The future! It scares me!

<p>Hi parents. I'm not a parent by the way...</p>

<p>This particular question doesnt belong in this forum, but I need some word of advice. And who can give me better advice than parents? I'm sure atleast some of you have experience (or rather your child) on my issue here. I've already posted this on the relevant forum, but additional advice from a different audience wont hurt. </p>

<p>I'm going to be a senior next year, so it is natural for me to start thinking about post-graduation. My main concern is finding a job after I graduate. And I would like to know your opinions on my prospects. Given this economy, although it has slightly improved since 2009, I guess I'm getting a little...nervous about the future.</p>

<p>As I said before, I will be a senior (class of '11) at the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor, majornig in Sociology. I understand that my major is not one of the the most appealing/practical ones out there (compared to engineering, economics...etc). My GPA is 3.3. </p>

<p>Currently I am interning at a large Marketing firm (over 7000 employees) and hope to stay in this field. This is my ONLY internship experience, however I have held other volunteering positions, jobs..etc. I dont have many connections though...So I dont have an uncle that can get me a job on the spot. I believe that my resume is solid, and my interviewing skills are as well. </p>

<p>So the question I have for you is...if you were a company, would you hire me? Or atleast give my resume a second look before throwing it in the trash? Also, when would be a good time to start applying for jobs? Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.</p>

<p>I understand that this is a lot to ask on such lack of info, but I would really appreciate ANYTHING relevant to my issue.</p>

<p>Think of me as your son. Give me some word of wisdom.</p>

<p>Thanks!</p>

<p>Trust me, people do want to hire Michigan grads. Make very good use of the career services there- the people are excellent. Read their blog- they have some recent entries on what you should ALREADY be doing during your internship (more than what the boss tells you to do). Remember that Michigan has one of the largest alumni networks.</p>

<p>Do expect to take a while to find a job, regardless of when you start. Recent statistics have it that only 25% of seniors graduated with a job offer in hand (down from 50% or something like that 2 years ago). Comfort yourself that many of your peers will be in the same position as you.</p>

<p>You said you're in sociology. Do you have any quantitative skills? Employers are really looking for those. Take a peek around Idealist.org and see what kind of skills employers are looking for and build on them during your senior year.</p>

<p>If you were my kid, I would teach you about networking.</p>

<p>Make a list of everyone you know who is at all, in any way, connected with the world of work. Your uncle. Your profs in any field. Your friends. your dad's accountant. your clergyman. Whomever. These are your primary networking contacts.</p>

<p>Call each one. Tell them that you are in a job search and need advice. If it is geographically possible, set up a face to face meeting to do this. If not, make an appt for a phone discussion. Send them your resume, just so they have a better idea of your background.</p>

<p>Do NOT ask them for a job. Do NOT ask them if they know someone who has a job opening. Do talk to them about the fields you are interested in. Ask for info (as you are doing here) ask them if they like what they do, etc. Ask them what fields/industries they think you should look at given your background and the state of things today. And then, if they have not already offered it, ask them for the names of people who might be able to offer more advice, might know about whats going in a field (esp the fields you are interested in). Try to get at least 3 names. Ask if you can use their name when contacting these people (usually folks will say yes)</p>

<p>Record, later, on a piece of paper the info they gave you, but most importantly the three names. Now, in addition to your list of primary contacts, you have a list of secondary contacts. When you call THESE people, you will say "So and So suggested I contact you to give me more info about field X". When you meet/talk with them, tell them something about the mutual friend. Then proceed as above, with the goal of gaining info, letting them know about you and your quals, and getting 3 MORE contacts. </p>

<p>3 becomes 9, 9 becomes 27, 27 becomes 81 soon you will have more names to contact than you have time. </p>

<p>At some point one of those folks wont give you names - they will cut you off with an offer for an interview or something like that. Hopefully.</p>

<p>BTW, if you are a really good sociologist, you can think through why this approach is good, and how to focus on the most promising directions.</p>

<p>I think I just posted this exact thread, down to the GPA and impractical social science major. Obviously I'm as stumped as you are, so no advice here, but good luck!</p>

<p>Don't forget to network with fellow students... they might come across opportunities that don't match their majors/experience, and pass them on to you. Or they might know someone who has an opportunity. When I graduated from college (University of Michigan, in fact!) I mentioned to my dad that my best friend's boyfriend was having trouble finding a job. He was an engineering student who was very smart, good grades, and a super nice guy. But very shy, didn't interview well. My dad told his friend who worked in sales at a local manufacturing firm, and his friend said they were always looking for good engineers. They hired him, and he has worked there happily for over 25 years now.</p>

