New Job Search Tools for College Seniors and Graduates

Do you realize that not all job openings are posted on online job boards? The fact is, most companies don’t post all their job openings on the major job boards because they either don’t have time, don’t get the quality of candidates they’re looking for, or decide to spend that money elsewhere. So, if not all available jobs are posted on the job boards, where are they?


While most companies don’t have the time to post all of their open positions on job boards, most do make the time to post them on their own web site. “Great, so now all I have to do is somehow find every company in the world and search through their website!” Not at all! Fortunately, we already did a lot of this work for you.

Each week at GradtoGreat.com we are adding new companies to our database and creating easy search tools for you to use to find that first job after college. Check back each week as we add new tools and tutorials for finding your ultimate first job online. Be sure to read through the tutorials for optimizing your success. We’ll also feature a company each week that hires recent graduates. As always, best of luck in your job search.


Click here to search for companies by industry.


Book Launch Pics

The book launch party for Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Graduates was a huge success! It was fun to meet my co-author Thom Singer (who I had never met in person before).

Thanks to Skybox at Sheffield for hosting such a lovely event. What an amazing and professional staff! Here are a few pics. We were so busy having fun we didn’t take too many!

Mingling at the book launch

Clubhouse Level

Anne Brown & Raymon SutedjoThe

Outdoor Level 4

Anne meeting Thom

Anne meeting Thom

Now back to work!


Guest Appearance on Good Morning Arizona

This past Sunday I was on Good Morning Arizona talking about my new book, Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Graduates (New Year, 2010). The people at Channel 3 (KTVK) were so nice it made me miss my old news days back at WILX. The weather in Phoenix wasn’t bad either!

If you’re ready to get serious about networking, spend a few minutes to find out what your “Networking Quotient” is. This free quiz was developed by my amazing co-author Thom Singer. He has written several books about networking, is a top-rated international speaker, and this quiz can help get you more familiar with what type of networker you are. Take the quiz and let me know what you think about it…and send in any networking questions you have.


Getting Into the Real World Mentality

By Kristen Fischer, www.ramenrentresumes.com

The end of the semester is fast approaching for many college seniors. Even though you may be caught up in campus life, the professional world is just around the bend. Here are a few tips on how to get into a “real world” mentality to make the transition a tad bit easier.

Think about what you want to do. You have been studying a particular field for around four years, but that doesn’t mean you will—or will want to—automatically enter it. If you know that you want to pursue something else upon graduation, there is nothing wrong with not going into the field you studied. In fact, you’ll do better off knowing this from the get-go so you can build your career in another field. Regardless of what you want to do, learn about your options. Examine what you want your ideal day to be like. What kinds of jobs are available in your industry and in the region you want to work in?

It may sound silly but most new grads are on autopilot and, understandably, enter the working world taking whatever job they can get. But you want to build a career now that you have your degree; not just get a job. Put some thought into the direction you want to take.

Get crackin’ on a resume. I know it may seem daunting to work on something that doesn’t have a deadline—unlike turning in a final paper—but this document is equally as important. While you are on campus and have the resources, talk to the pros at your Career Services office and get tips for writing a resume, and feedback from people who know all about them.

Compiling a resume is often overwhelming for soon-to-be grads because they feel like there’s nothing to fill up an entire page, but if you really assess your skill set and look at the latest resume-writing trends, you can come up with a powerful resume that will get you the job.

Start looking for a job—yesterday. Again, you may be swamped with class work or you may be trying to relish your time as an undergrad, but nowadays, jobs are hard to come by. Add the fact that you’ll soon have to pay off loans and bills—and probably want to get your own pad at some point—and you will realize that you don’t want to be behind the eight ball. It is frustrating when your peers have great jobs lined up while they are still students. While that does not happen to everyone, many students are preparing to enter the professional world months before they graduate. Be proactive in your job search and start putting feelers out. You never know how long it will take to get a job and it’s smarter in the long run to get something fulfilling and profitable so you don’t have to take any old gig to get by. (Chances are, you went to college so you would not have to just “get by” anyway.)

Even thinking about what you want to do and where you want to live—and arranging for those things—is smart planning. Talk to your parents about the possibility of moving home or see if you can get a roommate if you want to be out on your own or plan to move far from home.

When summer starts and your classmates are at work and you are home on mom’s sofa, it may feel good for a while but it won’t be long before you will want to get out into the working world. Start your search now so you can make a timely transition.

