Degree but No Job? Here’s What You’re Doing Wrong.

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You just got your sheepskin and you sent out a ton of resumes. But instead of the phone ringing with calls for interviews, it’s the sound of crickets at sundown. Or maybe you were lucky enough to be called in for a few interviews, but no callbacks, no job. So what’s up? Some clues:


Wrong Resume Strategy. You’re not applying for an internship or part time job at Starbucks. This is the start of a career and employers want to know what you bring to the table. "Don't send out any resumes that simply list your courses, the degree you've earned, and your part-time and summer jobs," says career expert Liz Ryan in an article from the NY Daily News. "Use this opportunity to make a stronger statement about what you want to do with your adult life." And according to Jay Block, author of 101 Best Ways to Land a Job in Troubled Times, younger job seekers often haven't thought about what they have to offer an employer (as opposed to what they want to get from one).


Wrong Internet Strategy. What worked on Facebook to connect with friends and family won’t cut it in your career search and connecting with the right people. As a new grad, you must learn to use today’s online professional networking tools, advises Tory Johnson, CEO of Women For Hire and author of Fired to Hired. These tools aren't "sexy like Facebook or Twitter -- but [they're] the best resource for getting names and building a professional identity." Join Nexxt or LinkedIn and build a professional profile. Join groups in your college and career fields. Post articles and respond to those posted by others in your field. Reach out to fellow group members for information and guidance. Use Facebook wisely by reconnecting with friends who have graduated a year or so ahead of you—and are working. Seek their advice and referrals to hiring managers at their firm.


Wrong Interview Strategy. Schedule several informational interviews to gain insights into your chosen career field and what employers, recruiters and HR managers are looking for. Seek and follow their advice about your resume, your interviewing skills and suggestions for finding a job. Thank these people in writing and keep them abreast of your progress.


Wrong Ramp-Up Strategy. As a college grad, your jobs at Starbucks and Target may not be enough to convince employers you can hit the ground running as a full time salaried employee. So consider an internship, especially if your chosen field calls for one to get up to speed.


The right job search strategy can land you a job, one that gets your career off to a rolling start.


