Dear Soon-To-Be College Graduate
I meet a lot of recent college grads, usually one per week. Sometimes it’s a friend of mine who asks me to meet with their kid because they’re anxious that the kid doesn’t have a job lined up. Sometimes it’s the grad themselves wanting to pick my brain about the marketing business. (By the way, I can’t STAND the phrase “pick your brain.”) I (almost) always say yes and meet them to drop a few knowledge bombs. We usually meet for coffee, and I give them my insights into this industry. Sometimes, this takes five to 10 minutes; I’m not that smart. Then, I give them advice on how to find a job. I only wished that some of these kids would talk to me in their first or second year of school. Mid-May is usually too late to fix all the mistakes a freshly-minted grad makes.
A couple of years ago, my colleague Katie Rossberg shared a note to recent grads detailing tips to follow after you get the job, but I figured I’d drop some of my own on how to get a job as a recent college grad:
- Please, please, please do not start your cover letter by saying “Dear _____, I am a recent graduate of ___________.” Everyone does that. Stop it. Be more original.
- Clean your digital dirt. The first thing a potential employer will do is “Google you” and if your Instagram profile picture is you in a thong doing keg stands your freshman year, you might as well not apply.
- Be persistent. Call, email, AND drop off a resume in person. If you haven’t heard anything, follow up again. And again. If you apply for a job, it’s your job to follow up, not theirs. If they never hear from you after the first email, they can only assume you didn’t want the job.
- Get an internship. Apply for internships in your first or second year of school, not after you graduate.
- Get a job, any job, and keep it. Yes, you’re a full-time student but even if you only work a few hours a week at Cracker Barrel, it shows that you’re not afraid to work and that you can get along with people. Job hopping every three months shows major character flaws. Your very first job shouldn’t be at 22 or 23.
- Get a LinkedIn account. Fill it out. Make connections. You’re going to need them, and it’s the easiest way to showcase your education, interests, and skills.
- Write a thank you note or send a small thank you gift after the interview. The hiring manager sifted through 37 resumes, interviewed 11, and you were the only one to send a personal note or gift. There’s a 99 percent chance you’ll get it because they see that you “get it.”
- Tell your parents to butt out. If one of your parents calls or asks about the job for you, then all hope is lost. You need to make connections. You need to apply. You need to go to the interview. Your parents have to take the training wheels off; hopefully, this happened at age seven, not last week.
- Use spell check — and bribe an English major to proof your stuff. Knowing the difference between “your” and “you’re” is important, but knowing that someone misspells “everyday” every day in a resume is quite amusing to me.
- Be flexible. Chances are you don’t know exactly what you want to do at 22 and that’s OK. But you’re going to have to expand your options and be flexible to get a career in your desired field. Very few folks start out at the top. Sorry, that’s just how it works. Take the entry-level position and then prove yourself.
CORE IN NORTH CAROLINA
On Monday, some of the Madison+Main-iacs cruised to North Carolina for a CORE facilitation with our client Carolina Home Medical. They also happen to be the sister company of another one of our other clients, Realo Drugs. While there, both of our crews collaborated to discover the brand attributes and audience profiles of Carolina Home Medical.
In honor of Halloween next week, here’s my Dad Joke of the Week (DJOTW): Why did the zombie meditate after eating? He was practicing mind-fullness.
WALK TO END ALZHEIMER’S
Recently, two of our clients, Birmingham Green and Williamsburg Landing, gathered their teams to participate in the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Employees, families, and many residents joined together to add their flowers to the fight in support of the people they know and love with Alzheimer’s.
LUNCH AT LOLITA’S
On Wednesday, the team enjoyed a company lunch in Carytown at Lolita’s. We treated ourselves to traditional (and tasty) Mexican flavors, as well as a couple of spicy margaritas. Getting together with everyone was great, but supporting a fellow small business was even better. If you haven’t been to Lolita’s, you’re missing out. #SupportSmallBusinesses
WHERE HISTORY MEETS MYSTERY
Last week, our client Fort Monroe got into the spooky spirit as they held the Ghost Walk at Fort Monroe. This walking tour explored some of the unexplainable phenomena and haunting tales that accompany Fort Monroe’s 400 years of ghost history. Check out this spooktacular shot from the event:
Friday is National Chocolate Day, and our client Maola has a tasty treat to celebrate with. With extra rich, 2% reduced fat, and 1% low-fat options to choose from, their chocolate milk tastes great in a glass or mixed into a milkshake.
The best endorsement comes from my son Jack Saunders, who’s been drinking Maola “extra rich” chocolate milk for the last five years. He goes out of his way to find it in the store and drinks it after every workout. Yes, he drinks an entire quart. To quote him, “This stuff is AMAZING. It’s like liquid ice cream.” Grab your choice of Maola chocolate milk and “go loco for the cocoa.”
Also on Friday, Creative Director Art Webb and Account Executive Taylor Peoples joined our client Birmingham Green for a photoshoot. While they were there, they got some great shots of their grounds. Take a look at these behind-the-scenes photos:
A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE EVENTS
The Historic Wigwam Grand Re-Opening
10400 Washington Highway
October 28 | 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
The Historic Wigwam is newly restored and renovated! At their grand re-opening event today, there’ll be food, refreshments, and live entertainment in celebration of the location’s history and future. Be sure to stop by today!
Messaging Best Practices for 2023 Webinar
November 2 | Begins at 1 p.m.
Want to improve your email and SMS strategy? Join experts from Cordial to learn what today’s consumers really want from the messages they receive and the best approaches you can take. Sign up today!
Festival of Lights
1009 Old Country Road NW
Roanoke, VA 24017
December 3 | 6 – 9 p.m.
It’s never too early to get into the holiday spirit. Hermitage Roanoke is inviting everyone to gather the family together, warm up the car, and explore thousands of twinkling lights at their third annual drive-thru Festival of Lights. Even Santa Claus will be in attendance. Keep an eye out for more details!
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” — Milton Berle