To College Graduates Looking For Jobs: Stay Optimistic

I recently graduated with my B.S. Degree in Information Systems Security back in March of this year, and what a relief it was.  It was the end of long reports, long study sessions, and lab assignments.  For people who I knew during my tenure at college, it was about that time for them to look for that new job.

Somewhere during the final couple of months, or even after graduation, a fresh new graduate is filling out applications and sending out resumes in hopes to find a job within their field of study.  Unfortunately, due to the conditions of the current economic market, more and more college graduates are unable to find jobs in their acclimated field due to less hiring by companies and older, experienced workers vying for those same positions.

According to articles such as this one from USA today, employers are set to hire a higher percentage of college graduates than in 2009.  However, with the current unemployment rate at 9.7% according to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fight for jobs is still going to be tough for most graduates, especially those without experience.

I personally know a couple a couple of graduates who graduated last year who went to graduate school because they could not obtain a job.  This makes me ponder the question:  Are college/universities doing enough to ensure students are prepared, or are students not making the best of their opportunities?  This question might need to be addressed in another blog post sometime in the future.

One thing that I will say right now to all college graduates currently looking for a job: Do not stress over the “statistics”, still go out and apply for jobs. What I mean by this is just because the news and the media are telling you that job opportunities might be slim pickings, do not hide in a ball and worry to death.  Still get out there and apply for the jobs you feel you are capable of obtaining.

In personal relation to this topic at hand, I will say that I am currently working in the field in Information Technology.  Back in 2007, I obtained my A.A. Degree in Network Information Systems.  Within less than two weeks of finishing school, I had a job within my field of study.  Yes, I understand that economic and job conditions have drastically changed since then, but some of the things that helped me back then can still apply to students graduating now.

Be Unique

With the increasing amount of people aiming for the same jobs as yourself, you must stay on top of the latest skills within your field.  For example, if your major is in Medicine, what are the current medical practices most needed?  If you are in the Information Technology field, what are current sought after technical skills?  If you can obtain a certification solidifying a needed skill, go for the test (and pass of course).  This tidbit of accolade could give you that needed push above the already stacked competition.

Remember: Stand out, don’t stand still.

Networking, Networking, and more Networking

I really don’t think I can stress this enough.  If you have sub-par social skills, I suggest you pick up some books, read some videos,  or socialize more often.  I know a lot of people within my field that were able to get their first jobs due to the people who already worked at the company of interest.  Some ways that you can build your professional network,

  • Conventions/Conferences pertaining to your field (NOTE:  make sure to develop/distribute business cards with your contact info.)
  • Job Fairs
  • Internet (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
  • Professional Organizations

Readable Resumes Returns Reliable Results

Please make sure your resume is legible and easy to comprehend.  I can’t tell you how many people I know have lost job opportunities due to an unreadable resume.  Proofread your resume…two and three times over.  Include keywords that pertain to the job that you’re targeting.

Hiring managers don’t have much time to waste.  Trust me:  badly composed resume = lost opportunity.

The one thing I definitely want to get across is that you must go out and seize the opportunity, or you’ll most likely be left in the dust.  Do not wait for a job to land in you lap regardless of your college achievements.  Most importantly, do not panic, stay optimistic.

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I Am Thankful For…

Thankful – feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative.

For the last couple of nights, I have been in deep thought.  I had a chance to sit back and reflect on what has been my life.  For the most past, I will say that I have been very fortunate on how everything is turning out.  You know how during Thanksgiving holiday, you are at the table and you tell your family/friends what you are thankful for?  Don’t reflect on what you’re thankful for once a year, make it a regular habit.  For every time you are having a bad moment or day, always imagine that it could be a lot worse.  Imagine someone who has it a lot worse off than yourself.  Imagine someone who is less fortunate than you are.

I took the time to brainstorm some things that I am thankful for.  Here are the top five things I am thankful for:

Family

My immediate family has been the most supportive during my life journey.  No matter what hard times arise, I will always be thankful to have them around me.  I am thankful to have a family that loves me and manages to be behind me no matter the circumstance.

Strong Circle of Friends

You know they old saying friends come and go? I can honestly say that a good majority of the people who I call friends have come an stayed.  People that I have known since elementary school are still apart of my life, which I can be thankful.  I can be thankful for the many new people who I have met through college and professional endeavors as they have helped me to become a more confident and strong-willed individual.

A Young, but Successful Career

With the amount of college graduates not being able to find a job after graduation, I am thankful that I was able to get a job within my field after I received my first degree.  Ever since my first job within my field of study, I have been able to build upon my education and work experience in order to reach another plateau in my career.  I know that I have a long way to go to get to my destination, but I cannot be mad at the foundation that I have built so far.

