I graduated in 2009 and am still unemployed – in brainstorming what to do differently at this point I’ve reflected back as to what I could have done better to maximize my chances of employment.
1. Go to all of the career fairs your school offers, collect over 200 business cards and follow up with none of them. A recent Linked In blog mentions adding everyone that you have business cards for on your Linked In account. You may have too many business cards to follow up by email and recruiters may also be busy receiving emails and doing HR stuff, this is a quick and efficient way to establish a contact.
2. After an interview, don’t follow up or send a thank you email or note. Another way that Linked In can be used, add the interviewer to your profile. You can continue interacting with them on Linked In and they may post new openings on Linked In. Perhaps you weren’t a perfect fit for one job role but having them as a contact on linked in leaves the possibility of being considered for a better-suited position.
3. When you are offered an interview don’t respond and don’t go. If you are asked for a writing sample don’t freak out and not respond. Send a response right away confirming that you got the email and ask how long you have. Of course try to get it in as quickly as possible. And that’s another ‘don’t’ – as in, don’t have your writing sample ready to go. Upcoming graduates who are on top of their ‘game’ already have working online portfolios. This is a much more professional way to go than simply sending the writing sample as an attachment. Here is one (lengthy) example of what can be included in a portfolio for the “non-artist.” This is an older site but the list here is still relevant. Another , more updated site – advises to use multiple portfolios for different roles.
4. Don’t get business cards to make it difficult and unprofessional to pass out your contact information.
5. Keep your cover letter and resume as general as possible, never putting the contact person’s name if listed. Even if you have a few job ideas in mind, i.e. legal field, real estate etc. Have a few that are suited for those types of jobs.
6. Stay away from social media. Don’t be afraid to come out of the wood work and “make yourself known” as one of my mentors has said: “Anyone can find information about you online, why not be open about it?” If you are an introvert like me, here is a great article on introverts and social media.
7. Blame Yourself for being unemployed: Don’t be ashamed of being unemployed. Remember that you have good things to offer and focus on new skills that Barbara Ehrenreich has written a great blog on this.