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How college grads can get an edge in the job market

Get experts' tips for job hunting during a

Get experts’ tips for job hunting during a pandemic, including: how to focus your search with remote work options now available and how to make sure your social media is in shape for employer scrutiny. Panelists include Jia Wei Cao, Career Coach - Diversity Initiatives at the Stony Brook University Career Center; and Lisa Chung, Director, Talent Acquisition, University Relations and Diversity & Inclusion at Canon USA.

College graduates facing an uncertain job market need to clean up their social media profiles, tap connections inside companies and find a "sweet spot" where their experience and job requirements overlap.

That was the advice from career experts at a Newsday webinar.

Lisa Chung, director of talent acquisition, university relations and diversity at Canon U.S.A. in Melville, acknowledged that many job hunters get discouraged when their resumes get no nibbles from employers.

"I hear that a lot," she said. "I applied. I sent it out. It goes to cyberspace and nothing happens."

Recent graduates need to apply for jobs that suit their qualifications, Chung said.

"We see thousands and thousands of resumes at a given time," she said. "Look for jobs that are not looking for years of experience. It's about finding the right sweet spot."

Chung said Canon U.S.A., a unit of the Japanese electronics giant, often relies on its own employees to provide referrals and such connections — through neighbors or family connections can help job seekers get an edge.

"Who better to find the right hires than our own employees?" she said. "You'll be able to have your resume submitted by the employee. That's not just at our company, but at any company."

The webinar, hosted by Newsday anchor Faith Jessie and labor and employment reporter Victor Ocasio, aired Thursday.

Panelist Jia Wei Cao , career coach at the Stony Brook University Career Center, said the attitude of job hunters could be crucial at a time when the pandemic had limited internship opportunities.

"You've got to keep your head up," he said. "You've got to make sure that you're persistent and you don't take [rejection] personally."

Cao and Chung said many job fairs and networking events had gone from in-person to online, providing wider opportunities.

"In this virtual environment there are actually more opportunities to network than ever before," Chung said. "You can be anywhere in the world to participate."

Cao said the university's career center had organized 10 job fairs this year with more than 400 employers.

"We were able to extend our reach to about 3,300 students who attended these fairs."

Chung said Indeed and LinkedIn were two of the top online resources for job hunters and many employers scan LinkedIn for "passive candidates," who were not actively seeking a new position.

But she cautioned job hunters to be vigilant in creating a professional online presence on LinkedIn as well as on such sites as Instagram and Facebook.

"A lot of our candidates, they focus on LinkedIn, but forget about all the other sites," Chung said.

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