Words from the Wise, or Experienced

Everyone makes mistakes in life.  However, the question is: Can you learn from other people in order to avoid making the same mistake?  I am thankful for the amounts of people who have given me guidance or even advice in order to make my situations better.  There are some people who are reluctant to give others advice or even lend a helping hand when needed, so I am fortunate for the ones who have given me guidance.

The Ability to Live Another Day

I don’t know when I’m going to leave this Earth for good, and I’m pretty sure the rest of you don’t know either.  This is why I am thankful to wake up and live another day.  Nothing is promised in life, except death.  I have learned to live each day with the utmost gratitude and be fortunate for the time that I have been given to live.

Now ask yourself:  What are you thankful for?

Realizing and Reaching Your Potential

Potential – a latent excellence or ability that may or may not be developed; possibility; potentiality

In life, we all strive to be successful in one way or another.  The path that we might take to become successful might be different from another person with your same aspiration(s).  No matter what anyone might tell you, we all have the potential to do something that can make an impact in our direct lives or in someone else’s life.  The question is:  Do YOU realize the amount of potential you have to complete something you strive for?

Throughout my life, I have seen many people who I have felt had the potential to do something astounding fall short.  With each situation, there have been different factors that have led to unreached potential such as negative external influences, lack of guidance, lack of confidence, or just overall laziness.  A lack of motivation I have seen time and time again; a person might feel complacent in their current lifestyle.  It’s frustrating for me to see the potential in someone, but that same person not even realize what they can accomplish.

For a very long time, I never realized my potential.  I was an individual that believed that I would not accomplish any big goals, or even touch an abundance of people’s lives.  I think this all changed for me during my time in college, where I surrounded myself with people who believed in me.  Having positive people around you can surely make a difference in the way you think and act towards life.  As time went on, my confidence and overall belief in my abilities increased dramatically.  People around me saw that I could do something great. 

When I presented my Valedictory Address at my graduation, many people were touched by the words that came out of my mouth.  People who I had never talked to a day in my life were coming up to me and thanking me for giving them a ray a motivation, or even hope to their current situation (whatever that might be).  Where am I trying to get at with this?  Have positive influences around you, or more importantly, BE a positive influence to someone in order for them to understand the ability they have.  If one of your friends, family members, co-workers, or neighbors you’re close with feel that they cannot get over the hump, give them motivation.  Just a little push of some sort can be the deciding factor of someone you know realizing their potential.

If You Have A Younger Sibling, Please Guide Them

Within my short time on this earth, I have seen a lot of things that have made me enraged and angry inside.  One of the things that I have seen (more and more rapidly) is the misguided youth.  When I talk about youth, in this case, I am talking about young adolescents, teenagers, and young adults.  What do I mean by misguided?  I’m talking about not knowing the basic and simple mannerisms; not obtaining and completing a grade-school education; not caring for anyone else or anything but themselves (selfishness).  These are a few examples of some of the misguided youth.

I’ll provide a specific example from my personal life.  I have a younger brother who I love and care for more than anything in the world.  As my brother became older, I realized the importance of sharing with him my life experiences and becoming a “tutor”.  I’m not doing this to prove myself to anyone, or to win some sort of sympathy.  I do it because I feel that it’s needed.  I feel that this is what an older brother is supposed to do, no matter the situation.  Even with my younger brother not being in the same household as his father, I hope help my brother realize some of the mistakes that I made when I was in school (specifically high school), and to not fall in the same traps.

My brother is set to go to high school in the upcoming fall, but I see things that he has done in middle school that make me wonder if I am actually doing the best that I can.  For example, my brother has missed more than 40 days of school this school year alone.  His constant reasoning?  To play video games online with other people he doesn’t know in real life.  Along with that comes to lying and cover ups to deny any wrongdoing.  So what’s the main point here?  Lack of focus in school = sub-par or poor grades = failing.  And when I mean failing, I don’t mean just an unsatisfactory grade on a report card.  I’m talking about failing at achieving academic success, failing at realizing your potential.  This is something that I will not tolerate, even if I’m only his brother.

I have friends who also have younger siblings.  Seeing some of them grow up and make some of the same destructive decisions of their older counterparts shows a lack of guidance.  It shows that we, as older siblings, are not doing all we can to steer our younger siblings in the positive direction.  It shows how careless when can be to our own family, our own blood.  Don’t give me the excuse that it’s the parents’ sole job to raise them and lead them without help of others.  That is total and complete nonsense. 

I’m not here to place blame on a particular group, or a particular person.  I just want you to understand that we need to show our younger people that there’s a guiding light at the end of the dark tunnel, not the fact that the tunnel is completely dark without a way out.  I want you to be able to actually be apart of your brother’s/sister’s/cousin’s life to be the helping hand, not the cold shoulder.  If you have a younger sibling, please be their positive guide.