Because of the current US economy, many American companies are laying off workers. But also, it is a fact that many companies prefer to hire recent college graduates. Our research has shown that job availability for the recent college grad may not be exactly the doom and gloom that the mainstream media has presented. Lets take a look at what you need to do in order to find an entry level job.
1) You need to make sure you are in the proper mind set for finding an entry level job. You must realize that the old cliche of “finding a job is a full time job” is true, and be prepared to be focused and persistent in your job search. Our research has shown that the jobs are there, and you will find the right fit if you are persistent. But it is also very important that you contact the right potential employer.
2) Although by definition, entry level means that you do not need work experience, this is far from the truth. You absolutely need to have some work experience if you want to obtain an entry level position. It is desirable that you have some experience in the field you are trying to enter. But how can you gain experience if you can not enter the field in the first place.
3) During your college years, and even your high school years, in preparation for an entry level position, you should have been gaining some work experience by doing some volunteer work in your field of interest. If you can show your potential employer that you indeed have a passion for your area of interest, you will be in a much more competitive position to gain an entry level job. So hopefully at this point, you have gained some work experience during your high school and or college years, and although it may not be much, even a small amount of work experience can be helpful.
What if you could not find volunteer work in your area of interest. You need some documentation, other then the degree you earned, that shows a potential employer that you have a passion for your area. You can write online articles, put up a website, use sites like LinkedIn, ZoomInfo or Google Profile. Facebook is probably not a good option, since Facebook is like a diary, something to be opened only by people with authorization. The point is, you need to have some online presence or documentation which displays your passion for your area of interest.
For those who do have work experience, make sure that your previous supervisor or supervisors can provide a good employment reference for you. If you have been a competent, reliable worker with a good attitude, then a previous supervisor should not have any problem in terms of providing a good employment reference.
4) The next step is to write a resume, or Curriculum Vitae, that stands out from all the others. The Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a detailed listing of your educational achievements, publications, presentations, professional activities, and honors. The Curriculum Vitae is longer than the typical resume, and may consist of two pages or more. A CV is usually necessary only if you are seeking a faculty, research, clinical or scientific position. For other positions, you can use a resume.
But whether you use a CV or a resume, it should clearly show to the potential employer some work experience which is directly or remotely related to the job you are seeking. Include both volunteer and non volunteer work on your resume or CV. You do not need to have a professional write up a resume or CV for you. Today, you can use online utilities which produce a nice looking resume or CV, and there is a lot of information online about how to write one.
In terms of the resume, a couple important points need to be made. Research shows that only one interview is granted for every 200 resumes received by the average employer. This data is for all levels of employment, not just entry level. Research also shows that your resume will be quickly scanned, rather than read. Ten to 20 seconds is all the time you have to persuade a prospective employer to read further. What does this mean? It is essential to have the most important features about you, such as your related volunteer or non-volunteer work experience, on the upper half of your resume.
5) When looking for companies to send your resume to, you need to use a list which is made up of companies which prefer to hire a large number of recent college grads. Go to top Top Entry Level Employers for 2011 for such a list. This list covers companies of all sizes and industries and speaks to the need for fresh talent in spite of a challenging economy. This list provides a very good starting point for college grads who are seeking employment.
The key is to find those companies on the list which are in your field of interest. There are companies out there who prefer to hire college grads, and the doom and gloom that the main stream media presents to the general public about job availability for college grads, may not be as realistic as you are lead to believe.
6) After you put together an excellent resume, and you send it off to the companies you would like to work at, you should immediately start to prepare thoroughly for your interview. While you may not know the exact company that may give you a call for an interview, almost all interviews consist of a large part which is made up of common questions, which are found at almost all interviews. These are the questions you can prepare for when waiting for the phone to ring. Do a Google query, “how to prepare for the job interview” and you can easily find a list of job interview questions.
When it comes to interview preparation, you should treat the entry level job that you are trying to obtain, as if it is a higher level job. Prepare for your interview the same way you would prepare for an oral exam. During the interview, be yourself, but try to present the best of who you are.
7) One more very important point needs to made when it comes to the job interview for an entry level job. Because you are a recent college grad, and therefore you do not have a lot of work experience to talk about, it is very important that you present to the interviewer, an enthusiastic attitude. Specifically, present yourself as someone who is hungry to learn and has a strong desire to advance within the company.
To conclude, the basic elements of finding an entry level job are proper job seeking attitude, work experience, resume, and interview. Optimizing these elements will result in you finding the entry level job of choice. While today, the use of the Internet and networking results in a more efficient means to finding an entry level job, the need for optimizing these basic elements has never changed, and most likely never will, when seeking a job. The good news is, there are many companies today which prefer to hire the recent college graduate. But given the current economy, competition for the entry level jobs is intense, and therefore optimization of these elements becomes even more important.