The key to a future filled with family stability and success starts with a good education. We can help you better understand what the educational landscape looks like for military spouses, and how to make use of all the possible government and corporate financial support that is made available to you for your family’s service to our country. If you have any topics that you would like to see us write about, feel free to email the editor:
You’ve Graduated; Now What?

Cap and gown season is upon us. Across the nation, college graduates are armed with their degrees and certificates in hand, sleeves rolled up, ready to snag that first job. Should be easy, right?

Not so fast.

A degree is an important piece of the job-searching puzzle, but in one of the most competitive job markets in recent history, you need more. You need to stand apart from the other candidates vying for the same job.

According to job coach Jenny Foss, creator of the blog www.JobJenny.comand author of “To Whom It May Concern: Or How To Stop Sucking At Your Job Search,” it’s not about the piece of paper — it’s all about the strategy.

Foss operates an independent recruiting firm, Ladder Recruiting Group, and can be followed on Twitter @JobJenny. She has these tips for job searching in today’s tough economy.

STS: What is the first thing a new graduate needs to do?

JF: You craft a strategy for your job search before you go off any which way. It’s very common that people don’t have a plan. Most people spend hours firing off resumes on sites like Monster or Career Builder and then sit back and wait. You can’t do that. You need bold, strategic moves.

STS: So how do you define a good strategy?

JF: You need a deliberate plan for your approach. Say to yourself, from 8 to 10 in the morning, I’m going to research companies. Then from 10 a.m. to noon I’m going to target my resume and cover letters for those companies. From noon to 2 p.m., I’m going to contact five people in my industry. And structure your day like that. The more detailed you can be, the better your plan. And you’ll feel better that you’ve made some progress.

STS: On many military installations, there are job fairs aimed at military retirees and spouses. How should a person approach a job fair?

JF: First of all, you need to dress like you’re going to an interview. Know what companies will be at the job fair, and research those companies so you know who you are talking with. Another thing I would do is to make up business cards to bring with you. Put your name, email and a brief description of your value proposition on them. You will look prepared and stand apart from those that just drop off a resume.

STS: In your book, you discuss ways to not walk through the front door of a company, but to sneak in the side window. What do you mean?

JF: Sending resumes into an entry-level human resources person is not the way to go — those resumes go into what I like to call the resume black hole. You need to find out who is the head of staffing for the HR department, or find someone that can make something happen. I know someone who recently applied for a job at Microsoft through its website.She then remembered she had a cousin who worked there, so she sent another resume, and the cousin brought it to someone she knew in the human resources department. Within days, she had an interview. They had never even seen the resume that she sent through the website.

STS: You are a huge fan of using social media as a way to find a job. There is so much out there. How should new grads maximize their social networking?

JF: Leverage your Facebook to let people know you are looking. You never know within your personal network who has a friend or a brother or a sister-in-law that can help you.Get on LinkedIn, set up a profile and join groups that are related to your field. Get on Twitter. Use everything you can to your advantage.

Reader Special: Foss is offering a special discount for Salute to Spouses Readers — 50 percent off her book! Go to enter the code SALUTE50. This offer expires at the end of the day (11:59 p.m. ET) on July 30.

For Military Spouses
Apply for the Salute to Spouses scholarship today and begin your education! You’ll be on the way to your dream career.

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