social work, there are also a few drawbacks. After all, no career is perfect.

As a social worker, you are likely to work long hours. You will have a large workload, because there are a great many people who need help, and in most cases, there won’t be enough social workers to handle the load.

Social workers face a tremendous amount of emotional strain. They see unspeakable cruelty and violence. Not everyone is cut out for this kind of emotional battering. You can become emotionally drained when you invest your feelings into a client or case.

If you choose a career in social work, you must be able to separate your personal life from your job. If you bring your work home with you, your relationships with your family and loved ones will suffer. Keeping this separation is easier said than done.

What Qualifications do I Need to be a Social Worker?

Social work is a largely “graduate profession,” which means most social workers have a graduate degree, such as a Master of Social Work. Luckily, you can take accredited MSW online programs, so you can earn your entire degree online without ever having to set foot inside a university. A great many working adults join online graduate degree programs so they can balance a full time job and family obligations while working towards a better career.

You will want to gain real-world experience while working on your degree, since most jobs require some sort of experience, even at the entry level. Many MSW degrees have practicum courses where you are paired with a social worker to complete a project. You can also intern and volunteer at places like hospitals to gain on-the-job training with a working social worker.

What Personality Traits Make the Best Social Workers?

Social workers must be empathetic to other people’s feelings and situations. If you hear someone crying and automatically think, “get over it already!” you might not be cut out for social work. Social workers must truly care about their clients and finding them the help they need to improve their lives.

Patience is another personality trait essential for social work. You will deal with challenging situations, and most of the time, there will not be a quick resolution.

The social workers who find the most success and fulfillment are driven, organized, resilient, flexible, persistent, and decisive. You’ll also need to be a people person, as you are going to be working with a wide range of people on a daily basis.

Social workers must be exceptional communicators in both written and verbal communications. You will speak to people from all walks of life, so you must be able to communicate your message clearly, no matter what. Bilingual social workers are in high demand. 

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What are a Social Worker’s Job Responsibilities?

Social workers are responsible for helping young people and their families, but also elderly citizens. They work with the homeless, drug and alcohol abusers, truant school children, and people with mental, physical and learning disabilities.

Typically, social workers conduct interviews with families and individuals to evaluate living conditions, safety, and health. They evaluate each situation, review it with stakeholders, and involve the necessary social services to help families and individuals heal, make better decisions, and improve their quality of life.

Of course, like most jobs, social workers participate in team meetings and training, but they also give evidence in court and maintain accurate records. Laws change frequently, and social workers must understand changes as they occur.

Typical social worker job descriptions include tasks such as:

  • Participate in multidisciplinary teams and meetings
  • Liaise with other agencies
  • Make decisions about the best course of action for an individual
  • Organize and manage support packages
    Offer information and support
  • Undertake writing assessments

What Else Should I Expect in a Career as a Social Worker?

As with every job, “other duties as assigned” will be part of your job description as as social worker. You will be expected to drive between locations and offices, so if you do not have a driver’s license, it’s best to start studying for the driver’s test.

You will travel a lot in your assigned area. You will visit other offices, clients’ homes, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, places of business, parks—anywhere people live, work, or otherwise exist. Most states have strict time limits on how soon a client must be interviewed following a report, so expect a fast-paced work environment.

While social workers rarely travel abroad, if you want to help people in foreign countries, you can look for jobs with charities like the Red Cross. Your skills as a social worker are very helpful in emergency situations, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters.

Overall, a career in social work is a balance between being incredibly helpful to your clients, and incredibly detail oriented with your coworkers and supervisors. If helping people is your calling, you should definitely explore a career in social work, but you should have a candid conversation with someone who does the job in your area before committing to this career path.

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Career Spotlight: Is a Career in Social Work Right for You?

A reader asks us for advice in a hard choice: Should she take a part-time job offer, or wait to see if she gets a full-time offer from somewhere else. 

Dear HR,

I have been looking for a job for months! I just applied for a fulltime job at a local elementary school that has amazing benefits, and I’m hoping to hear from them soon. I’ve been networking with the other office workers, and while it’s not a sure thing, it’s definitely more promising than anything else I’ve tried.