Practice interviewing. If you aced your public speaking class and excel at debates, that doesn’t mean you will be a natural at an interview. Most of the time, the weight of landing your first job and the pressure of impending expenses can turn you into a frazzled mess when it comes time to sit down for a one-on-one. That kind of anxiety can take away every strategy you have mastered in the past. Start developing answers to common interview questions and practice a mock interview with a friend or a professional in the Career Services office. You can submit a stellar resume but the interview is what makes or breaks it. First impressions are huge in the real world.

Coming in to an office wide-eyed and bushy-tailed is common for recent grads, but you can get more comfortable with a professional environment by rehearsing answers and dressing up. Pay attention to things like how much you fidget—you may smell like an entry-level candidate to the interviewer but you don’t want to look like one, too!

Enjoy your last days in college. Even though it is beneficial to think about and prepare for the future, there is nothing like living in the now. Spend extra time with friends, sleep in, stay out late, hit up a crazy party, or enjoy campus activities. Even if you cannot wait to graduate, you will probably long to be a college student again at some point in the future—make the most of it now.

Balance, balance, balance. This is an overwhelming time for everyone so try to prioritize what matters. Yes, putting together the resume and starting your job search is important, but you may just want to get the foundation started before you start job hunting. Then you can use that time to complete coursework and make time for fun. There’s also nothing wrong with visiting a counselor to help developing coping strategies. If you’re feeling stressed, take a step back and make time to enjoy things—no one said you have to do everything before your graduation date, but starting to get things in order will help you in the future, too.

Kristen Fischer is the author of Ramen Noodles, Rent and Resumes: An After-College Guide to Life. For more tips on preparing for life after college and coping with 20-something issues, visit www.ramenrentresumes.com.


How Much Time Should I Spend Networking Online?

The following is an excerpt from the upcoming book Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Graduates (New Year, 2010) by Anne Brown and Thom Singer.


Members in online communities are not prescreened. Therefore you have no way of knowing exactly whom you’re going to meet or what their motivations are. Spend too much time networking with the wrong people and social networking becomes more of a time suck than anything else. To meet these people who may change the trajectory of your career as quickly as possible you need to be strategic about how you utilize your time on these networks.


A Networking Guide for Graduates

Book Released May 1, 2010

To start, jot down a few goals. These goals need to spell out exactly what you hope to gain from each network that you belong to. Once you’ve done that, break down how many hours per week you’ll need to spend online to reach your goal. If the number of hours seems realistic for you, then you’re mapping out a good strategy. No matter what your goals are, you must spend enough time on social networks to do the following:


Keep your profile updated. Almost every social network requires you to create an online profile. Some people do this the day they sign up and then never bother with it again. We’ve all seen the profiles with major gaps in the About You section, or with no photograph. This is at best a half-hearted attempt to be involved in an online community. This is like a person who shows up to an event, but sits in the back and doesn’t say anything to anyone. To have power in your network, you have to be engaged (online or in person).


If you aren’t, why bother?


If you’re not quite sure what to include in your profile, or how to say it, research the profiles of successful members of the network before completing and publishing your own. This will help ensure you’re speaking the same language as everyone else. Once your profile is active, keep it updated. People are more likely to reach out to someone who keeps their information current.


Be an active part of the community. Get engaged. Make contributions to the discussions, and strive to be a real part of the group. There’s no point in joining a network if you don’t plan to participate in it. At first it may seem a little awkward, or as if no one is paying attention, but after people have enough time to get a sense of who you are, you’ll see your inbox filling up with introductions from people you’ll be glad to know.



Books are available for pre-order at: http://amzn.to/9IJuYZ



Grad to Great Job Postings

Once in awhile I learn about a few job openings here in Chicago that would be perfect for college students or recent grads in need of some part or full-time work…and I post these job opportunities here on my blog. So, if you’re looking for some work you’re in the right place…if you happen to live in Chicago that is.

Current Positions Available are:

Customer Service Rep (at a really cool olive oil import retail store in a happening part of Chicago)
They’re looking for part-time weekend help.
Good pay, non-commissioned based!
Contact Brian for more info at briancorbin@oldtownoil.com

I know Brian and he’d be a great guy to work for!

Graphic Design Intern
Paid Position/School Credit Available
Internship is June – August
Start-up publishing company
Cool downtown Chicago office space
Contact abrown@GradtoGreat.com for details. Please send resume, and cover letter if you wish to apply.

PR & Marketing Intern
Paid Position/School Credit Available
Internship is June – August
Start-up publishing company
Cool downtown Chicago office space
Contact abrown@GradtoGreat.com for details. Please send resume, and cover letter if you wish to apply.


