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College grads look for edge in hard job market

PHOENIX - It used to be that many college graduates could find a job right out of school and could, for the most part, forgo the job hunt. Things have now changed. The job market is more competitive than ever, and recent grads are finding themselves unprepared when it comes to finding employment.

One of the bigger pitfalls grads are falling in to: only applying online.

"They are just applying, applying, applying," said Linda Baugh of Ace Executive Careers "It can make them feel like they're doing a lot. They say ‘hey I got 10, or 20 applications out there today.' But it's just not that effective."

According to Baugh, applying online for a company or on job websites like Monster.com is a good idea, but that should be followed up with personal contact either by phone or in person. It simply makes you more than just a number, or just a resume. You are now a voice or a face.

Another thing many recent grads are not doing: research. That includes research of the company, research of the company's competitors, research about the local market, and knowing recent news about that company.

"That information is key in an interview," said Baugh. The more someone knows about the place they are seeking a job, the better they are when it comes to understanding how they can help.

There are a few ways to get in a job, even today. The biggest one: become flexible for your prospective employer.

"[Prospective employees] need to think about and talk to companies about what their needs are, and not about whether or not they have any openings," said Baugh

Why? Well, a lot of the hiring going on right now doesn't come from job postings. Switching the focus to the companies' needs rather than a job that suits your needs can open doors that are not even there to begin with.

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