Within the next few weeks, all colleges and universities will have opened their doors to a fresh group of students, including seasoned students who are looking to dance across the stage as they receive their diploma.
Those who have already surpassed that moment, are usually scrambling to find employment and may feel as of their efforts are hopeless. The thoughts of, “I still haven’t found a job yet?” or “I’ve graduated three months ago, when will my time come?” may wander their mind.
Chaz Pitts-Kyser is the author of Careeranista: The Woman’s Guide to Success After College and founder of Careeranista.com, a website for young professional women. As a keynote speaker at numerous conferences and workshops, she gives career insight to college undergraduates and recent graduates.
Being an African-American woman with a college degree, she knows first hand the struggles of securing employment that one enjoys and one that is related to a specific field of study.
Fresh out of school she was hired at The Pruitt Group as a managing editor due to her past internship experiences. She then moved on to Langston University as a journalism instructor and then worked with SmileyBooks in the editorial department.
Today, Pitts-Kyser is dedicated to helping young women flourish in their selected careers through her new book which provides job searching tips, how to build a professional image, attaining work-life balance and overcoming self-doubt and fear.
The Recorder was able to sit down with Pitts-Kyser to discuss her top five tips for landing your dream job.
Think outside the box when job searching
The faster you are able to recognize not-so-blatant opportunities and expand your idea of where you should work, the closer you will be to getting hired in a position you will enjoy. Many people apply only to well-known, large-sized companies because they think the pay will be more and it will look better on a resume, but this isn’t necessarily true. As a plus, smaller companies tend to be easier to get into because less people are applying for positions within them and it’s easier to gain the interest of the actual owner. This is equally true for those still in college and seeking internships, as I found. Beginning my freshman year, I interned each summer with a small weekly newspaper and learned about all facets of the newspaper business. By the time I graduated, I was offered a managing editor position because I knew the company and my duties inside and out.
Make your ambitions known
Relying on applying to job postings to secure a job won’t get you anywhere very fast. Leverage your former professors, employers, family members and network like crazy on and offline as part of your job search. No one will know who you are, what you have to offer, and what you desire unless you tell them. As I note in Careeranista, nearly every great opportunity given to me and practically everyone I know has come as a result of a friend or acquaintance remembering our name and goals when they heard about an opportunity—not from an HR person selecting our resume amid a file of a dozen others. Your network is everything!
Find a career mentor
Having a mentor is crucial to young professionals’ success. Starting out, there are just so many things you don’t know—like which companies treat their employees horribly and which are a dream to work for. Mentors can help you see potential roadblocks and how to get past them, as well as help you mature into a savvy, sophisticated professional. Networking with people in and outside of your industry is a necessity at every step of your career—especially for those whom are job searching.
Secure a post-college internship
Internships aren’t just for college students; they are or can be for anyone seeking to gain more knowledge and experience in their field. And more than likely, one of the reasons a new college grad may be having a hard time landing a job is because they lack the experience a company is looking for—even for an entry-level position. So, recent grads should swallow their pride and, if there is a company they would like to work for but is not hiring or has passed them by for positions—call the HR department and ask if they can intern there. Doing so will give a new grad experience to put on their resume, make them more likely to get hired if a position becomes open, and increase their professional network.
One of my friends who had more than 10 years of work experience decided to volunteer at a university to set herself up for a paid position. Volunteering gave university officials a chance to get to know her and see how her skill set was just as valuable at a university. Within six months of volunteering part-time she was hired for a full-time position.
Start an industry-focused blog
Creating an industry-focused blog is an interesting and effective vehicle to display your knowledge. But even more important, blogging provides a tremendous opportunity to broaden your network and put you in touch with potential employers.
For more information on Careeranista: The Woman’s Guide to Success After College, visit Thebook.careeranista.com.