'09 grads face hard job hunt
Posted March 27, 2009

Natalie Veissalov
News Editor

In this tough economy many Americans are struggling to keep up with their finances and are scrambling to find any type of job they can get their hands on.

College seniors graduating this spring may be feeling even greater anxiety about entering the job force in this difficult economy.

However, there is hope and reason for optimism, at least according to the University’s Director of Career Services Paula Verdugo.

She offered tips for college seniors and students still in college to help them land a job when they complete their studies.

“Pre-planning starts in your freshman year,” Verdugo said.

The Office of Career Services at the University of La Verne assists students in finding a job, creating a resume, writing cover letters and mock interviews.

“The first tip we like to give (to job seekers) is to be patient and positive,” said Allison Nawoj, spokeswoman for Careerbuilder.com.

“Understanding that the job search might take longer.”

If the job seeker is always negative, he or she will end up losing hope, Nawoj said.

Instead of sitting around worrying about the bad economy, Nawoj recommends networking.

“Networking is a great way to create that personal brand,” Nawoj said.

Networking means creating a Facebook, a Twitter account and telling everyone you know you are looking for a job.Only 10 percent of jobs are found on the Internet, which means that the other 90 percent of jobs are found by networking, meeting people, connections, going up to people and telling employers you are looking for a job, Verdugo said.

Job seekers should make a personal tie with someone, according to Verdugo.

“It’s about being proactive,” Verdugo said. “The job does not come to you.”

In these tough times, seniors might have to opt for a lower job than they expected or take on an internship, where they can gain experience in their field.

So when the economy does get better, they can put the internship on their resume and gain priority to someone who did not do one, Nawoj said.

“Being open-minded is very important,” Nawoj said.

“If you are picky, it will take longer,” Verdugo said.

“Your career does not have to start right when you graduate,” said Laura Ingram Edwards, assistant director of Career Services.

“You are not going to land your dream job when you graduate,” Verdugo said.

The person should work even harder at an internship or volunteer their time at a company to show the employer that they are passionate about what they do.

This might spark the attention of the employer and offer the person a job, or refer the person to another company that is hiring, Edwards said.

Some requirements an employer might want is previous experience.

Many job seekers become discouraged because of this. However, experience can come from volunteering or internships.

“Employers do not expect the graduating senior to know everything,” Ingram said.

The job seeker should have a good attitude and willing to learn. The job seeker should have a “can do attitude and be a team player.”

“They (employers) can teach you technical skills, but can’t teach you to have a good attitude,” Verdugo said.

Also, in order to be competitive in this tough job market, the job seeker must understand their own unique talents, Verdugo said.

If you do not understand what your own talents are, how can the employer understand your talents?

According to Nawoj, there are many jobs available in government, healthcare and education.

“It’s certainly not impossible to find a job even though it may be more difficult than the past,” Nawoj said.

Also, watching the horrible news of unemployment rates and massive layoffs is not helping job seekers, Ingram said.

The person should avoid the negativity in the media.

“Don’t make it (finding a job) so frightening that you don’t do anything,” Edwards said. “It is not as scary if you broaden your options.”

According to Verdugo, the person must always act like they are on an interview because it takes seven seconds for a person to decide if they like you.

When a person does land an interview with an employer, the person must dress professionally, be well groomed, treat the receptionist with respect, make eye contact and smile, Verdugo said.

“Make a good first impression because it will follow you,” Verdugo said.

Natalie Veissalov can be reached at natalie.veissalov@laverne.edu.

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