Jobs for grads: Tips for making a big splash on the job hunt

Street signs marking the intersection of Opportunity Drive and Career Drive.

Finding jobs for college graduates requires perspiration. (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/Kufarms/The HR Farmer)

College graduates face a tough job market, particularly in the wake of the recession. Experienced, unemployed workers are clamoring for work, which means that finding jobs for graduates requires more insight. With job hunting tips for college grads in the quiver, however, the journey becomes easier.

Jobs for grads: Answering the big questions

Finding jobs for college graduates (or “jobs 4 grads” in Google-speak, which is how many people start the job search) requires the job hunter to face some difficult questions. Should you follow an employed significant other to a new city if you don’t have a job lined up? How do you negotiate salary? Is accepting an unpaid internship a wise move? A host of experts sounded off on these matters through Automated Trader.

Can’t live on love

Regarding moving with a significant other but no job lined up, Jason Levin of career site Vault.com says while love is lovely, it can be fleeting.

“Being kicked out on the street with no money and no friends is (ugly),” said Levin.

The risk may be too great, unless you have a plan when it comes to the bills. Without an exit plan, the consequences can be dire.

Inexperienced negotiators, know your market

Life after college tends to magnify just how little real world experience a graduate may possess. Thus, the college graduate won’t have the hard ammunition to negotiate pay. An understanding of the job market gives the graduate a frame of reference. Viewing government data regarding average starting salary ahead of time can help graduates protect their financial interests so they don’t need loans — not bad credit loans, not payday loans. Even if there’s no flexibility in an employer’s offer, it doesn’t hurt to inquire. At worst, a lower-paying job could pay off in learning opportunities.

“If you feel like the offer is lower than expected, you can certainly say something,” Levin said. “You can mention that you did your research and that a position with an undergrad degree should receive X or Y.”

Are unpaid internships a good idea?

Charles Purdy of Monster.com points out that while the recession has sent many companies scrambling for unpaid interns, the benefits can be great for students on that post-college job hunt. Just make sure you can afford to work for the experience before signing up.

“It’s important for younger people to take a long-term view of their career and consider the benefits of an internship — experience, networking, and so on — over immediate financial gain,” Purdy said.

Waiting until after graduate school

So long as a college student has a clear career goal in mind, obtaining a graduate degree can be beneficial. Greater income isn’t guaranteed, but it certainly won’t hurt your chances. The U.S. Census Bureau found in 2004 that college grads with master’s degrees earned 23 percent more over their careers. A more advanced degree also gives students the chance to build their knowledge base before entering the job market.

Nailing the interview

For a straightforward guide to how to nail the job interview, sites like Worksmart California are a great reference.

Sources

Automated Trader

eHow

Worksmart California

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