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Tips for college graduates looking for a job

June 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's graduation time for college seniors which means it's also time to look for a job. But statistics show that in this economy employers are hiring fewer college graduates this year.

Having a degree is no guarantee that you'll find a job, at least not right away.

"I've been applying about four jobs per day now for the last month and a half, very difficult getting a call back," said Theo Minassian, an accounting grad from California State University, Los Angeles.

While it's a tough job market, Brandi Britton, district president with the staffing firm Robert Half International, says college grads have a lot going for them.

"Unemployment for college graduates is actually only 4.5 percent, so if you've got a college degree it's a lot better for those individuals," said Britton.

But even with a diploma, she says you've got to be ready for the job interview. Recent studies show employers are looking beyond your diploma and are likely to ask some common questions in the interview, such as what are your strengths and weaknesses? Would you know how to answer it?

Saying you don't have any weaknesses is not the answer employers want to hear.

If you don't think you're prepared, you might want to try a temp agency to help you get started. It's a terrific way to build a resume and learn what a company is looking for at the same time.

"We have access to positions that maybe are not broad-based or are out there on the Internet. And so it's a great place to get a foot in the door and improve yourself so you can become a full-time employee," said Britton.

An agency doesn't charge for its services and can help not only with the interview but with resumes and cover letters too. Another source is your college career center.

But remember, you have to treat looking for a job like it's a full-time job.

One more bit of advice: job seekers should rehearse their responses to common interview questions, but they should also be able to think quickly on their feet so they can best answer whatever a hiring manager may ask.