Do you recognize this new graduate? She could be your college roommate. He could be your son. Or she could be the person looking at you in the mirror.
As a college student, Erin was bright-eyed and optimistic. A psychology major, she loved her classes and university life. Now that she’s out looking for a job, she’s frustrated, anxious, and at times downright miserable.
Edouard, a recent MBA in international business from a French university, is frustrated too. He spends hours each day scouring the web for entry-level jobs in the EU, primarily France and the U.K., and internships and sponsorship in the U.S. But the recruiting process seems terribly broken. His job applications often get lost in resume cyberspace known as the black hole.
Like so many recent graduates and young professionals, they both feverishly tried to find a job, but found it wasn’t easy. They were all dressed up with no job in sight.
Finding a job is unlike any exam you’ve ever taken. Even if you prepare day and night, you still might not pass if you don’t know how to market yourself.
I’m going to tell you why.
There are too few jobs, especially full-time entry-level positions. Perhaps Erin’s major or Edouard’s coursework was not what companies were looking for; perhaps it was the way they marketed themselves. They came to realize that there were many others angling for the same opportunities from all over the world. Credentials are important but they must become better at job hunting—and networking and personal branding, too—if they expect to succeed.
It used to be about, “Can you do the job?” Now, it’s “Why should I choose you over the other 200 candidates who can do the job?”
Showing college students, new grads and young professionals how to succeed in this job market is one of the professional missions of Catherine Kaputa and why she wrote the book, Graduate to a Great Career, and started speaking at colleges and universities. Unless you’re a STEM graduate, it’s not enough to be good, you have to brand if you want to stand out.