Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

RESUMES AND PORTFOLIOS for NEW GRADUATES: How to Showcase Potential

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

RESUMES AND PORTFOLIOS for NEW GRADUATES: How to Showcase Potential

Article excerpt

Millions of Americans, both fresh graduates and experienced job seekers, are struggling to find a job. However, despite the abundance of applicants, employers are struggling to find qualified candidates for job openings. Clearly, there's a disconnect between supply and demand. But where do fresh graduates stand in this massively unemployed economy?

How can they get a job, or at least get a chance to prove their worth, if most job advertisements require at least two years' experience - even for entry-level positions?

Ben, a fresh graduate from Utah, is a good example of the challenges graduates face while looking for their first real job after college. "... I graduated a year ago and still have not been able to land a fulltime job in the field I studied and have interned in. An internship I recently applied for, entry-level, was taken by an individual with 'years of experience,' or at least that is what the HR woman told me."

Even in the booming IT sector, some new graduates are hitting a dead end: "I am so desperate at this time. I just graduated with my BA in Management Information Systems and I cannot find a job. Every time I look at job vacancies they require at least 1-2 years' experience."

More and more employers are looking for fresh graduates with job experience, but they're not just looking for typical fast food, summer camp, and retail job history. Employers want skills, work experience, and results relevant to the job posting. In most cases, they prefer experienced candidates over new grads.

And if graduates with internship and job experience find it hard to secure good employment, how much more difficult will it be for those without relevant experience?

Employers Agree, a College Degree Isn't Enough Anymore

A 2012 survey sponsored by American Public Media's Marketplace and Chronicle of Higher Education revealed startling evidence about the practices of 50,000 employers hiring fresh college graduates.

This information may be upsetting or depressing for the new grads about to join the workforce, but it can be used by career professionals and resume writers to increase the success rate of their clients:

As many as 75 per cent of companies say they prefer candidates who have the following skills: problem solving, critical thinking, oral and written communications, and demonstrated ability to apply academic learning to the real world. And these are the skills new grads are lacking, at least according to the employers who participated in the survey.

As many as 78 per cent of the employers surveyed are open to considering applicants with any college major. Businesses in healthcare, science, and technology are more likely to look for candidates with a specific major, while those in retail and service industries are more flexible.

Internships (23 per cent) and job experience (21 per cent) while studying carry more weight than GPAs (8 per cent) and coursework (8 per cent). This is good news for students who worked their way through college, especially for students who were able to secure internships at companies that hire graduates who previously had internships at their organization.

Extra-curricular activities (10 per cent), especially those relevant to the graduate's degree, are considered more relevant than high GPAs (8 per cent). GPAs are starting to look overrated. Degrees from online colleges are also not viewed favorably, perhaps because employers think the coursework in these schools is not up to par with industry standards. Or maybe many of the softskills needed for today's successful leaders cannot be learned while sitting in front of a computer.

Employers are more likely to hire fresh graduates who can multi-task, manage competing priorities, and demonstrate technical skills relevant to their industry.

Turning the Tide: How Can We Showcase the Potential of Fresh Graduates?

Fresh graduates are competing not only with their classmates for the limited number of jobs available. …

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