I am a career IT recruiter of many years as well as the founder of a successful staffing firm since 2006, who truly enjoys the mentoring piece. I often speak to recent college grads about starting their job search, and I just love helping young people take their first steps towards a career in IT. They tell me about their dreams, and I tell them about different ways of pursuing them. I can’t think of anything more rewarding!
But here we are facing the quarantine lockdown that turned the job market upside down and our new grads are looking at their job search with despair. Can they get jobs while competing with thousands of the experienced IT professionals laid off today, who are now willing to compromise on their salary expectations?
Yes they can, but it would take discipline and persistence. Today the recent grad will have to actually exercise what they hopefully learned in college: marketing, problem solving and ability to advocate for themselves.
As a recent grad, you have to figure out what makes you better than the rest of your peers. Did you have an extraordinary internship or were you mentored by someone famous? Did you do a project for a friend or a family business while you were at school? Was your part-time job relevant to IT? Market yourself around any and all of it. Use it as a catchy headliner on LinkedIn as you build your professional online presence.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is detailed, full of searchable keywords. Put on a confident smile on your profile photo. Make 20+ new connections per day. Join relevant professional groups; they often post jobs internally.
Clean up your social media pages, expect to be looked up and be the person the employers would want to hire.
Be A Problem Solver
Treat every job posting seriously. Check out the job before applying. Is it geographically suitable? Does this company have another job posting that’s closer to what you are looking for? Does this sound like something you could commit to for the next few years? If the answer is “yes”, find a way to apply with a specific individual with whom you could later follow up.
That’s when thinking outside the box comes in handy! Try to use Google and LinkedIn to reach out to potential decision makers at the company that peaked your interest. Reach out to a few people from the same company but do so individually and ask each of them about the specific job (title as listed) attaching your resume and asking them to put you in touch with the hiring manager.
Managers are always looking for go-getters and this approach speaks to your ability to find out-of-the-box solutions everyone is looking for!
Advocate for yourself
Follow up! It takes a special discipline to win in the job market today and includes keeping a journal of some sort of all of your applications with dates, names and notes associated with each follow up. (Hint: Excel is great for keeping accurate records of all your contacts and using it will also increase your proficiency level with today’s essential workplace tool). As you get new leads through LinkedIn or personal referrals, new steps must be added, and dead-end applications crossed off your list. Eventually you will narrow down your list to the viable options which will result in interviews.
Being this focused from the start will inevitably make you more knowledgeable about each role that you are pursuing, which in turn will help you beat out your competition in the interview race. Following up promptly with “thank you” emails professionally highlighting your strengths will also increase your chances!
In other words, if there is a will — there is a way! Please don’t hesitate to call us if you are struggling, we will help you or the recent grad in your life get on the right path with their job search!