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The search begins before you graduate

Posted by Linda J. Lerner  February 17, 2009 01:15 AM

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Q. My son will be graduating in May 2009 with a degree in economics from a very good college. Obviously we are in a very tough economy and most companies are just not recruiting on campus this year. Do you have any job hunting suggestions for him between now and graduation, as well as post-graduation? Thanks.

A. There are several things that your son can do starting now.

- Begin researching companies in the cities in which he is interested in working. Then study their web-sites and review their openings on a weekly basis.

- Write/email these companies regarding specific openings or his general interest in working with them in an entry level capacity.

- Speak with the career counselors at his college to learn of the names and contact people at the companies that have previously recruited on campus and write to all of them. These companies may not have enough openings to warrant a full college recruiting schedule but that doesn’t mean that they have no opportunities available.

- Tell everyone he knows, including your friends, about the type of work he is looking for and emphasize how flexible he is willing to be.

- Create at least two resumes, one for general opportunities and one designed to demonstrate his achievements in his chosen field of economics, i.e., awards, recognition, grades or related training. Have resume(s) proof read and reviewed by his college career counselor or an objective professional

- Look for internship opportunities. They often pay less but offer a great way to enter the field and get some meaningful On-The-Job training. Internships can lead to a regular position with the company when the intern performs well and demonstrates his ability and willing attitude.

- Try several temporary positions after graduation because this is a channel that can open up doors to companies that are not available to a person looking for “permanent” work. The “Temp-To Perm” concept benefits both the company and the employee because both have a chance to check each other out without making a serious commitment up front.

- Show up at college recruiting sessions, interviews, job fairs and the like even when the situation may not be as appealing as he would like. The experience he will get in interviewing, presenting himself professionally and refining his approach will be invaluable to him in the long run.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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5 comments so far...
  1. I graduated in may 08, I had job with lehman almost lined up before graduating and got "layoff" before i could even start. then i took another 6months before i could even find a job in finace. the pay is awful and the job is mundane and is only going to be a one year stepping stone. if i was your son i would not enter the job market and run back into graduate school if he can. that what im doing in the fall. it is not worth the strees and worry about being layed off every day you go to work when u could hide in school untill the economy comes around and come out with a better education and a more qualified resume.

    by the way i graduated from an ivy with a 3.73 and a double major in bio and econ and still couldnt find a decent job. it was awful. i wish i had gone directly to grad school.

    Posted by recent college grad February 18, 09 12:14 PM
  1. Recent college grade: I have a hard time believing that you graduated from high school, let alone an Ivy League school.

    Maybe your poor writing skills have something to do with your inability to find a job. I know you didn't major English, but people who can't communicate professionally in today's job market do not stand a chance.

    Posted by englishmajor February 18, 09 03:49 PM
  1. Dear English major:

    I believe you meant "college grad" not "college grade" and "I know you didn't major in English" instead of "I know you didn't major English."

    Maybe you should take your own advice.

    Posted by Grammarpolice February 18, 09 05:35 PM
  1. You can rip on englishmajor, "Grammarpolice" -- but he has a point, and a very valid one. A few typos in a response is one thing; a nearly incoherent post is quite another. Good communication skills are crucial. Yes, it is a comment on an online web site, but if one's writing skills are so excruciatingly poor here, I have a difficult time believing they are stellar in other venues. It is good advice: pay attention to how you communicate, even in informal settings. People who are in a position to hire others most certainly care about the writing skills of applicants. I've found that, in general, people who do not take care in their writing in one forum tend to be careless in other forums as well. Always practice good writing techniques.

    Posted by j-len February 19, 09 05:51 PM
  1. This is all good advice... but I worry about a college senior who has his parent write to this advice columnist, rather than writing the letter himself. Already, that seems to be a bad sign. Although I suppose this parent may be the dreaded "helicopter" parent. This May marks 10 years since my graduation from a highly selective liberal arts college, and even 10 years ago, parents were not this involved.

    Posted by liz-j February 20, 09 06:44 AM

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