Expand your network. LaToya Everett, director of Client Services at Global Lead Management Consulting, who secured her own job after graduating in 2003 when the job market was also dismal, recommends attending professional development programs through organizations such as the National Urban League. These programs provide you with the opportunity to expand your network through increased exposure toÂ other professionals and local leaders as well as engage in your community through service projects.
Everett attended the Urban Leagueâs African American Leadership Development Program in Cincinnati. To find out more information and/or to apply go to www.gcul.org.
Try an untraditional route. While full-time employment is the desired goal, you may need to adjust your plans by considering internships or freelance or volunteer opportunities. This way you can still obtain relevant work experience and make professional contacts. Work experience you can leverage is a critical element. âCompanies have limited positions, so theyâre committed to hiring the best âreadyâ worker,â says Watson, âmeaning those who can jump in tomorrow and add valueânot those they have to train.â
For applicants with immediate needs, it may be better to volunteer or intern in their chosen industry while securing part-time or nonprofessional skilled work. The industry contacts they make while volunteering could be instrumental in securing future positions.
Be flexible. Like Easley, you may need to consider an industry or position thatâs not your first choice. âLook at the skill sets required of different companies and see how they match up with yours,â he suggests. You can also try mapping out an alternative path to your desired job. Vanessa Rozier, a recent graduate of Howard University, accepted a position on campus with the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center working under the program manager, though it wasnât her original goal. âI want to be an international reporter, so I figured this position would help me get a good understanding of whatâs going on in the international community.â Of course, accepting a position may require relocating, sometimes the best way to discover new opportunities.
Check out these jobs now. To help you in your search, weâve done some of the work for you. Verizon Communications, Sodexo Inc., Procter & Gamble, Sempra Energy, and Toyota Motor North America Inc.âall companies on our 40 Best Companies for Diversity listâare looking to hire for entry-level positions. For more information, read âWhere the Jobs Areâ at blackenterprise.com; also visit CollegeGrad.com, a job search site for college students and recent graduates. For the top employers with entry-level positions, see www.collegegrad.com/topEmployers/2009_entry_level.php.
Recent masterâs degree graduates should visit www.collegegrad.com/topEmployers/2009_master.php.
The National Association of Colleges and employers also provides a list of top jobs categorized by major. Go to www.naceweb.org/spotlight/2009/c062409.htm.
This article originally appeared in the September 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.