How to Beat the Economic Doldrums
Straight from the dorm onto the street. This might seem to be the fate threatening college students graduating in our current economic doldrums. But there may be hope. There are methods for making yourself more appealing to potential employers. There are ways to manicure your resume; and there’s always the internship option. But you already knew that.
Here are some somewhat less conventional ways to avoid those unemployment lines after graduation.
1. Build a personal brand. This involves gaining experience, having concrete accomplishments, and establishing yourself as “somebody” in your job-market. It is closely intertwined with networking (see No. 3 below) because it requires that you figure out where the big-shots in your industry gather. Do they flock to the Twitterverse? Do they go to conventions? Building a personal brand necessitates that you answer these questions, do something noteworthy, and then go where the big-shots are to gain visibility.
2. Develop the Skills that Your Future Employer Needs. Ask yourself: “Do I have skills that a future boss would need?” If the answer is no, simply figure out what those skills are and develop them while in college. This is closely allied to No. 4 (start a small business) because there is no boot-camp like business to force you into obtaining new skills.
3. Network (Twitterize). In olden times, those who succeeded in life were those who had connections. This is still true today. Fortunately, today you don’t have to rely on an aristocratic pedigree: you can engineer a connection network via social media. In particular, Twitter is excellent for allowing you to meet and network with people you would never have met otherwise. In the Twitterverse you can rub elbows with the big-shots, who are much more accessible there than in any other context.
4. Start a Small Business. This has three advantages. First, it will build your character and work ethic. Second, it will prove to prospective employers that you won’t be dead weight. Third, it will force you to develop many skills that will prove attractive to employers. Concrete accomplishments are more impressive than beautiful resumes. Businesses want doers and go-getters. Entrepreneurship is a marker of these traits.