What the Experts Say: New Graduate Job Search Strategies

This blog is unusual for me as rather than share my thoughts in my words, I am posting comments made on a recent LinkedIn discussion. I agree with their points of view and know that every time I read or see a news story about new grads who cannot find a job in their field of studies, I think to myself "I wonder what this student's resume is like."

The question posed:

"My supervisor asked that I pose a question to professionals in the field who are university career counselors. That question is: How are you managing the overwhelming increase in student traffic and request for services (internship search, ATS assistance, resume & cover letter review, interview training, and career counseling) in light of tight (or cut) budgets and restricted hiring (unable to hire additional FTEs). What are you doing that has been helpful, successful?"

The overall takeaway:

Many colleges/universities are outsourcing some of the work (I edited some 150 cover letters and resumes for a major Canadian university), calling in experts to conduct workshops, and even referring students to private career practitioners.

The conversation turned to the value of well composed, well developed self-marketing documents, the resume and cover letter.

A few answers:

"As someone with 22 years' experience in higher education career services who now owns her own career consulting business, here's my (no doubt controversial) statement: In general, private practitioners can do the work better than those in college career services. We know the marketplace, understand the nuances of hiring, and have credentials and areas of expertise not usually held by those in higher education."

"These career documents are the most important career documents in 'their' life. They need to take their career more serious as there is a lot riding on the quality and how these documents are executed.

What is a bit dumbfounding to me in some cases is, the students have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of time in their education then leave their resume to chance by using a "template" or "cheap" services to communicate their value to an employer and wonder why they are not employed. (I am not saying that career centers are cheap. I am just stating a fact that they turn to 'cheap' and do not do any due diligence, waste tons of money, and when they are really in a pickle, they start getting serious.)

Investing in some of the 'top writer services' at $$,$$$ is still pennies on the dollar to not only what they have invested in for their education, but what they COULD BE MAKING if they were employed...and truly conveyed their value to the employer.

There ARE jobs available. Employers need talent. I believe experienced, credentialed writers, coaches, and strategists bridge that gap nicely."

I agree, there are jobs available and those with a professionally prepared self-marketing package reliably land interviews. I know my new grad clients do.