Today I was offered a part-time job answering phones in a customer service center for a local company. Do you think I should take it? I really want the Full-time job at the school, and I worry that if I take this part-time job and I get the school job, it will look bad to my new employer to quit so soon. Do you think I should just wait to hear back from the full-time job? I need advice!!

Thank you,

Freaking Out

Dear Freaking Out,

I see your frustration. After a long job search, you may start to lose hope of finding the job you really want. It’s important to keep hope, but realistically, you have bills to pay.

Don’t Count Your Chickens Before they Hatch

When you tell me about the full-time job, you describe how great the job is, how great the benefits are, and that you’ve done a bit of networking with other people who work there. None of this guarantees you the job. None of this even guarantees you an interview.

The truth is, state jobs get more applicants than they can reasonably consider properly. Your application is in a stack with 50 or more other applications. If you’ve been looking for a job for awhile, your application materials and approach to job searching probably need a little work. No judgment, but it’s just a fact of life that most job seekers hit a point where they’re just plain tired of filling out applications, so they stop customizing their resumes and cover letters for each job. So, employers don’t contact them because it’s not obvious that they’re the right person for the job. It’s a slippery slope that feeds the “I suck” monster in your head.

If employers don't contact you, it's because your application materials don't make it obvious that you’re the right person for the job. It’s a slippery slope that feeds the “I suck” monster in your head. #resume #rejection… Click To Tweet

Pay Your Bills with the Part-Time Job

Unless you’re independently wealthy, your bills are probably piling up during your job search. You need cash. You also need opportunities to network and regain your money-making confidence. A part-time job can help with all of those things.

If the part-time job is absolutely awful, then quit. Employers know that not every job is for every person. It’s not as big of a deal as you think.

Part-Time Jobs Can be Fantastic

Taking a part-time job has many advantages. Sure, you might not receive full-time benefits like healthcare plans and 401Ks, but part-time jobs rarely expect you to have full-time loyalty to them, so you can start a side hustleto make up the monetary difference. Plus, some part-time jobs pay a little more than entry-level full-time jobs simply because they don’t offer benefit packages.

Investopedia.com lists other benefits of taking a part-time job, like reduced transportation costs and reduced stress. They also mention networking opportunities—an essential part of building any career.

If You Get the Full-Time Job Offer, Act Classy

You should still pursue finding a Full-time job that makes you happy, even if you take the part-time job. If the school job calls you for an interview, put on your pearls and your heels and rock it. If they offer you the job, do your happy dance.

When you put in your resignation for the part-time job, ask your boss for a private meeting and start the conversation with, “I hope you will be happy for me, but I’ve been offered a full-time job that suits my skill set completely.” Explain to your boss that you appreciate the opportunity he or she has given you. You never know—he might offer you an even better Full-time position.

Regardless, leave with class. Be grateful. Be graceful. Follow your coworkers on LinkedIN. Every contact is a good contact when you’re job hunting.

Related Posts that Might Help You:

Best of Luck,

HR

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Part-time jobs can be beneficial in the right circumstances. Find out how!

Employers are rejecting as many as 98% of all online job applications and resumes. It’s a shocking statistic, but it should also make you think a little harder about how you’re searching for jobs. You can’t just fill out a bunch of online job applications and think you’re going to find a job quickly.

Just filling out online job applications is like only betting on a single number in a game of roulette. Once in awhile, you will get lucky and land an interview, but most of the time, your application will be rejected in a blink of an eye. You must have a job search strategy.

Don't play roulette with your career

Online job applications are still vital, though, because it’s the only way most companies accept applications. Your online application has to shine, but you have to take a few strategic steps to ensure your application is seen by the person with the power to hire you.

Make Sure You Meet the Minimum Qualifications—and Your Application Shows It

In most cases, your application will be automatically rejected if you do not meet the minimum qualifications. Many application software systems are set to auto-reject applicants who do not meet minimum qualifications before human eyes ever see the application. The bottom line: If you don’t meet at least the minimum requirements, you’re wasting your time in applying for a job online.

