College Graduates: How to Find a Job During an Economic Crisis
by Raymond Gerson
There is a hidden job market that most job seekers do not know about. The visible job market is only the tip of the iceberg because many of the best jobs are not advertised. When I worked as a self-employed recruiter most of my job search assignments were known only to the employer, a few people in the company and me.
The good news for college graduates is that unemployment is much less for them than for those with only a high school diploma. The bad news is that many college graduates are unemployed or under employed and competing with many others for the better jobs.
The mistake that most job seekers make is to follow the crowd and to do what everybody else is doing. This puts you in competition with too many people, especially during an economic downturn. Let's take a look at the job seeking methods most people use and that are less likely to produce good results. Most job seekers do the following:
• Send out lots of resumes
• Post resumes online
• Answer want ads
• Go to employment agencies
• Go to job fairs
It is okay to spend a small amount of your time using the methods listed above, but not much, because these are the least effective job search strategies. They are less likely to get you a good job when compared to the two job search strategies that I am going to present to you.
So what are the best and most effective job search methods? If you can find the unadvertised jobs you will have little or no competition. Many employers who have job openings do not advertise them or list them with employment agencies, but prefer to ask their employees and other people they know to recommend someone.
There are two types of unadvertised or hidden jobs:
1. Job openings that the employer knows about.
2. Jobs that could be created for the right person, but no job opening currently exists.
Let's look at the first one. How can you find these unadvertised job openings? Here are a few ways:
• First you must know the type of work that you want to do, are suited for and feel passionate about.
• Research. Go to the library and identify at least 25 companies of interest from directories of major employers. Examples would be Dun and Bradstreet's Million Dollar Directory and Standard and Poor's Register of Corporations. The librarian can help you to find other directories and resources for your research. Select several companies of interest.
• Use the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) and Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) to identify jobs you want and the skills and experience required to perform them. The OOH will also give you an idea of salary ranges for different jobs.
• Conduct informational interviews with people in your fields of interest to further your research.
• Contact people you know (and who they know) to see if they can refer you to anyone who works for your companies of interest.
• Call hiring authorities directly and tell them what you would like to do. Let them know how you could contribute to and benefit their company. If they do not have job openings in your field of interest then ask for the names of two other hiring authorities in their field of work.
• Join professional associations in your field of interest or go as a guest. You will meet people who work in this field and many hiring managers.
The second approach to uncovering the hidden job market is to create a job where no opening exists. You will have no competition and can negotiate your income. Develop a written or verbal proposal for the companies that interest you. The research and informational interviews you've conducted should enable you to determine which companies have need for an employee with your skills and interests. Your proposal should state what the proposed job is and how you can contribute to the company by solving their problems. If your proposal demonstrates that you can contribute much more than you will cost the company, it is likely that they will be interested in you.
I have personally used this approach to create a job that did not exist and have taught others how to do it. This method works best with smaller companies, but it has been used successfully with large companies. For example, an acquaintance of mine created a job for himself as a high school teacher. Public schools are usually considered to be bureaucracies, but he was able to use a proposal to create a job teaching several courses of interest that could be incorporated in already approved and existing courses.
Keep in mind that even during the Great Depression seventy five percent of the people were employed. Even in difficult times there are jobs if you can fulfill a need.
So be proactive and go directly after the jobs and companies that interest you. Find the hidden jobs that already exist or create a new one. The reward for successfully using these proactive strategies can be the blessing of discovering and obtaining a fulfilling career-one that makes use of your enjoyable and best talents.
Copyright 2009. Raymond Gerson
Raymond Gerson is an adjunct professor of career development and college success courses. He is a former executive recruiter and job placement specialist. Two of his career e books including, How to Create the Job You Want are available for free at: SuccessForCollegeStudents.com.
For more information about his latest book and college success courses go to: http://www.achievecollegesuccess.com
Raymond Gerson may be contacted at http://www.successforcollegestudents.com