The Old College Try

Has anyone ever told you to give something “the old college try”? What does that even mean? I know the expression is used to ask someone to give it their all or to try their best, but why not give it “the old high school” or “pre-school” try?

Personally, I’m finding some irony in this expression right now. In 2012, 53% of college graduates were unemployed or underemployed. You can give college many tries over but still not land yourself a job after graduating.

We’ve established it is not an ideal time to get out of college and into the job market. So what does this mean? You need to work harder and smarter to get a job and manage your career. By the way, this goes for everyone and not just college graduates.

What does it mean to work harder and smarter? First, get clear about what you are after. If you have clarity of purpose, others will see it. Second, get out and talk to people about your career purpose (and use social media to push the message out). If you don’t share it, no one will know it’s there. Third, shake it up. Try something different in your job search other than online application. Try a new approach. There is always another avenue whether it be interning, volunteering or trying to find a mentor.

The only person who is going to make this happen is you. Keep at it. Although college is not producing the results it used to (guaranteed employment in a field of interest), that does not mean it will not happen. This is where perseverance and grit pay off. If college didn’t give you what you expected, you still need to give it “the old college try.” Keep working at it and you will see results.

Stats Rule

I love statistics. It makes things that feel murky appear tangible.  They provide a foundation for my actions and help me think about things logically.

Here’s a stat for you.  Only 4-10% of job seekers find their job through an online search.

Yes, you read that correctly. Out of every 100 job seekers, only 4 to 10 of you will land jobs through an online application.

Now wait just one minute here.  Am I trying to tell you that those 100+ mind-numbing hours of eye-bleeding Internet searching were in vain?  Well, yes and no.

Your time spent online should give you a sense of what jobs you like and want to pursue. You can also use this information to gather data about the organizations and companies that are hiring and have jobs in your area of interest.

However, you need to make connections through people.  Jobs are won and lost through people and not machines.  So take those next 100 hours, use the data you’ve collected and reach out to as many people as you can through LinkedIn, email, phone, friends or any other means you can think of.

If you are going to do this, spend your time effectively. Don’t bank on being one of the 4-10. Instead, be one of the 90+ people who find their jobs through people.

You never know who is out there waiting to connect you to the next job.