Graduating in May? Congrats!
Reality check: Are you in a serious job search yet? It's past time to compete with your classmates for jobs.
The job market has been poor for the past three years of graduates. But you have youth and technology mastery on your side. So here's what to do to improve your paycheck odds.
Clean up your digital dirt. Get the drinking pics and dubious comments off Facebook.
Create a Gmail account for your job search. Oddly, some employers block .edu addresses because of spam and other abuses. Even odder, Hotmail addresses also can get blocked.
Visit your campus career office for leads, and don't be afraid to talk to your parents' friends and other professionals in areas that interest you. You don't have to ask them for a job. Ask them for information about what they do.
Be open to internships and temporary or contract positions. Holding out for a "real" job won't get your foot in the door as quickly.
Get help on your resume. Look at career advice books. Use a career center. Find a human resource professional to review your resume. Warning: Opinions will differ as to content and format. Just do your best to present yourself.
Watch for errors. Make sure your written communications are free of typos and grammatical errors.
No shortcuts. No text speak. No emoticons.
Record a professional-sounding message on your cellphone. No music. No gimmicks. Just your name and a promise to call back as soon as possible.
Call back as soon as possible. If a potential employer calls you, run to the nearest quiet place and return the call immediately. Human resource professionals often say they can't understand why they don't hear back in a timely way.
Narrow your applications to jobs for which you're truly qualified and interested. You'll just feel bad if you spray the landscape and don't hear back.
Attend career fairs even if your target companies aren't there. It's a good way to practice your 30-second pitch, your expression of interest in the job with a reason why they should hire you.