Lack of Jobs Got You Discouraged? Don’t Halt Your Job Search!

If the lack of entry-level jobs has discouraged you to the point that you have stopped looking for a position, snap out of it. Now is not the time to roll up your resume and escape on that cross country camping trip you’ve always wanted to take. At least, not if you want to find a job before 2014.

Mick building the tent!

According to Barbara Kiviat* in this week’s Time magazine:

Were the economy to magically start regenerating jobs at a healthy clip——say, 200,000 a month——it would still take 3 1/2 years to return to where we were [before the recession started in Dec. 2007], never mind the jobs we need for new entrants into the workforce.”

So what does that mean for you? Only that delaying your job search in favor of camping until the US Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes some more attractive job market numbers means you’ll be living in a tent for 3.5 or more likely 7.5 years (my personal estimation).

Tent completed.

Here’s why. Two reasons.

#1. The economy is not going to recover for awhile, so don’t wait until the media announces that it’s out of rehab.

Professional and management jobs in business are disappearing faster than tickets to the new Harry Potter World at Universal. But the good news is that the need for work to get done isn’t. There are jobs out there.

There is an explosion of microenterprise in this country. And all of these entrepreneurs need help…the kind of help that a recent college graduate is likely to be able to provide. This includes accounting, web design and development, PR, marketing, and all sorts of contract assignments in other fields. Just check out Urban Interns if you don’t believe me.

[Sidebar:] As a small business owner myself who meets with several other small business owners regularly, I know this to be true. In fact, I make it a policy to hire only recent college graduates because I believe that not only are most of them smarter than me, but they work super hard if given the chance.

And the reason I felt compelled to blog about all this at 10:30 pm is because I feel a huge disconnect between what college students are currently telling me, and the way the economy is going. Several students have recently told me that they would rather turn down contract work in favor of waiting for the economy to recover. What?! Contract work builds your resume, lets employers know you have the ability to work independently, and it could potentially lead to your starting your own business. It did for me!

#2. The competition isn’t going anywhere either!

Even if you abhor the idea of contract assignments now, it’s a myth that the competition for the few entry-level jobs that are available will be less fierce in a few years. Companies are going to use these next few years to figure out how to do more with less. My advice is to suck it up now, and approach the job search as if it were your full-time job. It is no fun working on one resume all day for a single job application, and writing cover letters is about as fun as cleaning the toilet, but it’s worth it when you finally get that employment contract in the mail.

On the other hand…if you’re like my doctoral student friend who speaks five languages, owns a beagle and knows how to make food out of dirt – and who can actually survive in the wilderness with only a beagle and a bear for company – by all means go camping! You just might make it in this crazy new economy without a “real” job after all. (Yes, Mick, I said real job.)

It is a damn nice tent!

*Source: “How to Create a Job”, by Barbara Kiviat. Time Magazine (March 29, 2010, pg.19)


Why Networking is a Waste of Time for Some Grads

If you’ve spent your time joining professional associations, going to events, volunteering for committees, building relationships, following up for coffee, and you still aren’t getting any support from your network, you’ve probably come to the conclusion that networking is a big waste of time. And you’d be right. Most likely there are plenty of skeptics around warning you, “your time is better spent working on resumes and at that part-time job”. But, here’s the deal, networking is not a waste of time, and it will help you more than you can possibly fathom right now, but there is a caveat. Though building relationships exposes you to opportunities (that you would have never had otherwise), if you don’t seize them, you will never reap the benefits networking. To get help from the people in your network, you need to ask for it. Only then can the true power of networking begin to make a difference to your career. You have to ask, and you have to ask in the right way.

Is there someone in your life who you need some help from right now, but you feel awkward about making the request? Perhaps you need an introduction, a letter of recommendation, a reference or perhaps a freelance project. Is this person someone who knows you and feels positively towards you? If so, you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable to ask them for help.

If you have a large network and you cannot find anyone who is willing to help you, then it’s not a network. You may be connected to a ton of people on social networks, but you have not succeeded in building true networking relationships. The people who claim that they never get anything from networking are usually the people who look at their network as a list of contacts instead of treating them as a group of friends (we’ll talk more about that in a later post). On the other hand, some people just don’t know how to ask the people in their network for what they need.

If you have developed good relationships with the people you consider to be a part of your network, they won’t be offended if you approach them respectfully, politely, and with a tremendous amount of consideration for their time. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you never learn how to ask, the people you network with won’t know how to assist you – and more often than not they are extremely willing to help .