Even more, your application materials need to show, very clearly, that you do meet the minimum qualifications. Here’s how:

  • Make a list of the minimum and recommended qualifications listed in the advertisement.
  • Draft a cover letter that explains how you meet the qualifications.
  • Go through your resume and make sure your professional profile or summary lists the qualifications listed in the ad. Echo the wording the employer uses in the ad.
  • When you’re filling out the application, make sure the descriptions of your previous jobs use the keywords the employer used in their qualifications list.

Remember that your goal is to show the employer that you’re the perfect person for the job. Take the time to make sure all of your application materials show you’re qualified and the right people will see your application.

Get an Internal Recommendation: Network Your Way to an Interview

One of the best ways to ensure the right people see your application is to get an internal recommendation from someone who already works in the company. Internal recommendations hold a lot of weight with employers because if a current employee does excellent work, the employer assumes that the people he or she respects enough to recommend with do excellent work, too.

Bigger corporations have special employee recruitment systems built specifically for internal recommendations. Some companies even guarantee an interview for applicants with internal recommendations!

Many companies offer referral bonuses when an employee makes a recommendation and the recommended applicant is hired. I made $500 when I recommended a fellow instructional designer for a contract job at a big corporation. It’s a win-win for everyone involved: The employer gets help weeding through applicants, the person making the recommendation gets a bonus and the satisfaction of helping a colleague, and the applicant gets a job.

There are a few ways to go about getting an internal recommendation. Start by asking people in your network if they know of any open positions at the places they work that would be suitable for you. Many positions are advertised internally before they are advertised publicly. Don’t be afraid to ask—that’s the purpose of building a network!

Next, as you’re looking through job advertisements, use LinkedIN to see who you know, or who in your network knows someone that works at the companies advertising jobs you want. Make connections and ask for internal recommendations.

Follow up with the Hiring Manager

If you are applying for a local company or retail store, you should find out who the hiring manager is and follow up with him or her within a couple days of filling out an online application. If it’s a retail job, you should go to the store in person, introduce yourself, hand your resume to the hiring manager, and tell them you’d love to work there and how you’re highly qualified for the job.

With a local business, you might start by finding the hiring manager’s email address and writing a kind email introducing yourself. Explain that you’ve already applied for the job, but you wanted to personally reach out and let the hiring manager know how excited you are by the opportunity to potential work with the local company. Give a short summary of your qualifications, attach your resume, and say thank you.

The point is, if you have the opportunity to make a personal connection, you should do it. 

Do whatever you can to stand out from the giant pile of other applicants. Meet people, make an impression, and let them know you’re kind and qualified. Click To Tweet

Keyword Optimization

Modern application software allows HR representatives and hiring managers to comb through applications for specific keywords. They may search your application for your previous job titles to see if you’ve worked similar jobs in the past. They may search for specific skills they need from applicants, like industry-specific software. Be aware that employers have the ability to search through applications this way and prepare for it.

If you’ve tooled your cover letter, resume, and application to show that you meet the minimum qualifications for the job, you already have a good jump on keyword optimization. The process is very similar:

  • Read through the job advertisement and make a list of specific skills, software, job duties, and other qualifications that stand out in the ad. These can all be keywords.
  • Go through your resume and retool the language in your previous job descriptions to match the keywords from the job duties listed in the advertisement.
  • Retool the language in your cover letter and resume’s personal profile or summary to make sure you’re hitting keywords for specific skills and qualifications.
  • When you list previous jobs and skills on the job application, be sure to use keywords from the ad.

The goal is to use as many keywords from the ad as possible. Sometimes keywords aren’t in the ad, and you will have to know your industry and the company to add them to your materials. If you don’t have a good list of keywords from the advertisement, you can always use LinkedIN to look at profiles of people who work at the company and use keywords from their qualifications.Visit our etsy shop for a resume makeover

Avoid Scoring System Pitfalls

Modern application software sometimes use a “scoring system” to rank applicants based on keywords, qualifications, and experience. If you’ve done everything we’ve talked about so far, you should be scoring quite well in these systems. However, employers can set other factors besides skills, qualifications, and experience as part of the scoring system.

For example, we’ve seen some government jobs where applicants are automatically rejected if they answer “yes” to the “do you use tobacco products” question. Some are rejecting applicants who have been arrested (without reading explanations). Still others are auto-rejecting applicants who have been fired from previous jobs.

