Your twenty something graduated two months ago and…. and now what?
The last thing you want is your twenty something using their lack of experience and the slow job market as an excuse to lay on the couch watching reality TV.
Having coached these Gen-Y’s, we know the first thing to do is tap into what motivates them. If they majored in business, what did they picture themselves doing? Did they see themselves traveling the globe solving major business problems? Great! Use that as fuel to get them moving.
After their initial excitement, they’ll come up with a bunch of excuses why they should delay getting started. We’ve heard it all and wanted to pass along ammunition, you can use to launch them off the couch and into a job.
I Don’t Have Any Real Experience. Who’s Going to Hire Me? — Temporary agencies, for starters. Companies like Office Team have plenty of administrative positions which are perfect for graduates. Most temporary agencies do “temp to perm”, which is an excellent way to see if they like the job before making a long-term commitment. Outside of agencies, there are thousands of companies, large and small, that need help at the entry level.
There’s Too Much Competition Now. I’ll Wait Until Fall — Even though there are thousands of graduates looking for jobs, a job search could take a few months, and there’ll always be competition. The sooner your twenty something gets started, the better.
I Don’t Know How to Write a resume — The important thing about a resume is that it is their chance to highlight the great things they have done. And when they write their resume, they should be sure to separate the position responsibilities from their actual accomplishments. Responsibilities are the things they were in charge of (e.g., filing) and accomplishments are what they achieved (e.g., established a new filing system). We were coaching one student who said, “All I did was answer the phones.” We probed and found out that in answering those calls he was also scheduling shipment dates for vendors, which we added to his resume.
The resume should also include school activities that will highlight their leadership and organizational skills. If they were on the school newspaper, worked at fundraiser for the school or a particular club within the school, those should go on their resume. If relevant, have a section for awards and scholarships. Finally, have a section for interests. This is NOT where they should put “play video games all day” unless s/he wants to work at a gaming company. The interests should be aligned with their objective. They can use this sample resume to crank one out.
I Don’t Know How to Look for a Job — The first step (they usually like this one) is to list all the companies they would love to work for. Apple and Google usually make the list. Then, they should approach each one, even if there are no jobs posted that they qualify for. A lot of great positions are never listed on a company’s website. Here’s more on that: Finally a plan to get a job.
I Don’t Know How to Interview — At this early stage in their career, you wouldn’t expect them to know what to say and do in an interview. Interviewers know this and will forgive most faux pas, except answering a cell phone during an interview. And yes, we’ve had that happen to us, which prompted us to put together this list: Ditch the Cell Phone and Other Essential Interview Tips
Your twenty something is on the verge of launching their career. The inertia that is created by staying on the couch is a powerful force to overcome, but it must be overcome if they are to successfully begin their career. Creating a plan of action for finding a great job and then putting that plan into action will ensure that your twenty something will be among those smart college graduates who have learned how to make the difficult transition from academics to the real world.
Fred & Gladys
Executive Search and Coaching
Authors of GOAL! Your 30 Day Career Plan for Business & Career Success