Employment prospects may have improved from the slim pickings last year but the job market is still tough for college grads.
One way to gain an edge is to keep two things in mind: location and size, according to Betsy Richards, director of personal-brand strategy at Kaplan University, which offers both online and campus-college courses.
Grads should be willing to go where the jobs are and to consider smaller companies for opportunities, she said.
Here are some other tips from Richards.
-Leave no stone unturned. While it’s painful to admit, the perfect job will likely not fall into your lap immediately. For many, it will be several months of pounding the pavement. Don’t rely solely on your school’s career center. While it will provide tremendous support, go to both big and small job boards. Follow professional organizations and career help Websites via Twitter. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll learn and the helpful people you’ll come in contact with.
-Never discount the value of the smallest networking connection. Your hair dresser could help you land your next job, or even your old football coach could give you an assist. You’ll really want to network consistently and reach out to the widest possible audience.
-Find jobs that need to be filled, and fill them, even if they are outside your major. You’ll broaden your skill set, but most importantly, you’ll join the professional world, which will bring you one step closer to finding career satisfaction.
-Think broadly but honestly about your skills. Perhaps your artistic talent could help local small businesses with their advertising. Maybe your online savvy could be useful in the marketing department of a small company. Think creatively, but realistically, about what makes you desirable as a job candidate and where you might fit.
-Consider job openings that fit your skills but may not require your exact major or resemble the career you pictured for yourself. Strong communication skills may prepare you for customer-service positions, and your budgeting or attention to detail could qualify you to be a compliance officer or research analyst. Experience with cash transactions could qualify you for retail management, and your skills with nonprofit organizations might make you an excellent executive administrator.
-Gain experience in your desired field. Consider an internship, part-time or even volunteer work in your field. You’ll gain insight and contacts, but most importantly, you’ll get your foot in the door.”