For Graduates this Spring, Job Insights this Year
Learn best practices that succeed in today’s changing job market, for young generations starting their career.
If you are lucky enough to be graduating this month, congratulations! Your timing could not be better.
This is one of the best job markets in recent history. Just ask those who had to look for a job in May of 2009 in the throes of the Great Financial Crisis or in March of 2020 during the COVID-19 shutdown. Per April, both Colorado and the nation’s unemployment rate is 3.6% and wages are rising after decades of stagnant growth. Knowing this, how do you find a job and what do you look for?
How to Find a Job
There are several ways to find a job these days. Once you have determined the type of industry in which you would like to pursue a career and your corresponding location, search online for companies that may be of interest. See if any of your family or friends know people who work at these companies. If they know someone, great! If not, talk to a recruiter in the industry.
We (at Beacon Pointe Advisors) hired an amazing employee from LinkedIn three years ago, who had no experience in financial services but was intelligent, eager to learn, and interviewed incredibly well. Our most recent hire found us through a job posting on Indeed. A third recent graduate and new hire was referred by one of our current employees. We interviewed him on Zoom because of our employee’s personal recommendation.
Remote or On-Site Job
One of the most dramatic changes as a result of COVID-19 has been the ability to work from just about anywhere. When searching for opportunities, it’s important to consider the remote working policy of each potential employer and whether or not it aligns with your needs.
Employers today must be more accommodating in terms of their employees coming into the office or working from home. Two or three days in the office seem to be the norm these days. But if working from home is what you’re aiming for, that may also be negotiable. Ask what the company policy is upfront, so there are no misunderstandings after you start.
Pay or Experience
I have always told new graduates that the first job is the hardest one to get. Once you have that initial job secured, you can make contacts in your industry and network to find better opportunities in the future.
Is your goal to have the largest starting salary, or to accept a position in your field of interest, even if it is entry-level?
Personally, I always accepted the position with the best, long-term prospects or that offered the best leadership, even if it wasn’t the highest paying. Also, starting salaries are usually similar across different industries, but what may vary are healthcare options, 401(k) matches, or PTO policies. Be sure to ask about these benefits and compare overall compensation from each offer to help you decide which company is a better fit.
Clean Up Social Media Sites
Transparency is the price we pay for being on social media. This can act as a double-edged sword. What you did in college at the last fraternity or sorority party might have been fun at the time, but it may not be so appealing to your future employer. Go back and clean up your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok accounts. Delete anything that may not be viewed in the best light from the perspective of a potential employer or their clients.
As someone who reviews a high volume of resumes, reading a two-page resume from a recent college graduate is not favorable. Less is more. Odds are you haven’t worked in a professional capacity for very long since you just graduated from college. Keep your resume to one page and cover the basics: education, career aspirations, and relevant courses you took in college. That being said, also include interesting aspects unique to you, such as where you went to high school, what activities you were involved in during college aside from academia, as well as your hobbies.
Did you work to pay for your education? Do you have athletic accomplishments? Did you study abroad? Can you speak languages other than English?
With an entry-level position, your employer will train you while on the job. Nobody expects you to know what to do on day-one. Employers typically want someone who is eager, is teachable, works hard, is honest, and who works well with others. Writing well, speaking articulately, and treating others with respect will go a long way toward being successful.
Thank You Note
After you finish an interview either via Zoom or in-person, follow up within the next day with a thank-you email or handwritten note. Old fashioned? Maybe. Smart? Yes. These days, nothing differentiates you more from the pack than an overt appreciation of other people’s time.
Recently, we had a college graduate not only send us a thank-you note after just a Zoom interview, but he also sent the entire office a basket of fruit thanking us for our time. My partner was so impressed by this follow-up, we are now bringing him back for a second interview in-person with the entire team. We weren’t thinking of hiring him before, but now we are considering the possibility of making some room on the team.
Finding a job after you graduate from college is a job unto itself. The great news today? There are two jobs available for every person looking, so you can afford to be picky. Do your homework and ask a lot of questions while interviewing. Just as with anything in life, the best jobs will be the most desirable and competitive to get. Good luck!
Fred Taylor is a managing director and partner of Beacon Pointe Advisors’ Denver office. He helps individuals and families build wealth, live off their wealth and leave a legacy for future generations. A former economic advisor to Governor Bill Ritter, Fred has more than 35 years of financial services experience.