Q: I am getting very frustrated, Jill. I must own about five job interview preparation books, I’ve attended countless career coaching sessions and I also got assistance putting my resumé together at a place you mentioned in one of your previous columns. I know it’s good because I’ve been on many interviews over the past three months. I just cannot get hired! I am a recent graduate but not that recent. I’m 23 years old, I’ve got loans to pay back for my business education and I’m really frustrated. What am I doing wrong?
A: Thank you for writing in, Saveh. Frankly it does sound like you are doing everything right, but the job interviews you are getting just aren’t turning into job offers. I’m going to take the chance and share with you a few avenues you might look into — granted you haven’t already.
I would personally request a meeting with someone with experience either in your field who might be able to act as a mentor or someone who can connect you with internship in your area. I suggest doing an internship because often once you get in it can be easier to get hired internally than as the average Joe applying through the normal process.
You’ve been very brave in sharing your personal frustrations with me, but have you taken as direct of an approach with your network of friends and family? I would suggest you create an eyes and ears e-mail. Essentially, you are creating an e-mail that outlines your skills, experience and the types of jobs you’d like to be considered for. Now you aren’t sending them your resumé (unless they ask for it). This is more of an informal e-mail request for them to keep their eyes and ears open for any position they think you might be interested in. Don’t be afraid to ask for help — they all had to at one time or another too!
Cold calling is another option. Yes, it may seem like an antiquated technique, but it’s tried and certainly still true. It takes a lot of research, but study your industry and create a wish list of companies you’d like to work for. Once complete, start making contact with them via phone and even in person if you can. Your goal is to request information interviews, where you can learn about the company up close and personal and informally pitch yourself as someone they should consider in the future. Keep all the contacts you make during this process organized and revisit them via e-mail or phone every month or two.
Joining an association may also help your job search. Many industry associations have discounted rates for students and/or recent graduates. You might want to consider joining a group and volunteering for a position on their board. Again, this gives you experience in a large organization — not to mention the networking opportunities with those from all corporate levels. The one catch with associations is don’t join if you don’t have time to attend most of the meetings because you’ll never see any results.
Saveh, I really hope at least one of these suggestions was one you hadn’t tried. Don’t give up and I really do wish you luck.
Jill Andrew — CYW, BA, BA (Hons.), BEd. Please include your full name, address and telephone number when e-mailing. All letters are subject to publication.