By AnnMarie McIlwain, Founder and CEO of CareerFuel.net
Less than half of those who graduated college in the last three years found full-time work in the first year after graduation. As a result of the current jobs crisis, many graduates have resorted to unpaid or part time work. In fact, statistics from the Department of Labor show that nearly a third of 18-29 year olds are underemployed right now. In order to “get in the door” and be considered for a position, new grads will have to find a way to demonstrate their value to the company before ever being seen. Here are some ideas to help get you in front of hiring managers.
Show them the money—The 1.5 million non-profits in the U.S. can be a great employment target, particularly if you are able to suggest funding opportunities. Start by pinpointing several that interest you in your geographic region. After making a list, search www.grantwatch.com for grant proposals that seem to fit those organizations. Tweet them, post them on their Facebook page, or even email them while inquiring about possible volunteer, internship or paid positions.
Lead them down the yellow brick road of youth—Another way to get a company’s attention is to come up with new strategies for reaching the college-age market. This age bracket is the “Holy Grail” for marketers, and who could be better than a college-aged marketer to generate new ideas? Identify niche social media platforms, eye-grabbing content or new apps that are getting early adoption among college students and are applicable to a company that interests you.
Use SurveyMonkey to conduct a free market research study among your network of college students. Get a 100 or more people to participate (250 would be better for statistical significance) and ask questions about how young grads are using social networks, interacting with media (TV, Mobile, Phone) and each other. Take the insights from your research and put them in an infographic and write a blog, submit it to Mashable, and post it on the Pinterest page of relevant companies.
Be that right place/right time person—Startups are typically long on ideas and short on funds. Identify ones in your geography using Crunchbase. Brainstorm some marketing or sales ideas and introduce yourself using them. Offer to work for free for a while, if you can—even if it is just for a couple of months. It is a great way to learn a variety of operational skills, and if you prove to be indispensable they will find a way to fund you.
Companies want smart, self starters who live to perform. A great hire is that someone who sparks your interest immediately. Be that candidate that can’t be ignored because they demonstrated value from the get go!
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