Q: What do I need to do to get hired in these tough times?
A: Although many firms have put the brakes on recruiting and hiring, there are still jobs out there. But to find one, you’ll need to be proactive by taking these three steps.
1. Reconnect with former classmates who are now working in your field to see if they are aware of job opportunities.
2. Make new contacts by asking your college career center to set up as many informational interviews for you as they can find. After your interviews, follow up with handwritten thank-you notes. Periodically, stay in touch through phone calls and e-mails.
3. Be flexible with your dream career. Check out alternate, recession-proof fields using resources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook and Career Hub. You’ll need an open mind about your job opportunities and where you’re willing to work and live.
Q: I’ve heard that employers look at Facebook and MySpace to research job applicants. Because of that, I’m pretty careful about what I post. Since they are already looking, is there anything I can do to make a good impression?
A: A 2008 survey from CareerBuilder.com indicated that 22 percent of hiring managers use social networking to research job candidates, which is up from 11 percent in 2006. For this reason, you’re right to be careful. To present a mature and professional persona on your online sites, here are some things you can do:
1. Make sure your profile showcases strong writing skills.
2. Include background information and work experience that support the qualifications listed on your résumé.
3. Show your personality; just be aware of who might be looking at your site. For example, upload photos of friends but leave out those of last weekend’s late-night party. Or showcase your musical taste but forget jokes, groups, or applications that could be deemed tasteless.
Alexandra Levit speaks on workplace issues facing young employees and is the author of How’d You Score That Gig: A Guide to the Coolest Careers — and How to Get Them. Her career advice has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Associated Press, ABC News, and National Public Radio.
USAA, a diversified financial services group of companies, is the leading provider of financial planning, insurance, investments, and banking products to members of the U.S. military and their families. Named by BusinessWeek as No. 1 Customer Service Champ in 2007 and 2008, USAA provides highly competitive financial products to its 6.7 million members. For more information about USAA, or to learn more about membership, visit usaa.com.
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