Looking for a job in a recession is not as tough as it seems

April 30, 2009

Bruce Biskin[ Ed. note: This belongs to our series of posts featuring tips for recent grads from LinkedIn users. Bruce Biskin, PhD is a career planning and assessment expert, and senior associate with Delaware Valley Career Solutions. He also co-administers a job/career resource wiki in Bucks County, PA]

It's almost May and graduation is right around the corner.  A year ago, many college juniors were expecting to be popping the academic bubble and taking the next step toward independence--and some have. But the short-term job outlook is more uncertain for many others and stress-levels are beginning to ratchet up. So what can you do to kick-start your career?  Here are four tips.

1. Remember that jobs are still out there. The "perfect" job rarely is waiting just for you, but good ones are there to be found. Focus less on a particular job or career path and more on your marketable skills. If you are stuck in a rut and need help, check in with the career services center at your college and get help before you graduate. Or hire a professional career counselor or coach to help hone your job search skills and support you through the job search process after you graduate.

2. Keep networking. Use your network to find the best possible job for you. Web-based professional business networks such as LinkedIn are great places to find out about companies, make contacts, ask questions, and get yourself known. [Not a member? Get started at the LinkedIn Grads Guide] But don't ignore other virtual networks like Facebook and Twitter--just make sure there's nothing embarrassing or unprofessional there. Let your trusted contacts know you are looking for work. And certainly use family and friends not in your virtual networks. And speaking of family....

3. Use your family network wisely. The boundaries within families are not always seen the same way by students and their parents. The better you know yourself, the easier it will be to draw what you need from your family to continue to grow as a responsible adult. As much as possible, take charge of the process parameters, be willing to negotiate, and avoid being too compliant or defensive. If you and your family collaborate without falling into destructive familial roles, your family can be a great source of support and job possibilities.

4. Consider service options. Non-governmental organizations, some federal and state agencies, federal service programs like AmeriCorps, and the armed forces will be getting direct and indirect economic stimulus support in the next fiscal year. If you consider continuing your education later, you can earn support for graduate school and possibly forgiveness on some educational loans through AmeriCorps and military service programs. You can also learn transferable job skills that should make you a more attractive job candidate when your service is completed.

Check out the rest of of our posts featuring tips for graduating students here