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Life After Graduation

Advice and Resources for Life after Graduation.

Posted in: Career

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Congratulations 2020 graduates! Although we live in a time of uncertainty, there is no doubt you have worked hard this year. But you might be wondering, what do I do now? The job market has always been competitive, but now it is even harder to find a job amidst the hiring freezes and limited remote opportunities. How can you distinguish yourself? Where do you even begin?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone! The direct route from graduation to a full-time job has become a little more complicated, but there is more than one path to success. Career Services is still here to support and guide you through this regrettably weak job market. Below are resources and tips to boost your skills, resume and overall hiring potential.

Career Services Is Here for You

These are difficult and confusing times for job seekers and we want to ensure you get every support you need. Graduates are welcome and encouraged to meet with their Career Services offices for resume review and virtual counseling sessions.

Log into your Hire a Red Hawk account via NEST using your NetID and Password any time to book an appointment or upload your resume. Log into Hire a Red Hawk.

Brush Up and Upskill

Whether you have secured a job after graduation or not, now is the time to address areas of improvement and learn new skills. Use this time to dive into the available resources and maximize your professional and social impact.

Gain a New Skill or Sharpen a Current Skill Set

  • If you have not found an opportunity yet, take an online course to supplement your learning. Online courses are a great way to keep your knowledge fresh and broaden your understanding in your field. Try LinkedIn Learning for comprehensive profile-building courses. Register for courses in topics that will build your skillset, like Excel or Project Management. Or if you’re still unsure about your career path, experiment with a class in another field to better pinpoint your direction. Montclair State offers a variety of skill-building summer courses. Explore Our Offerings.
  • Staying busy during quarantine is critical, for all the reasons we can imagine, including a future job interview question — what did you do during quarantine? Prepare now for your answer.

Build Your Network

  • Networking is key before, during and even after securing a job. Even with social distancing in place, you can still build connections. Network online with LinkedIn, video chat platforms or even Montclair State Career Services. Reach out to family, friends, bosses, professors and former internship supervisors; everyone knows someone, and the stronger your relationships, the more likely your connections are to refer you to their network!
  • Informational interviews are quite possibly the least utilized networking technique, and in this quarantined climate, perhaps a goldmine. Think about it — many people are now home, working, taking care of those close to them, some with more, some with less time on their hands. What might some of them be in search of, a previously common everyday experience? Human interaction, especially human interaction outside their sphere. Time could be ripe for reaching-out via LinkedIn, social media channels and email to ask about scheduling an informational interview. Check out Monster’s excellent checklist designed to make these meetings a success.

Practice Interviewing

  • Phone and video interviews are the gateways into full-time employment, so make sure you are comfortable with both mediums. Outline answers to common interview questions and practice calm, concise delivery with a friend over video chat. Use the Hire a Red Hawk Mock Interview module to perfect your video interviewing skills and send to Career Services, a favorite professor or whomever else for feedback on your performance. Learn the Tricks to Acing Virtual Interviews.

Create a Personal Brand

  • What impression do you want employers to have of you? What do you want to be known for? That is your personal brand. Analyze your skills and career goals and design your online presence around these aspects. The employer’s first impression of you will be a virtual one, so make sure your profiles are authentic and confident in the achievements they reflect. Capture LinkedIn Recruiters with These Features.

Be Original

  • Now is not the time to send out dozens of generic resumes and cover letters. The job market is small and competitive, so standing out to employers and showing your passion is more important than ever. Research the companies you want to work for until you know them inside and out and then customize your resume and cover letter for that company and position.

Skills Employers Seek

  • Aside from the general attributes employers seek, a subset of skills are becoming extremely valuable given this anemic job market. These “new” skills or qualities often revolve around grit. What is grit and do you have it? In a nutshell, grit is having the ability to persist after setbacks. Grit revolves around perseverance and tenacity, the ability to delay gratification and not giving up under difficult conditions. Share examples of your grit during interviews by using the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result).

Earn Income in Temporary Positions

  • We understand that there are many who cannot afford to be unemployed and wait for the right opportunity to come along. If you are in this position, consider a temporary or part-time position to supplement your income. It is important to be flexible and resourceful where necessary. Regardless of whether the position is in the field you eventually want to work in, all jobs provide valuable experience and bolster your skills. Check HARH for Available Positions.

Career Services This Summer

Career Services will host webinars and virtual events throughout the summer. Registration links will be posted on Hire a Red Hawk and our social media channels. Follow us today!

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