Career coach and author, Nicholas Aretakis of the popular book, "No More Ramen: The 20-Something's Real World Survival Guide," provides new graduates with five tips when navigating the waters in search of their first job. Be sure to check out #2 to learn the importance of leveraging your internship.
According to Nicholas:
- Lower your salary expectations.
It's an employer's market, which means starting salaries will be lower than in the past. In fact, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) projects about a 2 percent decrease from last year's average starting salary of $49,353. Be prepared to ask for less and agree to less.
- Show your motivation.
Do this by leveraging your internships. Three quarters of employers polled consider internships a sign of a well-rounded, motivated candidate. If the internships you did aren't related, brag about them anyway. Sixteen percent of employers in the NACE survey indicated that work experience of any type was acceptable.
- Sharpen your communication skills.
Regardless of the career you are pursuing, the NACE survey found that the mastery of communication skills - writing and speaking - was one of the top qualities employers are looking for this year. If needed, take a speaking or a writing class to boost those skills.
- Let your tech know-how help - not hurt - you.
Use your favorite social networking site (Facebook/LinkedIn to locate alumni at your prospective company who can give you tips and referrals. But before you do, clean up your site of all videos or unseemly content. Try to get out of poor habits made worse by texting: Use capitalization, punctuation, and spell checker in all job-related correspondence. And whatever you do, don't Tweet about your last job interview - it could cost you the job.
- Prepare to pay some dues.
And let your prospective employer know that you will. The NACE survey named strong work ethic and teamwork among the top five qualities employers are looking for (analytical skills, technical skills and communication skills were the other three). Rewards come to those who show up on time, work late occasionally, take on the difficult assignments, and work to prove themselves.
These tips offer some excellent advice to those new to the workforce. As new recruits to the marketplace, there is nothing that you can take for granted. Due to fierce competition in the job market, you will have to be even more diligent in your quest to land and keep a job in today's economy.