Tips & Advice: Nu @ the U
Nu Huynh, lead campus relations consultant, The Principal®
"Nu @ the U" is an advice column written for young professionals navigating the unknown waters of internship and career. Written by Nu Huynh, lead campus relations consultant at The Principal, the workplace column addresses the most timely and common questions received by the national recruiting staff of the Principal Financial Group.
Current Column: Job Searching in a Tough Economy
This is soooo my luck. The economy starts tanking right before I graduate. Should I hide out in grad school or just resign myself to a less-than-ideal job? --Cursed
Dear Cursed: I’ll agree that the timing is a bit of a bummer. Don’t give up hope, though. You can weather this economic squall with a little flexibility (and a lot of patience).
In other words, take the lemons that life has hurled in your direction and make lemonade.
First, my advice on grad school. Unless you’re in a field for which a graduate degree is a must-have, ditch the “hiding out in grad school” tactic. It could backfire by making you over-educated and under-experienced.
Now for the job search. You may not land your dream job at your dream company, so flexibility is key. Here’s my advice on three utterly plausible scenarios:
- No dream job at your dream company. Find another job that is available at your gotta-work-there company. When the economy turns around, your ideal job may open up again. And you’ll be there to grab it.
- No jobs at all (dream or otherwise) at your dream company. Look elsewhere for a position that will give you experience related to your ideal job. Then stay in contact with the recruiters at your dream company. When something opens up, you’ll be on their radar as a potential candidate. (Just don’t contact the recruiters so often that you’re on their radar as a potential stalker.)
- No jobs in your field. Period. This is not the time to be picky. Find a job that will help pay the bills, and then network, network, network. Get involved with professional organizations. Do some non-profit volunteer work in your field. Go to job fairs. Stay in touch with recruiters.
Regardless of economic ups-and-downs, employers won’t stop recruiting efforts entirely. They also have to network with potential employees so they’ll be well-positioned when the economy perks up again.
If you take the same approach, you’ll eventually reach your goals. In the meantime, make the most of that lemon beverage.
Nu Huynh is the lead campus relations consultant at the Principal Financial Group. She travels the country looking for the best and brightest recruits.