The Three R’s of Networking for Grads

While you studied at a college or university, you learned many skills, but there’s a good chance you didn’t focus any attention on developing your networking skills. In fact, most college curriculums do not include coursework that teaches you how to find a job, or how to build a career. And that’s a shame because it is these types of skills that lead to long-term success.

Your college major matters very little compared to what kind of person you are to work with. Why? People want to work with people they know and like. The people making the hiring decisions will get to know you during the interview process, and if they like you, your chances of getting hired go up. If they don’t like you, you’ll probably be starting the job search process back at square one. To avoid that, work on strengthening your networking skills, and meeting contacts who can give you referrals, recommendations, and references.

For example, a referral is when a networking contact informs you of a job opening or connects you with someone else who knows of one. A recommendation is when a contact puts in a good word for you directly to the person who is hiring. And a reference is when someone can personally vouch for the quality of your work.

Here are some examples:

Referral. “Hi Tom. Last night I met an impressive young man at the Business Marketing Association networking event in Milwaukee. He mentioned he was currently looking for an entry-level position and I remembered we have one open in your department. Just thought I’d pass his resume along.”

Recommendation. “Good morning Leyla. Last week I met an impressive young man and I’ve had a chance to sit down and talk with him about his internship experience and I’ve got to tell you, I think this is someone we should bring in for an interview. He mentioned he was currently looking for an entry-level position and I think he’d be a great fit here at our firm. Isn’t your department hiring right now? I really think we should give this young man a shot.”

Reference. “Paulo, glad I ran into here. Listen I wanted to mention a potential candidate for that marketing coordinator position your company has open. There’s an exceptional graduate from the University of Missouri that’s been temping for us all summer. She’s fantastic. Self-starter, great attitude and completely competent. If we didn’t have a hiring freeze I’d hire her myself. Interested, great! I’ll email you her resume this afternoon.”

If you have very little work experience, or none at all, look for volunteer opportunities so you can build a list of people who can speak directly to the quality of work you are capable of producing.


Holidays Are a Great Time to Network!

A strong network is the single most effective career advancement tool you can have. Therefore, it is critical that you maintain your network by keeping in touch with the people you have developed relationships with. The holiday season is a great time to reach out to your contacts as well as people you may have fallen out of touch with. Why not send a holiday card to someone you’d like to reconnect with? Want to let someone know you’re graduating soon and looking for work, but don’t want to seem pushy? Include a handwritten note in your card to update everyone on what you’re up to. People expect these types of updates over the holidays!

Here are a eight tips additional tips for maintaining a strong network.

#1: Stay Visible
Much in the same way a celebrity stays relevant in the media, you need to stay visible and relevant to your contacts. For instance, you may stop working in the same field as many of your contacts, but don’t want to fall off their radar. How can you do that if you won’t be attending the same association or work events anymore? Read on…

#2: Stay E-mail Buddies
A common practice is to send an email every so often to the people you want to stay in touch with. This is most appropriate when you change jobs, or have an exciting announcement to make.

#3: Customize Your Message
Your list of contacts could include hundreds of people and since you can’t write a personal note to each one, at least tailor your message to each group. If you do this, make sure the content of the email is appropriate to the audience that will be reading it.

#4: Segment Your Contacts
It might be helpful to mentally segment your correspondence. For example, draft one version of your email update for contacts you consider friends, another for contacts you aren’t particularly close with, another version for clients, and so on. This is customizing your message.

#5: Be Helpful
Another way to stay visible to your contacts is to pass along any relevant information that may be useful to them. For example, if you come across an article online or in a magazine that you know would interest them, send it to them. Include a note wishing them well. Keep in mind that a gesture like this loses its impact and sincerity when you ask for something in return.

#6: Extend Invitations
If you have access to a cool event or networking opportunity – and you can bring colleagues – invite special people from your network. However, do not invite people to an event where there is an expectation that they buy a product or service – unless they are fully aware of this ahead of time and express an interest.

#7: Refer Clients
This is the second best way you can tell someone in your network that you truly value them. Refer them, their company, or their individual services and products to others.

#8: Keep Your Promises
Here is the best way to maintain strong connections to those in your network. If you say you will do something, do it. If you agree to help someone out, make sure you come through. There is nothing worse than letting others down, especially if you have the ability to come through and make good on your promise.

(It is also important that you say no when you must, and not feel guilty about it. Maintaining your integrity is just as important as maintaining your network.)