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Outlook for 2009 Grads: Good Jobs Available for Flexible Candidates

Outlook for 2009 Grads: Good Jobs Available for Flexible Candidates

Margot Carmichael Lester, Monster Contributing Writer

September 10, 2009

Ready to Roll

“I think employers are looking for more than just grades,” says Daniel Dodge, a May graduate of Northwood University’s automotive marketing program. “They want to see outside activities where you showed leadership and management skills.” Dodge has a job with Winston-Salem, North Carolina’s Flow Automotive as a manager in training. He has five years of part-time experience working in the service department of an auto dealership, plus a summer internship with another company.

John Masci, author of Small Schools, Big Jobs: How I Beat the Ivy Leaguers, agrees: “Employers are looking to hire candidates who can hit the ground running, not ones who need to time to adapt to an office setting and transition from the academic environment.” He suggests showcasing affiliations with industry players and activities in your resume and cover letter. “This can be as simple as gaining a certification in your field, getting actively involved in local [industry] groups or participating in trade events. Most of these are low-cost and quick to capitalize on.”

Constructive Contact

Connections are especially important when competition is so keen. “People who know you best, like your family and friends, will want to help you most,” says Bob Daugherty, US sourcing leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York City. The consulting firm will hire about 3,000 grads this year, about the same number as in 2008.

Daugherty’s advice: “First and foremost, students should network with alumni who work in their desired profession or who have high-ranking positions in companies. Think broadly about expanding relationships and networks, both on and off campus. Volunteering is also an excellent opportunity to network.”

Web Work

Social networking also can be an important part of the job search. “By using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn efficiently and professionally, you can exponentially expand your list of contacts, communicate effectively and maintain relationships,” says Christine Bolzan, founder and CEO of Graduate Career Coaching in Newbury, Massachusetts. “Read the discussions, and post your own helpful, insightful comments. This will not only enhance your relationships with the other participants, but will undoubtedly draw attention to your profile and potential candidacy.”

You can use other social media to your advantage, too. “Post a status update that you are interested in a particular company and ask if anyone can share any insight or knows someone there,” Bolzan suggests. Or search for people on sites using the company name to determine if you have any connections there. “Leverage any and all connections you can to help put your resume to the top of the pile and gather info on the firm,” she says.

So don’t let the current career climate get you down. “Don’t concentrate on the difficult environment; keep a clear head,” Daugherty says. “It’s about the future, passion, energy and what [you] have to offer prospective employers.”

Check out our entry-level resume and interview advice.