What They Didn't Teach You: Tech Tips and Tools for New Grads
After approximately four years of lectures, exams, essays, and a thesis that never seemed to end, you've just received a diploma from someone in a robe and been ceremoniously kicked off campus.
You're leaving college with an exhaustive knowledge of particle physics or China's nuclear policy or the roundels of Algernon Charles Swinburne...but you have only a foggy idea of how to thrive in the "real world."
And while an in-depth conversation about the state of post-Marxist literary theory poses no problem, moving to a new city, finding a decent job, and scoring the perfect apartment all seem vaguely impossible.
What the Career Center Failed to Mention
Almost exactly one year ago, I was in a post-graduation haze wondering exactly how to accomplish those things--and escape the horrifying prospect of moving back to my old bedroom in New Jersey. Unfortunately, while commencement speeches brimmed with clichés about how to find happiness, nobody mentioned that Craigslist is a godsend for more than just cheap furniture, nor did anyone offer tips on what kinds of technology could make finding a job dramatically easier, or on how to subsist on a shoestring budget.
So after you've done that last keg stand (for now) and finished staring in disbelief at your stack of student loans, rest assured that a few uncomplicated tech tricks and a heap of Websites can help make you look like a pro at all of that grownup stuff.
Three unpaid internships, stellar recommendations, and an impressive GPA were supposed to guarantee anyone a post-graduation job...and then the economy fell to pieces.
BusinessWeek reports that the unemployment rate for people under 25 years old is at 19.6 percent--a record high since 1948, when the Department of Labor began recording such figures. On the upside...well, at least nobody broke the Internet.
After university job boards, general search sites are the first stop for many unemployed graduates. They aren't all created equal.
With its intuitive design and simple layout, the vertical search engine Indeed is among the best job search sites. For one-stop job hunting, the site aggregates results from large job boards, employer sites, newspaper listings, and other sources--enabling you to spend less time searching and more time applying. You can filter the extensive results, and they take you directly to the original posting.
Be sure to check out the tools section for useful search extras such as the Indeed Mapplet--which allows you to view job searches geographically on Google Maps--and set up e-mail alerts. You can also find aggregate job trend information, including competition based on geographical market (goodbye Miami, Detroit, and Las Vegas; hello, Washington, Baltimore, and San Jose!) and industry trends.
Though Indeed catches postings from sites like YahooJobs and CareerBuilder, it doesn't pull from Craigslist. With a design stuck in 1996, Craigslist can be a frustrating site to search, and scams are an ever-present danger; but it remains the Web's largest classified service, and it's often the only place where companies bother to post their openings. Browse multiple categories and set up an RSS reader with a couple of different search settings--it's the easiest way to sift through the madness and keep it all in one place.
Even though metasearches like Indeed, LinkUp, and Simply Hired are improving rapidly, don't ignore industry-specific sites. New grads looking to break into the nonprofit world have a wonderful resource in Idealist.org, while technology professionals can check out the job boards and the latest industry news at Dice. Try Net-Temps for temporary work and CoolWorks for seasonal and nontraditional jobs.
Regardless of your specific site preferences, you can accelerate your searches and become better organized by using job search apps on your smartphone, receiving e-mail alerts, and automating your searches.
Next up: Vamp up your résumé and update your tech