Image courtesy of num_skyman/



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  • Yvonne myrick
    Yvonne myrick
    I think you hit the nail on the head.  Thaank you for the insite.
  • Kirby D
    Kirby D
    Since just recently laid off, I appreciate the advice that is sent: it is informative and useful.
  • Pam R.
    Pam R.
    It seems the older worker is being lost in the mix. I am an older worker who has driven a school bus for 25 years plus have had PT jobs to fill in the hours. I started driving so I could be with my children more after my divorce. Once they were grown went to college and got a degree but since then have not been able to open any doors so still am driving. Feel very frustrated and am in debt for school.
  • barbara g
    barbara g
    oh, it all sounds like alot of work. i am over 50 and a string of different fields. Many i would have loved to keep but politics and economy have both wrecked my career.  i just do not know which way to go now.  
  • Susan B
    Susan B
    this is fine for recent grad but how about something for people in the workforce but want to improve the employment situation but do not have an advanced degree just plenty of valuable in the field experience.
  • Stephanie S
    Stephanie S
    Good article.  How about looking at the mature worker that changes careers or moves in a different direction and is now branded in doing one thing only?
    I am 59---what about my strategy???
  • Travis L.
    Travis L.
    Thanks for the tips but it seems to be the same old tired strategies you see at every place site.  I'm in the same boat as some of the other posters.  I was laid off with numerous years of experience in a technical field.  I have retrained in the medical field ending in another degree (that makes three) and still not able to find employment.  I do not want to say that it is because of my age, 43, but it seems to point in that direction.  I know I am over qualified for most of the positions I apply for but my experience in the new field dictates that I apply to them.  I also get the feeling that being new to the area is handicapping me as well.  Before moving I did work in the field for a few months and found out that I had more management experience and qualifications than my supervisor.  This was told to me during my exit interview by the department director.  Why do I tell you this?  Not to brag but to support the notion that the hiring managers are afraid that I am going for their jobs so, I, and those like me, are pushed aside without even being considered.  So, how do those of us that are in this situation not only get the first interview but actually get hired?  I just want to work.  I'll do my time in the trenches.  I just can't get the opportunity to tell employers this.As a side note my resume and cover letter have been professional done, again.  They have been tailored to my new career path.  Computers are not a problem.  I know several systems and learn new things very quickly.  So the question goes back to how do I get that first interview when my resume intimidates those that are not confident in their own abilities?
  • Miriam K
    Miriam K
    Handwritten thank you notes to everyone who interviewed you is a must.unemployment is tough but it is critical to stay positive. And remember these posts are gratis:)
  • Terence D
    Terence D
    This information is highly useful. However, as the previous blogger suggests, I am older, with a lot of years experience and I am either underquailified or overqualified. And most employers want someone now that will committ to thier organization long term for short money. And I can't accept anything, because I have real bills.
  •  Morris C
    Morris C
    Informative but I wonder what I must do to get a career not just a little job with my abilities which frankly are moronic most of the time. When I was in college, I applied myself and graduated with mostly average grades but I don't know how to convince my mom that employers aren't all that interested in people who struggle to feed, water and take care of the litter for their cats. Employers don't want lazy people like me that have to be constantly supervised and pushed to get a lot done. I do a lot of work in a day but I usually require more hours a sleep to get going again and after years of study outside my comfort zone I am trying to find a way to comfort and soften my head and still look great and professional to go back to work. I just thought in a typical day I might clean up, get a hair cut, attend mental therapy, go get a prescription  from a pharmacy, walk home and clean a kitchen floor and pick up after myself and at the same time answer phone calls from love ones or business professionals. I know work got much harder and more stressful for full independence. But thank goodness, I have a rich mom to soften the blows, I just don't have a way to survive after she is dead unless grace returns to me and I find a way to stay that way with the help of friends. Friends can really help in time of need but I survive with the help of disability income where the plus side is people in my family are beginning to realize I am not crazy but a little depressed. And that I am smart I just need to focus and find a way to go back to work once I do something with my profile of obesity and lack of a job skills. Most of my clerical skills got replaced by the computer so I need to look for those jobs that don't require savvy or complicated computer skills. Once again thanks for your help.
  • Glen D
    Glen D
    That is all well and good for a person starting their careers.  I am middle aged and have 17 years experience and I'm under or over qualified for the job I just want to work and I don't want to threaten the person by being qualified to take their position. I just want to pay my mortgage and keep my home
  •  namita c
    namita c
    3 months i am searching for a ministry job. because i finished Bachelor of Divinity course. i have also primary teachers training & 5 years teaching experiences. so in internate i applyed but now also i am not finding any suitable job. i am very needy for a job. i think everythings are wrong in internate. i am not believe now.
  • Rebeca T
    Rebeca T
    I have an MD degree from Dominican Republic but I don't have boards yet. Need to go find a job urgently because I've tried to pass the USMLE and is hasn't been possible for me. Need to repay my loans so I need a job now.
  • Porshia B
    Porshia B
    I really like what was said in this article. I am looking to make a career change. I am a licensed massage therapist and it just haven't been working for me. I have a lot of drive and I feel working as a massage therapist is not going to take me to my destination. I have came across commission only paying positions in this field. I am currently 2 weeks into earning a BS Business Administration. I want to open my own spa, but no so much anymore. I primarily want to be the one in charge. I feel like I'm at stand still. I am currently unemployed with numerous past jobs and gaps. Is there any material you suggest I read to help me out of this situation?
  • Kyle H
    Kyle H
    I could really use some hands on help here with my resume, not sure what to do anymore. I am not having any good fortune here due to my age and lack of special skills. Please help!!!
  • Kathryn Reinitz V
    Kathryn Reinitz V
    The older who have recently finished undergrad or graduate training while working, going to school full time, and some of them being single parents.  How do we get help?
  • Victor B
    Victor B
    I'm getting some phone interviews where the recruiters are finding my resume on this site but i haven't gotten any job offers.
  • Leila Torres D
    Leila Torres D
    Alex, thank you so much for  your insight.  I cover these topics with my pending graduates on a monthly basis.   Will now post this in my department to back up what is being shared in class.
  • Amtul Z
    Amtul Z
    some times all those strategies that you mention here still don't work. I have tried almost all of them. now my degree is several years old and I did not found the job that I wanted to do even though I had completed a work term during my program. I had to work to survive and accept any job that I can get.
  • Donna D
    Donna D
    I am not a new grad, but I live in an area where my degree has challenges. I have found this article to be useful and will use it as a resources in future employment strategies. Thank you
  • Clifford S
    Clifford S
    There are still no strategies for the elderly (60), educated, and physically fit individuals.
  • Mary Y
    Mary Y
    There is  a lot of information out there about being over 50 and looking for work. Any new thoughts on overcoming age discrimination in the employment world?
  • TOM A
    TOM A
    This only targets new grads,what about experienced grads who are also seeking employment?
  • Carlos A
    Carlos A
    I have my deggree in Health Sciences, just finished it,in January 2013, very hard to find a job, everybody want's experienced people, but how can I get the experience I they don't let me work.I also have a degree as a Pharmacy Technician, I can not even find one job in my city. It is kind of dissapointing having studied all this time and not be able to find a job.

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