For years, we have all assumed our children will be prepared for the cold, hard reality of life after school, especially in the job-search arena. Sadly, most graduates are thrust into the world woefully under-equipped and ill-prepared for what they need to do in securing that first position.
In my 40+ years working as a Human Resources/Outplacement specialist, dealing with over 3,000 clients, I have seen countless examples of graduates (and job seekers in general) who are not able to perform even the most basic tasks in securing employment.
Consider this: the “cover” letter is the first thing an employer sees. If it isn’t clear and well organized, there is little incentive to look at the resumé. However, in this age of texting, emoticons, abbreviations, and other “shortcuts,” many of today’s job seekers can’t compose a decent cover letter. Some don’t know enough to include one with their resumé. Plus, many of these letters haven’t been proofed. They are poorly organized and contain errors in grammar and include irrelevant content. These are just a few problems that plague the letters sent by job-seekers today.
What we need is someone to really EDUCATE our graduates as to what they should be doing to get that job after graduation. I mean going back and emphasizing the basics of correspondence etiquette and protocol that many of us were lucky to have learned years ago. It’s now regarded as a lost art!
When I work with a client, we go over just what needs to be done, aside from having a good resumé. We work on cover letters, follow-up correspondence, timing — things that will set candidates apart from the herd and show an employer that they are worthy of consideration.
Another area in which many job-seekers fall down? Filling out of applications. While today’s applications are mostly electronic and can have limitations and/or glitches, they, nonetheless, have to be filled out as completely and accurately as possible. With limited space and choices for “filling in a blank,” I have worked with clients to make sure that their application will not be kicked out or disregarded because of incompleteness.
If our young people include some of the job search essentials I’ve mentioned, today’s college graduates will let their light shine by presenting themselves as viable candidates with the potential to be productive employees.
This is my Grown-up Christmas Wish…
Craig Pelnar is the owner of COG (Counseling and Outplacement Group, LLC), which provides employment services and life coaching. Whether it’s assisting adults with career changes or counseling pre and post grads with job searches, some of Craig’s services include: developing/improving communication skills, interview practice and techniques, resumé assistance, getting and restoring self-confidence, going back to school, proofreading/editing/writing and more. To see all of Craig’s services and/or to contact him, see cogllc.biz.