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Job-Hunting during an economic downturn as a new graduate — Advice from recruiters and career coaches

If you’re looking for job-hunting tips that are specific to the state of the job market right now, you’ve come to the right place. This blog post is a round-up of advice from recruiters and career coaches.

When I heard about how quickly the unemployment rate was increasing, one of my first thoughts (relevant to this blog) was, “Wow. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be a college senior right now.” My second thought was, “what can I do to help?”

Luckily, many of my readers were already asking me questions. So I reached out to people in my network that I felt could help:

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  • Recruiters: Companies are still hiring and they can give you insight into what they are looking for right now.
  • Career coaches: While recruiters can tell you what they are looking for right now, career coaches can help you look at your bigger picture.

I asked each of them two questions that summed up what everyone was asking me:

  • Is there something you think that college graduates should be focused on to be the most efficient in their job hunt?
  • Do you have any advice for college seniors who are feeling scared about job hunting at a time when companies are trying to cut down on their spending? 

This blog post has the responses to the first question. And you can find the responses to the second question here.

Is there something you think that college graduates should be focused on to be the most efficient in their job hunt?

Daniel – Recruiter

  1. Network. I cannot stress this enough, NETWORK! Connect with as many people as you can. I don’t mean send out 1,000 random LinkedIn connection requests. I mean build actually relationships with professionals in your community and/or desired field of work. Try to split your job each between applying for jobs and making new connections. The chances of getting a job just by applying online aren’t very high. Roughly 70% of professionals obtain their job through networking (I can speak to that from personal experience). Most importantly always remember, your network is like a garden. It must be nurtured.
  2. When you’re applying for a job, ensure your resume is tailored to that job description. A one-size-fits-all resume doesn’t stick out in this competitive market. On average recruiters spend 6 seconds looking at a resume. Make sure the skills reflected on your resume are in line with those in the job description and use similar verbiage to ensure it doesn’t get rejected after a keyword search.

About Daniel:

Daniel has been connecting people with opportunities that excite them for over two years and absolutely loves what he does. He believes the key to success as a recruiter has been to truly understand what clients and candidates are seeking through listening, understanding and putting himself in their shoes. Finding the right person for the job is equally as important as finding the right job for a person.

Abby – Career Coach

There are a few quick ways to be more efficient in your job hunt. 

  1. First, focus on making sure you have multiple iterations of your resume ready to go, that way you’ll only have to make minor adjustments whenever you apply. Each one should be customized to fit the role, but if you know that you’ll be applying to positions under a few different titles, create versions that more closely match the job description and frame your experience accordingly. 
  2. Second, remember to set up as many job alerts and applicant profiles as possible across different websites, so that you’ll be made aware of new roles as they become available and can quickly apply. 
  3. Finally, if you find that one job application strategy isn’t working for you after some time has passed, don’t hesitate to switch it up — if you’re not hearing back after submitting your application through online portals, try taking a more direct approach through online networking or by attending an event that the organization is hosting and making introductions. 

I wish I could say that there are definitive ways to expedite this process, but it usually just takes time plus trial and error. Hang in there, and remember you’ve got this!

About Abby:

Abby Thompson is a Career Coach based in Los Angeles, California. She spent the last few years partnering with business leaders to market their companies and empower their people in agency, education, technology, nonprofit, and startup settings. As a coach, she works with young professionals across industries to chart meaningful career paths and pursue/land their dream jobs. Follow Abby on social media (LinkedIn | Twitter) and check out her website for more information.

Andrea – Career Coach & new graduate during the 2008 recession

  1. Practice telling your story. Once you’re clear on your top skills from the above, practice saying it to as many people as you can in various ways.
  2. Pay attention to what questions you get asked. Are you getting asked a follow-up question? Are you getting asked to clarify certain things?
    • Bonus: This is a great way to practice your pitch for a networking event and when you get asked the “Tell me about yourself” at an interview.
    • Double bonus: It’s a great way to confirm if your pitch “sells” and questions that you may get asked during an interview.
  3. Network, Network, Network! This allows you to combine and practice the previous items. And, you should always be building your network.

About Andrea:

Andrea Yacub Macek is the Founder of AYM Consulting, a career coaching company. Andrea helps ambitious women define success in their own way & translate their achievements into a career they love. With over 10 years of work experience, Andrea has a dynamic background in career development, human resources, healthcare operations, and project management. Andrea holds a Master’s in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University and a Bachelor’s in Psychology from The University of Florida. Andrea is certified in project management through the PMI Institute.

You can find Andrea on Instagram and LinkedIn.


What now?

I know that the job market can feel especially competitive right now. But I hope after reading this, you can see that there’s a lot you can do to improve your job hunt. And I also hope that this blog post encourages you to go on more informational interviews so you can find out more about what you can do to make your job applications stand out.

In the meantime, here are a few other resources:

Want to land your dream job, but don't know how to get there?

Get the exact steps you need to take with the FREE Career Roadmap.

Want to land your dream job, but don't know how to get there?

Get the exact steps you need to take with the FREE Career Roadmap.

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