This week, Spain’s “El Pais” interviewed Ivy Ed’s founder and owner Nicole Oringer and career counselor Carolyn Magnani for a training piece on how Spaniards seek jobs.  Here is a translation of the article which appeared September 12th, 2016:

If you want to find work, stop looking for jobs by ANA TORRES Menárguez

Experts note that in order to gain access to the labor market, seekers must allocate 80% of the time to making contacts.

Spaniards do not know how to look for a job. The system of sending resumes to different companies and waiting for a reply is ineffective. Still, graduates continue doing what was done 20 years ago. The key, according to experts, is to create a good network of contacts and from there try to access companies that interest you. “Most job seekers devote 80% of their time to finding jobs offers and sending resumes, and the remaining 20% to making contacts. What works is just the opposite,” says Carolyn Magnani, a career adviser at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.

Magnani proposes using social networks (such as LinkedIn) to help identify employees of companies that are interesting to you, and then trying to communicate with them, not only for details of the selection process but also to share interesting and relevant information. “You are not addressing the CEO, but finding profiles similar to yours, the newly graduated, around the same age. If you contact ten, at least two will respond,” said Magnani, who also advises students by Skype through the US-based company Ivy Educational Services. The networking component should be considered daily work (along with applying to jobs on the internet). This is in addition to face-to-face interactions with people at different events related to the job-seeker’s specialty.

“No need to feel embarrassed by openly saying you are looking for work. Contrary to what you think, the more people know it, the better; it increases the probability of, at some point, someone recommending you for the job,” adds Magnani. The recommendations today are essential to access a saturated labor market for graduates, as Rich Grant explains in Linkedin. He is a career counselor at Southern New Hampshire University in the United States. He continues, “The work is there: you know the job description, you send an email with your resume and you can almost smell the office, but today the labor market has doors that open only with a code. What is the code? People. Your network. You have to find someone behind the wall. Companies hire people, not paper. ”

Personal preparation

Your homework does not end there. By the time any door is opened, you (the candidate) should have worked on your personal profile, which includes all your non-technical skills learned outside the university. “Your profile, how you present yourself, is responsible for 90% of what happens in a job interview. It doesn’t matter much what they ask you; you have to know how to project who you are,” said Magnani. The hardest thing for recent graduates is to answer questions such as what worries you the most? Or what do you care about? “Often these young job-seekers do not know themselves well enough, because the educational system has not taught them, and they do not know how to discuss answers to these questions.” Presenting a good resume, writing great cover letters, or knowing how to answer to an email are some of the points that Magnani works on during  Educational Coaching, personalized sessions that focus on strengthening personality and self-esteem.

5 Steps to find WORK

1- Decide where you want to go. Make a list of jobs that you could see yourself doing according to your training and experience.

2- Inform everyone around you that you are seeking employment. Sure, it is difficult to expose yourself, but opportunities can come up anytime, anywhere. Explain what you could bring to a particular company and how you would do so. Take every opportunity for networking.

3- Research companies. Do not wait until opportunities find you; go get them. The internet can identify the most relevant companies according to your profile. On websites like Glassdoor, you can gather information on new trends in the labor market. Find out possible salaries and compensation and identify what real opportunities are out there for you.

4- Your resume should make a strong impression. Reflect before you begin writing it. The CV is not just a list of your previous jobs. You must be selective and highlight your most important achievements and the work experience that is relevant. Not everything is. If you have done volunteer work at home or abroad, that provides information about your independence, self-management capacity, and accountability.

5- Prepare for the job interview. Do not be afraid to communicate who you are. Identify what your strengths are, and put the focus on telling the companies how they would benefit if they hire you.

These recommendations are from Maria Martinez, Service Technician from Career Guidance of the City of Las Rozas.

For the past five years or so, in countries like the United States, the number of companies offering these career services has increased, with a cost of around $200 an hour (178 euros). “Students are more confused than ever about what the next step is,” says Nicole Oringer, co-owner of Ivy Educational Services, an educational coaching company that began twelve years ago in New Jersey. “We help them identify their strengths, believe in themselves and discover what kind of work fits with their values. We also discuss job search strategies and techniques so they know how to face an interview. ”

In Spain, educational coaching is beginning to grow in both the public and private sectors. The City of Las Rozas in Madrid began offering this component free of charge four years ago in their service for career guidance. “The attitude is what counts most. Overprotection of parents is, in many cases, so strong that kids do not know how to meet the challenges of the outside world. Many kids have problems with their self-esteem, and are afraid of communicating,” said Maria Martinez, a technician in charge of coaching services at Las Rozas and former professor at the Carlos III University. From her experience as a teacher, she remembers cases of students whose parents managed every little aspect of their application for college, for example. These kids didn’t know what to do or how to make decisions. “These parents haven’t taught their children how to take charge of their lives and that’s what we do here.  We focus their energy on motivation to seek and find employment.”

In 2014, a survey of 482 students by the California State University showed that the higher the degree of parental overprotection, the more insecure graduates feel when making decisions, and the less able they are to make them. One of the points highlighted by the researchers was the poor adjustment of these young people to the workplace. To avoid such situations, the Junior Achievement Foundation, founded in 1919 in the United States and headquartered in Spain since 2001, organizes workshops where work scenarios are simulated. “They (the graduates) are very detached from the reality of the working world. University education leaves this aspect aside,” says Laura Gonzalez, a psychologist at the foundation, which has already collaborated with 492 Spanish schools.

Am I good enough at what I do to stand out? Are others taking a better route to find a job? To resolve such doubts, Complutense University also has a service-oriented coaching career, at least in some fields, such as Education. “They have never been asked what talent they have and maybe the guidance service in high schools is ineffective. They have to work on their personal ‘brand’ because in job interviews this is visible from miles away,” said Cristina Jardon, coordinator of the University special course in coaching and emotional education.  This class was launched a year ago by the Complutense and is geared for teachers and students, with the aim of making the teaching methodology include the emotional side. The mission is for students to learn that graduating is not a leap into the void, but a step to a new and exciting time in their lives.