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    April 26th, 2009

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    Survival of the New Grad

    Already end of April, college and university examinations are almost over and pretty soon, a new crop of graduates will be let loose into the cruel real world, facing a bleak future. Studies showed, there can be long-lasting adverse effects on those who graduate during a recession.

    According to an article “I wiil survive”, from McMaster Times, McMaster University of Hamilton, Ontario, new grads should change the way they look at this new reality.

    For those having to make drastic changes, beware that during recessions, alcohol abuse, emotional and family tensions register in higher rates of personal and family problems. Professional and personal transitional support, specific career transitional help and learning stress management techniques are key.

    People need to change their expectations and be creative about their job hunt. Expert advised, “know who you are, your passions and strengths.” During an interview, “if you understand the environment and have emotional intelligence about it, you’ll blow them away if you can show how structured and forward thinking you are, and if you can demonstrate passions and strenghts that can help them in this downturn.”

    Don’t panic. “The economy will recover, but you need to think about new areas of interest and new ways in which the skills that you have can be used somewhere else. Social sciences graduates, for example, end up with a set of very portable skills, such as writing, research, analytics and measurement, but often these grads don’t actually appreciate how portable their skills are, and that they can be applied to multiple settings.”

    For those about to graduate, may be their best choice is to stay in school and wait out the recession. Stay in for another year or continue to graduate work. “Or at least have that in your back pocket and if you get a job can always turn down the acceptance or do it part-time.”

    Remaining positive and viewing your situation as a platform for next steps will be crucial in this time of upheaval. Increase your chance of getting a job by “having networking cards on hand, with your name, contact information, degree and area of expertise; take advantage of chance meetings and don’t underestimate the power of weak links, because someone you have even a loose connection to has an entirely different set of information and contacts. You don’t necessarily need to be talking to CEOs to get a job, you just need to be trusted by someone they trust and that could be their child, their haridresser or even their neighbours.” “Build a directory of employers to apply to, because you will have a much better chance of getting a job with a company that is not posting a vacancy than with one that is.”

    (excerpts from the spring issue of McMaster Times)