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6 pieces of job advice for new grads

If you're a new employee -- or are looking to be hired -- these tips can help you start building your career.

By MSN Money Partner May 23, 2013 1:41PM

This post comes from Lindsay Olson at U.S. News & World Report.

USN logoIf your child has recently graduated from college and is now looking for -- or has hopefully found -- her first "real" job, you may want to impart great wisdom to her. It's a difficult time for an inexperienced worker to enter the workforce, but these tips can help make the entry easier and better align her expectations with reality.

Office workers © Jupiterimages, Brand X Pictures, Getty ImagesFord R. Myers, the author of "Get the Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring," offers the following business truths to new grads:

1. The most qualified candidate does not necessarily get the job offer. Having been in the workforce for a while, you know that hiring isn't always fair and based on merit. What better time to learn that lesson than as a new grad?

Tell your kids it takes more than just a well-qualified résumé to get hired. According to Myers, "the candidate who will get the job is the one who self-markets and demonstrates to the employer that she is the best fit for the company's needs, problems and challenges."

2. Research is the route to success. Getting a job is sometimes a little like all those exams your grad is happy to leave behind. Hiring managers want to know that a candidate has done her research on the company and industry. Reading press releases, the company website, industry websites and blogs and even social media profiles can help your job seeker find out what this company is all about, and its recent success.

3. Networking is more important than you think. It's all too easy to discount the importance of networking, especially for 20-somethings. But as more seasoned employees know, networking often opens doors to jobs that aren't even advertised. A simple, casual conversation can end with your grad sending her résumé to a key decision-maker at a company, making it easier for her to score her first job.

Myers suggests: "Adopt the discipline of blocking out time on your calendar for networking activities -- now and for the duration of your career."

4. An employer's offer is never the best offer. Most grads will simply be happy to get any job offer, especially knowing how bad the economy is. But encourage your child to push for more. Do the research to find out what this position typically pays in your area, with her level of experience. Companies usually make an offer with some wiggle room, since they're willing to negotiate for the right candidate. They never revoke the job offer simply if the candidate asks for a little more, even if its first offer is the best one. Plus, most employers expect you to negotiate, Myers says.

5. Graduating from school is the beginning of your education, not the end. Try to impart to your grad that while the grades are over, the learning process is just beginning. To stay hireable and qualify for promotions and raises, an employee has to stay current on her knowledge of tools and the industry. The good news is: College graduates' brains are still malleable, and it's easy for them to learn new skills quickly, making them more appealing to employers.

Encourage your grad to read books, blogs and magazines about her industry, attend conferences and workshops, and find a mentor who can help bring her up to speed on the topics she needs to know about.

6. It takes time. She'll be chomping at the bit to start working in the field she's spent so much time studying and reading about, but tell her to be patient. The job market is still rocky, and many employers prefer to hire more experienced workers. In the meantime, your grad can volunteer to get more experience, take on an internship or start building her online brand through blogging and social media use. "Competition for top jobs is fiercer than ever as new college graduates compete with seasoned professionals for the best positions. It is important for these 'up-and-comers' to have 20/20 vision when it comes to seeing the truths about obtaining employment," Myers says.

More from U.S. News & World Report:


Jun 9, 2013 8:35PM
Forget about college education and degree: never stop working on what you like, and invest your time on it even if it means to drive away from your degree or field. Working for somebody is not the solution.
Jun 9, 2013 9:59PM
One issue here. You should not take on an unpaid internship after college or outside of an institutional educational setting. If one is offered to you, you should immediately report said company to the labor department. It is illegal for the company to not pay you if you are not receiving school credit. This happens all the time in the film industry.

Also, word of caution for those that would go to college: only a handful of degrees are actually worth it from a monetary standpoint. The rest are rackets. Especially the arts. If you want to go into the arts, all the info you need is online to teach yourself. Other than that- DO IT! This is the ONLY way to learn your artistic craft. Art should be an apprentice/master paradigm. Find a good mentor. But DO NOT WASTE MONEY ON SCHOOL (4 yr institution. Junior Colleges and workshops can be good for learning artistic techniques)!!! Unless it's science/business based. Even then. Do your research. College is a tool, not the ONLY tool. And sometimes it's the WORST tool (and sometimes the best).
Jun 9, 2013 10:07PM
One caveat with my college caveat. If you have had some modicum of success and know the basics of your craft a well connected program can help you to make connections. The experienced ones are the top students who can actually use what 4 year institutions provide which is the possibility to make connections. But you have to already know the basics and have some experience to make use of those connections.
Also, if you have a job that requires a degree to move up the chain of command and you can reasonably assume that a job will be there when you get out, go for it.
 I would never suggest you 'just' go to a 4 year institution to do it. Especially right out of high school. Know what you want from college or stay away for your financial sanity's sake. 
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