What works when you want work?

27 May

Universities are producing record numbers of graduates just when the economy can no longer absorb them, it appears. The credit crunch will turn into a career crunch for some.

I don't have any easy answers to offer: I suspect that we're experiencing a shift from working for large organisations towards smaller players, from secure employment to more flexible arrangements. This can be painful for some, but open doors to others. Graduates, I feel, should be better equipped to respond to change and uncertainty than non-graduates. We'll see.

But help and advice has never been so available to those seeking work. Much of this advice can be summarised in two points:

  • Network. This involves connecting with and meeting people, and not just on Facebook. Explore PROpenMic, the professional social network LinkedIn and join professional bodies like the UK's CIPR. Allie Osmar tells how her Mentorship Connection initiative led directly to a job offer for one person. Sadly, her career's taking off so the Mentorship Connection is no longer being supported.
  • Stand out. This has always been a competitive industry and it's not getting any easier, so you need to be an outstanding candidate. Sometimes this involves paying attention to detail and doing the basics well. In a thoughtful essay, Harold Burson argues that 'writing quality has been diminishing for half a century at least' and that 'the young job seeker who demonstrates writing skills is immediately differentiated from others'

  UPDATE: Richard Edelman offers seven tips for graduate job seekers.

4 Responses to “What works when you want work?”

  1. Serena 27/05/2009 at 12:14 pm #

    Or volunteer with a charity?
    I work for Leukaemia Research and we’re always happy to hear from PR students/graduates who’d like to work with us and get some great experience on their CVs
    email us (put press@ and lrf.org.uk together)

  2. Laura Smith 28/05/2009 at 1:21 pm #

    Another option that the BBC are advising at the moment is to look at internships abroad, in countries which aren’t doing as badly, such as Australia.
    Perhaps assistance such as placement offices at universities should consider this when it comes to looking for work abroad and the help they’re willing to give to students who wish to look further afield.

  3. Justa Wawira 30/05/2009 at 7:48 pm #

    What works when you want work? I’d say technology works. Traditionally the way to job hunt was to network. Now technology makes that very much easier. You have the mobile phones, sms, email, internet, facebook, twitter and a lot of social media to choose from. Companies are now putting job vacancies on their websites, asking for online applications, conducting online selection processes and interviews, making offers online and even jobs are becoming online!

  4. Richard Bailey 31/05/2009 at 9:08 am #

    Technology is a great enabler, but the danger of relying too much on technology is that you risk missing out on the human dimension of communications and relationships. That’s why I thought Harold Burson’s post was so compelling.
    Of course twitter is allowing people to publicise vacancies; of course jobs websites will facilitate the perfect match of vacancy to candidate. But it still comes down to the same thing: people hiring people.

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