Topic of the Week Hello Graduates - The Work and Career Advice Commencement Speech:
• DO manage your expectations.
• DO use your contacts.
• DO volunteer.
• DON'T overlook staying in school.
Graduates today understand it's tough out there. It's been a while since my last commencement address, but I wanted to share a few thoughts with this year's grads especially Hallie, my daughter and recent high school graduate. Which reminds me of my other daughter, 6-year-old Frankie. Recently she lost her first tooth and received five one-dollar bills from the tooth fairy. I asked her how she felt about it and she said, "Daddy, I liked finding the money, but what I really wanted was a quarter."
Expectations are so important, whether you are receiving your first visit from the tooth fairy or graduating high school or college. I'll offer three Do's and one Don't for this year's graduating class to help you navigate today's turbulent, bordering on scary, job market. For more ideas and job hunting strategies, check out the newly redesigned workplace911.org. It's a comprehensive resource for anyone who wants to WORK smarter, create a CAREER or BOSS better.
DO manage your expectations. Despite the negative headlines, you will get a job. The question isn't an "if" question, it's a "when" question. Expectation management is crucial, because it's dangerous to expect that you'll land a job immediately. Or if you doubt you'll ever find gainful employment. How can you ensure that your expectations are realistic? Talk to a counselor at your school to get a sense of how other recent grads are doing. Contact anyone any recent grads you know who are working to learn their tricks of the trade.
DO use your contacts. Contacts? I can hear what most of you are probably saying, I don't have any contacts. Most schools have an alumni association. Use it. Whenever I get contacted by graduates from my school I make time for them. And I'm not alone. You already have a built in network, it's a shame that more graduates don't take advantage of it.
DO volunteer. Many grads struggle when they look for work because of their lack of experience. Sure the job market is tight, but you can often get valuable experience through volunteering. Many non-profits are hurting right now after having to lay off staff, so there is often a treasure trove of experience that you can get through volunteering. And the best part, you can also help out your community at the same time. In business they call this a win-win.
DON'T overlook staying in school. Right now is an excellent time NOT to be in the job market. Almost every expert I've heard believes that employment prospects will get better in the next few years. Even though you may be tired of school, this is a darn good time to avoid being in the market for a job. And picking the right field to study can give you the skills to get an even better job when you graduate next time.
Follow these tips and you won't have to rely on fairies to get hired, you'll have the foundation in place to get a great job.
About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via [email protected].