New Grads: A Short Pitch Can Go a Long Way

Posted by The Editors on May 21, 2012
New Grads: A Short Pitch Can Go a Long Way

“What are you doing after graduation?”

You’ve probably heard the question dozens of times. But if you’re a new grad looking for your first job, these seven little words can inspire dread, self-doubt, squirming—in short, all your fears about the future.

So it’s understandable that your first reaction might be to blanch, mumble about the tough job market, or shrug it off with a short statement like “I’m job hunting.” But don’t be tempted! Instead of shrinking into a ball of insecurity, turn this moment into a great opportunity to build your career and your confidence.

How? Take a deep breath; then briefly explain to the questioner specifically what you’re interested in doing and why you’re fired up about it. Some genuine enthusiasm can go a long way. The bare-bones version might go something like this:

Right now, I’m looking for an entry-level development position at a non-profit. I’ve been excited about getting into the fundraising field since last year when I interned at the Red Cross.

Build Your Network
This short, unobtrusive elevator pitch is a subtle way to create an opportunity for your conversation buddy to help you. Granted, this will probably just be a small-talk starter for many people you speak with. But sooner or later, someone you meet will offer a useful contact, connection, or lead. Bottom line: you’ll never know if you don’t bring it up.

You also can’t know how your focus and positive attitude could pay off in the future. Months down the line, when an acquaintance needs somebody just like you, the upbeat impression you left could put you top-of-mind.

Boost Your Confidence
Job searching is normal. Even job searching for a long time is normal. So don’t act embarrassed by your unemployed status—people will pick up on the negative vibes. Instead, with a simple statement of intent, you can take control of the situation and create opportunities for people to help you get where you want to be. Confidence and success are often self-fulfilling prophecies, so put out the same kind of positive energy that you want to get back. Now go out and get ‘em!

How do you feel when someone asks “what are you doing after graduation?”

About the Author: Annie Favreau is the managing editor for Inside Jobs, a site that helps people discover a career they’ll love and build strong, successful futures. Her writing has been featured online at BrazenLife, Business Inside, AOL Jobs, Reader’s Digest, and The Guardian. Join the career conversation on Twitter at @InsideJobs!

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