Young Americans find it increasingly difficult to secure a job and as a result, more and more individuals are choosing additional education over the job market. Despite the relative lack of opportunity, there are still some ways for younger workers to find the job they’re after.
As you can see from the chart above, the odds of a young person finding work has been declining gradually for more than a decade. Across the same time frame, more students are chosing to enroll in educational programs beyond high school. The unfortunate side effect of that is that more students are taking on higher levels of student loan related debts, and students graduating college with less work experience.
So if you want to avoid the debt or improve your resume – or even if you really just need the job and any money you can get your hands on – the declining rates of youth work should be a reminder that you’ll have to use some advanced strategies to get hired.
Utilize traditional online and offline searches
For the longest time, the local newspaper’s help wanted section would adequately serve as a first and last stop for all your employment needs. While its still a great place to start looking for opportunities, it is far from being a comprehensive listing of the jobs available in your area.
In addition to the newspaper hiring section, be sure to check out similar online service that let you search through a web-based databse of open positions and hiring companies. Post Your Resume FREE to Job.com and get found by employers hiring in your industry and location. You can search through local job opportunities, but even if you don’t find one that is just right, you can leave your resume behind so future employers still know who you are and where to find you.
Let your social network know
Anytime you’re looking for a job, make sure all of your family and friends knows about your goal. If they know you’re searching, they can try to keep an ear open at their own jobs and let you know as soon as a new position opens up. Not only will you have a head start on the other applicants, you’ll even have someone who works for the company who is willing to vouch for you. Well… hopefully they will.
Of course, Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace are all extensions of your social network, so be sure to drop a status update – just don’t spam your friends non-stop every day that you haven’t been handed a job yet!
Check with your school
Many high schools and colleges have their own placement services – they work directly with employers and students to find the right employment matches. Work and school doesn’t have to be an either/or choice, because they’re two things that actually work best together.
Whether it is at the school’s career center or an annual school-hosted job fair, your educators do actually want to help you find a job. There just might not be enough to go around, so don’t rely on this one method or any other.
Be persistent, patient, and don’t say no!
It can be pretty frustrating to send out a dozen resumes and not even hear so much as a rejection in return. With so many applicants looking and so few positions available, its an unfortunate reality that most human resources managers won’t have time to personally reply to everyone who has been passed over.
While you have to keep getting those applications and resumes out there before waiting to hear a yes or no from the last place you inquired, it is still a good idea to send some kind of followup a few business days after your information is likely to be received. If you sent the first email on a Monday, you might want to send a follow-up on Friday: if originally sent on a Friday, then send a follow-up call or email in the middle of the next week.
And when you finally do get an offer, whatever you do, don’t turn it down because the job sounds horrible! Most jobs are horrible, especially the ones you get when you don’t have any experience. If you’re not willing to clean up the floors and take out the trash, then you’re never going to get a chance to learn the business and move up to more technical responsibilities. So even if the job does sound absolutely horrible, give it a shot! You might just have great employees and a quick chance for promotion – and if it is as bad as you imagined it would be, you can still keep looking for a new gig.
So try to stay positive and keep looking – the odds of finding a job might be low these days, but someone is going to get the few positions that do open up and you can help your odds of being that person if you’re willing to try a little harder and stand above the crowd.