Recently, Jonnelle Marte wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal’s The Wallet about how college grads are delaying the job search. She contacted me for my take on the trend, which she described in the article:
More college grads are putting off the job search this year, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Just 59% of the 16,500 graduating seniors surveyed had started looking for jobs by the end of April, compared to 75% who had started by that time last year and 64% in 2007. Only about 40% have actually applied for a job.
Jonnelle interviewed Winnie Yang, a 2009 George Washington University graduate. Winnie applied for “a few more than 10 jobs between January and April,” and is taking a break from the job hunt in favor of a few months of international travel.
I certainly understand the propensity to avoid the job search. I’m sure that it’s not just young people delaying their searches. People of every age avoid job hunting if at all possible. While my business is to help people overcome their fears of job hunting and offer tools to provide clarity, confidence and job search know-how, I recognize that it’s a difficult and often demoralizing process.
You’re out there, doing the best you can (or you think you are doing the best you can), but jobs are not easy to find. Statistics vary, but I’ve heard that there are anywhere from 4-8 people for every job (depending on your location and field). It’s not a “come as you are” job market.
But, does that mean it is a good time to pack your bags or sit on the beach all summer and just wait for things to improve? I bet you can guess my answer! NO WAY.
Think about it – job seeking is a skill. Just like any other skill – think swimming, biking, photography – you get better at it the more you PRACTICE. “Practice looking for a job?,” you ask? Yes, absolutely! The more you network, the more you use Twitter, answer questions on LinkedIn, revise and tweak your cover letter and resume Ã‚Â – the BETTER YOU GET at it! That’s not even counting possible interview opportunities. The more you do it, the better off you are. (Don’t forget that I do mock interviews!)
A personal story to illustrate the point…
When I first applied for a career services position, I recognized that I was under more than the usual amount of scrutiny. After all, I was applying for a job to teach people how to job hunt! So, of course, I spent a lot of time personalizing and targeting each application specifically for the positions.
Despite my expertise and the care I took, I remember looking back at resumes I sent at the early part of my search and remarking (to myself), “WHAT was I thinking?” Now, mind you, these resumes were solid – well done. I even got interviews from several of them – including some that I wasn’t technically qualified to do (but I digress). The point – even though I knew what I was doing, actually updating my own resume and resending it over and over made me a much better applicant. Practice (and waiting) paid off in the job I landed – heading up the career center at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.
So – if you are waiting because you are stuck, or scared, or just plain tired of it all, or because you think the economy will get better in the fall and you’ll be fresher, I honestly think you are kidding yourself. You need to be IN it to WIN it. How can you drive your own career bus if you are not picking up the keys? Think of all the possible lost networking opportunities you can have over the summer. (You can still get a free copy of my networking guide – CLICK HERE for info.) What about the job descriptions that may be posted online or on Twitter or via your network on LinkedIn? If you are not looking, you will not find them. And you will never know what opportunities you may have lost along the way.
Do I think you should spend your every waking moment looking for a job? No way. (In fact, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m a big advocate of HIRING SOMEONE – ME(!) – to help you with your materials and your search so you know you are starting way ahead of the pack. Save your time, money and sanity!) Yes, take a break, but not a 3-week break! Don’t be a job seeker-a-holic, but don’t step out of the frey if you want to be competitive in today’s tough economic times.
So, are you ready to get in the search? To grab the keys and climb the stairs to your own career bus? Let me help get you started ahead of the pack. Learn more about what I can do for you – and WHY you should hire me to help you.
photo by MollyPop