Auto-rejection isn’t fair. If you are rejected for a job quickly, in so short a time frame that you’re pretty sure no one looked at your application, you can try emailing an explanation to the HR department and see if it makes a difference. The worst thing they can do is tell you that your application is still rejected, so you have nothing to lose.

Keep Trying and Don’t Take it Personally

Just because a company rejects your application once doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try applying there again. As you practice making lists of keywords specific to the job advertisement and retooling your materials to fit them, you will get a lot more interview calls. Keep practicing and honing your application skills!

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How to land a gig with an online job application 98 percent of job applications are rejected - don't let yours be one of them Stop getting rejected from online job applications


 

 

Dear HR,

I applied for a job two months ago at a local department store. They never called me or anything, so I don’t know if they hired someone else or if they’re still looking. Should I apply again?


Dear Reader,

In short, yes, you should apply again, but we need to talk about the art of “following up.” You see, putting in a job application is the bare minimum you can do to get a job. A job application tells an employer, “here’s a warm body that may fill the position.” Is that the message you want to send?

The Application Process from a Manager’s POV

Think about it: The department store probably gets at least 3-5 applications per day, if they’re a mid-size, local store. If they’re still using paper applications (some local stores still do), that means your application goes into a nice pile, and when the hiring manager thinks about it, she peruses through the pile to find a couple people with retail experience that she will call for an interview. If the first two people in the pile have the experience, she has no reason to look further into the pile, so your chances of getting the interview have more to do with luck that your application is near the top of the pile than your fantastic, qualified skill set.

If the department store uses an online application process, the application software could be keyword mining—looking through applications for specific keywords that the employer has designated to find the perfect applicant. If the software is simply listing applicants in a nice list or spreadsheet, you’re back to hoping for luck that your application is near the top of the list.

Who is the Person with the Power to Hire You?

As you can probably see, just turning in an application isn’t enough. You have to follow up with your potential employer.

In the case of your department store, the art of the follow-up means figuring out who the person with the power to hire you is, and making a personal connection with that person or a person that has influence with that person.

How to Follow Up for a Retail Job

We have a client named Dora who works in a similar industry as the one for which you are applying. We helped Dora makeover her resume recently, and she landed a job within a couple weeks of that resume makeover. Like the job application, the resume is only part of Dora’s overall job search strategy.

Dora starts by researching places she wants to work in her area. Her list includes department stores, clothing stores, and craft stores. She knows that most places have online applications, so she goes to the company websites and applies for open positions.

It’s what Dora does next that lands her interviews—she follows up with hiring managers within a few days of her application. She takes her fancy resume, printed on nice, glossy paper, and she visits the store in person. She chooses a time she knows business is slow, like mid-morning on a weekday. She asks to speak with the manager, shakes his or her hand, explains that she recently applied online for a position, and that she’d love to talk more about it.

She hands the manager her resume, and tells him how much she loves the store, and that she has 30 years of experience working in retail. That’s all. She keeps it short and sweet, buys a soda or other impulse buy at the counter, and leaves. She smiles, she’s friendly, and of course, she’s dressed appropriately.

Dora lands an interview almost every time. She shows managers that she’s more than just a warm body. She makes a personal connection and makes extra effort to make sure the manager knows she wants the job and is highly qualified.

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Your Next Steps: Apply Again, and Follow Up

So, yes, you should apply again for the department store job, but this time, make sure you follow up with the hiring manager within a few days of filling out your application. Have your resume ready to hand the manager, shake his or her hand, and tell him you want the job and you’re highly qualified. You’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll land the job!

Here’s a quick checklist of what to do:

  • Apply for the Job
  • Visit the store in 1-3 days. Go during a slow time, like mid-morning on a weekday. Dress as if you are going to an interview.
  • Ask to speak with the manager.
  • Smile, shake the manager’s hand, and introduce yourself.
  • Tell the manager you applied for the job online, and wanted to follow up with him.
  • Hand the manager your resume, and point out why you are highly qualified.
  • Thank the manager for her time.
  • Buy a soda, candy bar, or other cheap impulse purchase on your way out. Smile and be friendly with your potential coworkers while you do.

Best of Luck (not that you’ll need it),
HR

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