02/07/2012 10:53 pm ET | Updated Apr 09, 2012

Seven Ways to Land a Job in a Tough Economy

You just graduated from college and find yourself thrown into the real world clueless and unprepared. You envision your dream job, your dream house and all the things that suggest a secure and fulfilling life, but today's economic and social crisis makes it nearly impossible to achieve. College professors teach us the fundamentals of our careers, but we rarely get a heads up on the rocky road to get there.

According to NPR, many college grads are moving back in with their parents because they simply can't get on their own two feet. I should know. I was laid off four years ago at the height of the worst recession this country's seen since the Great Depression. As an athlete with a competitive nature, I can attest that a positive attitude, a well thought-out strategy, and faith in yourself are key ingredients to achieve success in whatever you set your mind to; even in the midst of a bad economy. 

Here are some more tips for getting a job in these tumultuous times:

1.     How to look for a job: Make Google and LinkedIn your best friends. These sites will help you track down the key people in your industry via email and requests to connect. What you know is important, but who you know matters most!

2.     Before the Interview: Don't just research the job you're applying for. Research the company, its mission, and community initiatives thoroughly.

3.     The Interview: Pretend the interview is your first date. It's either love at first sight or no chemistry at all. Dress the part to make sparks fly and examine the corporate culture and work environment around you.

4.     Follow Up: After the interview, email and/or mail your interviewer a thank you card whether you're interested in the job or not. If you really want the job, write something like: "Just wanted to say thanks for meeting with me. I'm still very much interested in the position." You may think it's annoying, but you'd be surprised how positive of an impression it leaves on employers.

5.     The Verdict's in. What do you do? If you got a job offer, be enthusiastic, accommodating, and flexible. If you didn't land the job, thank them for considering you and say you're interested in any other opportunities that may arise.

6.     How to Negotiate Pay: Expect to get low-balled, so be prepared to argue for a well-deserved salary. Use sites like Pay Scale to determine a fair pay for the amount of experience you have. Job postings for similar positions can also be helpful in determining what's right.

7.     Congratulations. You're Employed! Build a professional and genuine rapport with your colleagues and superiors based on respect and loyalty because soon enough you will realize that relationships do matter!  --Carli Eli

Are you frustrated with the economy and the lack of jobs out there? Get involved with Voto Latino and make your voice heard. 

Carli Eli is a seasoned media and communications professional with extensive experience in social, educational and political issues in the general and Latino markets. Over the last few years, she's worked with ABC networks (radio and TV), MTV Networks, V-me Media and Telemundo in the areas of production, reporting, marketing, events and promotions, business development and grassroots community outreach.