by Rachel Vilsack

Recent reports on college graduates’ prospects in the job market are grim. Unemployment and underemployment of graduates rose during the Great Recession and continue to remain high. In 2012, Minnesota teens and young adults had the highest unemployment rates at 18.6 percent for teens (age 16 to 19) and 7.7 percent for young adults (age 20 to 24) according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics analysis (pdf).


If you are a new college graduate looking for your first job, here are some tips to speed up your search:

  1. Prepare an elevator speech. You’ll probably be at a lot of graduation parties over the next month, so why not be prepared to give a 30-second pitch for your core strengths, job goal, and new degree. You can even end your elevator speech by asking for advice. I bet you’ll get a lot of great tips.
  2. Build your network. Whether you’re talking to your family and friends or reaching out to professors, school career centers, or alumni networks, get out there and meet people. Share your career interests and ask for referrals. Consider setting up an informational meeting with an organization you admire or with someone who shares your professional passion.
  3. Take your network online. Do you have a LinkedIn profile? You should. Nine out of 10 employers will use social networks to recruit job applicants, and LinkedIn is the most popular. Think of it as an online resume, where you can post your past job experience, internships, volunteer experiences, and – of course – your new college degree. Plus you can connect to your former classmates (who have profiles) and any new networking connections.
  4. Contact potential employers. Don’t stop with networking! Get out there and contact potential employers. They might even have unadvertised job openings.


I hope these tips keep you out of this year’s unemployment statistics!


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