<p>I agree with ticklemepink that quanitative skills help, and if you can squeeze in more classwork in that area in your senior year, do so.</p>

<p>Get on LinkedIn and make sure you link up with anyone you have met via your internship or volunteer opportunities, too. It makes it easier to contact them later when you are seriously job hunting.</p>

<p>Thanks for your advice.</p>

<p>hmmm I knew networking was part of job hunting but I never knew it was a critical part...I guess i'm a waste of a sociology degree..even after taking a class called...uhh NETWORK ANALYSIS last year. And as for LinkedIn, been there done that. </p>

<p>I would also like some advice on the chances of getting a job given the state of the economy. I've been poking around the internet for some job market predictions for the class of 2011 based on future economic prospects..but no dice. There's just not much info on it yet.</p>

<p>"hmmm I knew networking was part of job hunting but I never knew it was a critical part..."</p>

<p>reasons to network </p>

<p>A. many jobs are filled informally, not through ads, recruiters, etc.
B. The jobs that are filled through the more formal channels, will be more likely to require experience, a specific degree, etc. networking can be a way around the weed out requirements
C. Even if you are doing lots of response to ads, etc you will likely have time when you have no ads to respond to, and this can add some activity. Probably a more valuable use of time than cold calling.
D. The asking for information isnt just an excuse to talk to someone, you can sometimes get good info. Probably not much from your primary contacts, but once you begin to hit networking gold, you will find some folks who know much more thats relevant to you than people here.</p>

<p>Did you read Harry Potter? remember Prof Slughorn? Real people like that exist, who live for networking, putting contacts together etc. (or at least they did not too long ago) Not all are as snobbish about it. They are often consultants, lawyers, heads of trade associations, academics, etc, etc. At some point one of your secondary contacts will suggest you contact Mr Obnoxious Network Hub (because, after all, so many people know Mr Obnoxious Network Hub, and they also know he knows lots of people) When you meet with Mr Obnoxious Network Hub (and he will like the fact that you are networking, he BELIEVES in it) the main challenge will be to make sure he understands what you are interested in, and focuses his referrals in that area. Hopefully you wont encounter him too early, before you know what it is you want.</p>

<p>Watch "The Graduate". It's a must see movie for every graduating senior.</p>

<p>Constable, glad to hear that you are on LinkedIn already!! I recall last year a student who was job hunting and posting about it on CC. He was unsure who to ask to link with him... I think he thought it was sort of like Facebook, and he was reluctant to link with older people or people he had not socialized with outside of work. Just be sure you link with everyone at your internship who you think knows your name. Regardless of whether you are true buddies with them, if you had a couple of meetings with them or provided them some info for a project or they are your boss or sit in the next row over, add them to your network. I once got a contract worth over $100,000 from the programmer who sat next to me and worked on something completely different than my work, but at a later date she know someone who needed some skills I had to offer.</p>

<p>You should link with professors if they know you as well. Sometimes they have good connections in industry, too. </p>

<p>When you are really kicking off your job search (say, next January), post a message to your network regarding what you are looking for. Then all those people know! And jobs are posted on LinkedIn as well, so keep an eye on those. Just keep adding people to your network as you go, too. You never know who is going to help you now or in a few years!</p>

<p>Brooklynborndad is totally right that many jobs are filled through a connnection like this, not via a resume sent to HR. HR is just looking to weed you out because you are missing something they think is critical. But the hiring manager might be willing to overlook some skill shortage if you are heavily weighted in some other area they like. Or just if you come recommended from someone they know. </p>

<p>By the way, I never considered myself a good networking person. In fact, I was AWFUL at stuff like joining professional organizations, going to dinners to hear speakers and meet people, meeting people at conferences, etc. I am slightly Asperger-y, I think, so it is not a strength of mine at all. I worked in a field where I met a lot of different people over time, and built good relationships, but never thought of it as networking. Then about 10 years ago I started my own business, and found that one of my greatest assets was a very strong network that I had built just through working with lots of people. LinkedIn has been a great tool to create a more formal connection with all those people and keep in touch as people move around, too (it is a bonus for your network when someone moves jobs, then you have another company where you know someone :)).</p>