College graduates — stop listening to your parents and professors!

Henderson-Dollar At least stop listening to those parents and professors who still believe it's 1980.

As you might imagine…this is the time of year when we get bombarded with resumes, calls and college graduate drop ins — all looking for their first job.  I remember how frustrating my search was.  Everyone wanted someone with experience…which of course, no one would give me!

I've spoken to several college classes and many a recent grad over the past couple months and I can tell you without a doubt that most of them are going about finding a job all wrong.

And sadly, this is due to the tutelage of their well meaning parents and some out of touch professors. 

Entry level jobs are not won with marbled resume paper and cover letters that tell employers how much you like people.  And…you should not tell me that you're going to call to schedule an appointment.  That's sort of my job.  If I want to actually meet you.   And seriously — spell check.

I wrote a post outlining what I would do if I were looking for a marketing job today.  (click on the link to check it out) Even if you aren't interested in marketing — most of it still applies.

But bottom line — you need to get our attention.  And the standard resume/cover letter combo isn't going to cut it.  You have to do something to stand out, to be noticed and most important — to be remembered.

The photo above is a little something I got in the mail from job seeker Kurt Henderson.  The copy is clever — he acknowledges that time is money and he'd like a little bit of my time.  He did several other things right.  But…the bottom line, I've had this orange envelope (and the dollar) on my desk for about a month.  I need to start talking to some entry level type folks.  Guess who is getting my first call?

And in fairness — not everything your parents tell you is out of date.  Handwritten thank you notes never go out of style.  Neither does doing your homework.

Good luck finding that elusive job.  I promise, you'll never work as hard to get one as you will this first time out.

P.S.  Check out this free e-book aimed at grads!

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3 comments on “College graduates — stop listening to your parents and professors!

  1. I must tentatively agree with you, that potential applicants need to do something to stand out and be remembered. Cookie cutter resumes and cover letters are a dime a dozen.

    But I would caution people to not take this too far. Not all potential employers react well to extreme show-boating. Some stunts can also work against you.

    If you choose to go with some kind of gimmick, make sure that it is in keeping with the professional position you are trying to snag. Temper it with at least a little common sense.

  2. Tracy says:

    Joella has a point. I’ve looked at resumes that are all over the board. It’s good to stand out, but it might not be the hiring manager’s cup of tea, depending on how creative you get with it.

    I’ve worked with plenty of manager’s that couldn’t care less what kind of tricks you use to be remembered, they just want to know what you’re capable of. My advice would be to research and make an educated guess of how to proceed depending on which company and what kind of job it is.

  3. Moore says:

    Getting good jobs is one of the most complicated tasks now a day. I completely agree with you that our parents and professors think that we are in 18 century till now and they will instead of pushing us forward they will let us down. There are many people who still set their minds to the 80s.

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