You can still make a five-year career plan, despite the down market. These are grim times to be a new college graduate making a career plan. In the shakiest job market since the Great Depression, about half of U. Luckily, the situation is a not as hopeless than it might seem. Monster asked Gross how the Class of can make a smart five-year career plan, in spite of the current recession. You get much farther with a plan, like having a road map for a trip. And your plan can certainly change as circumstances change. You can always reset your goals as you go along. A plan that will serve you well should follow the acronym SMART, for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, and my book explains how to do that. Five years is a long time, so you can break down your goals into short-term, medium-term, and long-term. They may surprise you! Gross: Always remember that, at this stage of your life, no one expects you to have hands-on experience in a particular area. Especially at the entry level, employers are looking for people who will work hard and learn as they go. Those qualities are much more important than specific job skills that they can teach you later. Interviewers also look for forward or upward progress. If you got a promotion from cashier to assistant manager, for instance, be sure to highlight that. Those count, too. Gross: Two things that are really important in this job market are, first, target each resume and application to a specific job opening. Use the exact keywords in each job description. And second, use your network — your friends, parents, their friends, alumni associations from your school, and anyone else you know. Be positive and persistent. In this environment, it may take longer than it normally would, but you will find a job. Could you use more help making professional connections during this time? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads. Those are two quick and easy ways Monster can help your career continue to move forward. Anne Fisher has been writing about career and workplace trends and topics since By commenting, you agree to Monster's privacy policy , terms of use and use of cookies. Thank you! You are now a Monster member—and you'll receive more content in your inbox soon. By continuing, you agree to Monster's privacy policy , terms of use and use of cookies. Search Career Advice.

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