The unemployment numbers are closely watched in each country around the world, but in the past few years, Americans specifically have been eyeing the charts, looking for hope in statistics. Recent graduates were some of the hardest-hit, as older, more qualified employees clung to entry-level positions in fear of being left without a job.
Recent reports have been grim for those who recently achieved college degrees, promising an immediate future full of retail, coffee retrievals, or no income at all. However, the Atlanta-Journal-Constitution reports that things may be getting better, citing the healthcare field as an example.
Pamela Redman, a nursing development manager, tells the journal that new graduates have generally been hired in proportion to those nurses who were retiring got maintains balance, but as many nurses are not able to afford retirement in the recession, fewer recent graduates are taken in.
Across the board, 10.2% more recent graduates can expect to find employment in 2012 than 2011, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, though the selectivity and competition for these positions is still at an all-time high.
So what can newly-degreed 20-somethings do to improve their odds of landing the job they want? Acquire strong interviewing skills and polish up their resume. According to experts, your resume should be created with a single purpose – to get an interview. It should display the best of your achievements without being too long or difficult to read. A few simple guidelines should be followed:
- Use an easy to read font, like Arial or Times New Roman
- Use generous margins and leave adequate white space
- Bullets and indentations should emphasize main accomplishments
- Use italics and underlines sparingly
- Capitalize and bold company titles
When printing your resume, also be sure that you use high quality paper, ensure that the resume prints perfectly (and only in black ink), and use paperclips instead of staples to join multiple pages together.
Recent graduates should also be knowledgeable about the three types of interview formats. There are structured interviews, unstructured interviews, and behavioral interviews.
Structured interviews follow a script, in which the interviewee is asked specific questions to assess competency and ability to meet the job’s responsibilities. These generally have a time limit and the interviewer will take notes on the prospective employee’s responses.
Unstructured interviews are more conversational and open. The interviewer will ask questions and assess how well the interviewee maintains a professional demeanor in a casual atmosphere.
Behavioral interviews are very different, and the interviewer may ask about previous professional and personal experiences. The prospective employee will tell how he or she handled a difficult situation, and competency and ability will be assessed based on the given answers.
Gaining a competitive edge in today’s market isn’t just about education and experience – it is also about how you play the game while you hunt for a job. Arm yourself with the best possible resources.
You Can Learn’s Job Hunting – Secrets to Success is a powerful tool to help you gain the advantage you need to get the job you want and deserve.