The Wall Street Journal Online described the disenchantment many college graduates experience while grasping for dream jobs in a contracted economy (The Curse of the Class of 2009). The WSJ report hints at how recent grads must immediately retool themselves to become marketable to employers. Some of them opt for advanced degrees in more market-friendly subjects. Others accept entry-level jobs expecting to rise through the ranks of large organizations. A significant number of grads attempt to haven in public service awaiting more favorable economic winds.
The ability to adapt rapidly to changing employment trends will serve you well now and in the future. Here are a few pointers on how to retool quickly:
- Assess how your knowledge and skills can save companies money. Organizations don’t see revenues increasing significantly any time soon, so they look at ways to cuts costs. If you can demonstrate skill sets that will make an organization more efficient, you’ll have potential employers’ attention.
- Recognize that the business world often sees recent graduates as not knowing much. I embarked on the job hunt with my new graduate degree thinking I really knew something and could offer companies immeasurable value. After four months of fruitless pavement pounding, a sympathetic high-level director pointed out that the degree didn’t mean a lot in the business world; I had to prove my worth over time and be willing to accept lower-level positions as a starting point.
- Look at job postings in your chosen field, identify qualifications you may be lacking, and start educating yourself to develop those competencies. Most academic programs give students the language and fundamental concepts for starting off in a particular career direction. Those programs don’t keep pace with the newest ideas, practices, or software applications however. Self-study, internships or even volunteer work may offer the opportunity to develop and demonstrate mastery of those skills your chosen career requires.