“Don’t be a cleaver. Be a Swiss Army knife. You need to always be available.”
My daughter sent me that quote recently from a guest speaker that came to one of her college classes. It resonated with me.
I see a big problem with the way grads are inserting themselves into the workforce- if they’re even doing so at all. You may recall that last year I wrote about how I hate the term “funemployed.” As a grad, even if you have been putting in the effort to find a job and are just discouraged over your efforts, you need to take yourself out of such a narrow focus. I see a lot of kids coming out of school with very specific goals about where they want to be in the future, and that’s great—in fact, I encourage it—but sometimes with that I see people that don’t know the necessary steps to reach their ultimate goal.
So, when you are just starting out, widen your net. Be a Swiss Army knife and ask for the right help. Only 27% of recent college graduates find a job related to their major, so don’t worry if you see something on a job description that you didn’t learn in college. Have the ability and the willingness to wear multiple hats and learn different skills. Ultimately that is the type of person a lot of employers are looking for.
BUT- this doesn’t mean that you should be turning a blind eye to your job search and just trying to end your unemployment. You should have some level of an idea of what you want to do. Stop going around and asking if somebody knows somebody that’s looking to hire. That is not going to get you anywhere. Whether it’s a family member, friend, or whoever- Tthey don’t know what you’re looking for and are going to be a lot less enthused to help you without targeting.
Seriously: target, target, target…it’s what I tell my sales team at Steiner Sports, and it’s what I tell recent grads that are trying to find their way. What are your dream companies? Who are the key decision makers at those companies? Start learning about who you want to look for and become an expert on everything that company does and who those key people are. Do the work!
Then, you can go ask the people around you, “Hey, do you know somebody at XYZ?”
A big part of getting what you want is knowing what you want and it’s kind of like dating. You meet a girl or guy you’re interested in and you probably do a little research- talk to their friends, see what they have happening on social media and you try to get a sense of what they are like. Just because you may not marry someone at 21, does that mean you’re not going to date at 21?
Don’t have your mommy and daddy do the work for you. You do the work. You make the ask. Use your connections around you all day long, but don’t mistake that for not putting in the effort yourself. If you are able to use your parents to get your foot in the door somewhere, that’s fine, just remember that it makes a world of difference for that person to hear from YOU directly.
Have at least an idea of what you may want in your career as you first start looking for a job. You are not going to have all of the answers and that’s okay. Taking these steps will set you on the right path.