graduation8 Things to Help Prepare for the Job Market

Here are some suggestions that will be helpful if you are planning on entering the job market for your first job or a new position in the next 12 months. Today’s job market is much different than just 30 years ago because we are in a global economy and the internet has really speeded things up. Below are some suggestions to help you compete. .


1. THINK LIKE A HIRING MANAGER. While you think it may be hard to find your first job it’s just as hard for hiring manager to hire the right candidate.  Hiring managers are usually very busy and need to get a lot of things done. When there is more work for them to get done then they or their team can do they look to hire new people. But they just can’t hire anyone. They have to hire people who have the ability to do the work, will do the work, and fit right in as part of their team. Making good hires is a tough task for the hiring manager but making a bad hire is costly due to lost time and money. For this reason many hiring managers have difficulty in making a hiring decision. You can help the hiring manager chose you if you can make it easier for them to recognize your value and motivation. Follow the suggestions below.

2. MAKE A LIST OF WHAT YOU CAN DO. Even the brightest students with the highest GPA’s may not have any marketable skills. Being bright is only valuable to a hiring manager if that bright person can also do things of value for the hiring manager. Being able to build a bridge, deliver a marketable app, or build a customer base is much more valuable than the study of such things.  Make and keep a list of the things you can do, have done and want to do.  This will give you a better understanding of your achievements and capabilities as well as a good start to writing a marketable resume and mapping your career.

3. REVISE YOUR RESUME – AGAIN. A resume should be a marketing piece that shows the essence of who you are, what you have accomplished and give an indication of what you can accomplish. It provides your work history and potentially a blueprint for your future. Most resumes fall short of what they can be because they don’t make it easy for a reader to appreciate your value.  Unlike the list noted in #2 above the resume should be crafted to show value.  See 4 Keys to Writing a Better Resume .  You can add value to your resume by doing work that is valuable to the markets for which your hiring managers are hiring for. The most valued activities are those that help somebody organize, manage, deliver, or sell something.  Show that you can do these functions at a high level and you will be picked over candidates who do not.

4. WRITE A BLOG. The major reason for having a blog is to demonstrate your ability to think and communicate. The ability to come up with new thoughts, work with logic, and be able to communicate those thoughts and logic is an important skill. Investing just an hour or two per week to write a quality 400 word blog will help you build a ready pool of evidence to your ability to think and write. In addition, you can add writing and publishing a blog as another “you can do” item.

5. SPEAK BETTER BY LISTENING TO YOURSELF. Learn to speak in a clear, concise, and thoughtful manner. You’ve seen those advertisements that people judge you by the way you speak and for the most part this is true. To get a baseline on your speaking image use your smart phone to record yourself the next couple of times you make a phone call or talk with someone and then listen to how you sound.  . Are you thoughtful? Are you concise? Are you clear in your descriptions? Sometimes just removing the empty filler words like “and, uh” or “thing” or “and so on” and substituting more descriptive phrases can really make a difference in how you speak.

6. LEARN TO USE TOOLS. One of the best ways to enhance your value in the marketplace is to master the use of tools that are valued in your marketplace. This could be a software tool like Photoshop, MATLAB, Publisher, Google sheets, analytics software or a physical tool like a nailing gun, a welder, oscilloscope, fly a helicopter etc.

7. READ THE WALL STREET JOURNAL or other publications that will give help to give you a bigger picture of the world. Reading the right business publications will give you a better sense for business and the markets for which you might choose to work. Better understanding of your markets will help you make better career choices.

8. HELP SOMEONE.  Your career isn’t really all about you — it’s about someone else. If the hiring manager believes that you can and will help him to meet his objective he will hire you. The more valuable you can become to others, the more likely you will be exposed to opportunities that lead to growth and reward. If you respect the people and place you work this will be much easier.

The suggestions above should prove valuable to a college senior or anyone who may be active in the job market within the next year. These suggestions are all about self-improvement and building your future.  Make it easier for the hiring manager to see you as the solution to his or her hiring challenge.

Author: Rick Zabor

Engineer / Scientist / Researcher turned Recruiter in 1987. Interested in the best way to do things and mixing with people who have passions for life. Writes on topics important to building winning teams and personal growth and accomplishment. Connect with me on Linkedin. Lives in Atlanta, GA.