Job Search Tips for Young Professionals
The Endless Summer has come to its conclusion. Some of you began the job hunt long before you wrapped up your closing papers and finals. Others of you, have yet to hit the pavement because you’ve spent the last few months hitting the beach instead. As the sun sets on another summer, you know it’s time to kick your job search into high gear and you can’t even remember your LinkedIn password.
Here are a couple of basics everyone knows:
- You’ve got to have a top-notch resume to get noticed
- Your LinkedIn profile better be bursting with connections and endorsements from a variety of professionals.
- It’s all about who you know, so get your networking game on!
As a seasoned professional as well as the Founder and President of a successful executive search firm, I’ve seen the job searching evolve a lot. In spite of all the advances in job search technology, find a job (and even knowing where to start) is a complicated endeavor. Job boards don’t hold the power they once did. Your search must take place both online and offline. Productive networking doesn’t happen at 6 p.m. in a hotel ballroom over a glass of cheap wine.
What does this mean for you, the job seeker?
The game has changed and so must your strategy.
Develop your unique personal branding
Landing the job you want takes more than showcasing your skills. It’s about showcasing YOU. Your brand tells employers who you are both professionally and personally. Just as professionals are looking for a company they believe in, companies are looking for employees they believe in, as well. Developing your personal brand is essential.
Have reasonable expectations
While everyone wants a job with flexible hours, a casual corporate culture, a community-minded mission, and a $90k salary, few professionals find the “perfect job” right out of the gate. Less than 30% of workers land their dream job, or work in some related field, according to a LinkedIn survey. And salary? You’ll be facing a battle of Expectations vs. Reality. We’re not telling you this to take the wind from your sails, but having reasonable expectations allows for more job satisfaction.
Broaden your search
Some professionals focus their search on the ideal role. Others, target a specific industry or organization. The path to your ideal job is rarely straight. In fact, it takes more sudden left turns and far more steps than you expect. Your skills are useful in many different areas. Be open to a variety of options. Expect your first couple positions to build your resume and provide you with the experience and achievements (as well as failures) that will get you on your way to that perfect job. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics has not come to a consensus regarding the definition of a job change, a person is expected to have anywhere from 10-20 jobs in his or her lifetime, demonstrating the crooked path we mentioned.
Leverage ALL of Your Connections (Even your Uncle Joe!)
There’s no shame in reaching out to your dad’s BFF when looking for a job. Reaching out to the people your parents know or other seasoned professionals you have a relationship with is an excellent place to invest your networking time. These are the people most likely to return your calls or emails and even agree to meet in person. Better yet, they’re most likely to introduce you to people who have the inside track on job openings and even those who do the hiring!
Searching for a job is a job itself, regardless of your years of experience. Identifying your unique branding and developing reasonable expectations will set a strong foundation for a successful search. Recognizing there are many steps leading to your “perfect job” will compel you to consider a wider array of positions. Lastly, leveraging your connections and the connections of those you are closest to, will take the guesswork out of networking and provide the opportunity for warm connections rather than cold calls and emails.