As unemployment rates remain high and people compete for work, securing a job will be no easy task for the 1.65 million undergraduates expected to enter the workforce this year according to the United States Educational Department. The authors of Your Career Game (Stanford Business Books; $24.95), Dr. Nathan Bennett, professor of management at Georgia Institute of Technology, and Stephen Miles, CEO coach and vice chairman of executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, advise graduates on what not to do while job hunting. Miles offers five key points for graduates to keep in mind.
1. Don’t sabotage your personal brand. Graduates have to manage their personal brand better than individuals have historically. Recruiters decide whether to advance you or not based on what they see on your online profiles. It is not just about what you put on your profile. What pictures or things have your friends tagged you on that become a part of your profile? “It takes a lot of work to maintain your brand, because someone else can erode it,” says Miles.
2. Don’t be afraid to jump on an “out of the box” experience. We all have our relationship networks where we are comfortable. Strengthen your weak ties. Associate with people you wouldn’t normally associate with, because the boarder you network relationships are the better opportunities will be. To find the open door it comes down to who you know. But once you walk through the open door it then becomes about you proving yourself.
3. Don’t be afraid to take the job no one else wants. The heartbeat of our country is small businesses. We are automatically attracted to the big companies and not the smaller ones where you can pick up more experience. People need to think differently and not just take the well worn path sometimes. If you take some of the non traditional approaches and have an open mind it can be a transformational experience.
4. Don’t miscalculate the tradeoff between breadth and depth. You need to be known for something but if you go too far down that path you can become pigeon hold. If you know something well it is time for you to broaden your skills. Learn a foreign language such as Mandarin, Chinese or join relevant groups that highlight your other skill sets.
5. Don’t be blinded by a paycheck. Within reason take the low paying job which will allow you to translate experiences which will lead to better jobs. What does this job do for me? How does it help me tell a story that will translate well when you are in front of a recruiter? Ask yourself these questions instead of focusing primarily on money.
To read more on tips and the authors’ blog, check out Yourcareergame.com.