By: Carolyn Thomas, Director, XU Office of Career Services
There is a plethora of information on all aspects of the job search process – from tips on writing a “winning” resume to negotiating salary and benefits.
In this article I’ve tried to provide a snapshot
of essential facts college students should be aware of as they undertake the challenge of finding their job of choice.
1. Finding a job is a job in itself. It takes time and dedication to land the right position, so the first thing you must do is adjust your attitude and realize that it takes considerable effort on your part to conduct a thorough job search.
2. Visit your Career Services Office. This office should be your first step/stop. You will receive tips on writing a good resume and preparing for an interview from trained professionals who can help you find an internship or entry level position.
3. Create a resume and cover letter. Have someone in the Career Services Office critique these documents to ensure that they are error free and represent you as professionally as possible.
Be sure that you have a professional email address on your resume. FoxyBrown@yahoo.com or BigDaddy@gmail.com doesn’t convey a serious message (unless you are looking for a date/late-night chat room, etc.)
4. Prepare for interviews. This not only entails having the appropriate attire. You should do research on any organization that will interview you. Most importantly, you should know how to “sell” your skills and abilities to an employer. Schedule a mock interview with your Career Center. Don’t forget to have a professional voice message on your phone if you are called for an interview!
5. Network! Network! Network! Contrary to popular belief, relying solely on internet job boards or search engines is not the best way to find a job. Networking is extremely important in conducting a job search. Many organizations rely on employee referrals for new openings.
There are many ways to network, so let a Career Services professional guide you with this process.
6. Attend a career fair. This event is an important and efficient way to meet recruiters who are hiring for entry level or intern positions. Don’t just show up to see who is there, however. Do your homework beforehand so you can make a good impression and maximize your time there.
7. Attend information sessions given by organizations that come to your campus. Info sessions are generally open to anyone. You may discover an unknown career option!
8. Conduct informational interviews if possible. See if you can find a professional who is willing to devote 15-20 minutes to describe their job and its requirements to you.
9. Consider attending a conference or meeting of a professional association in which you might like to work. Some organizations have job boards at their conference site, or they have career fairs built into their meetings.
10. Consider the federal government. Uncle Sam is the country’s largest employer. Check out www.usajobs.gov to discover a multitude of opportunities.
11. Create a profile on LinkedIn.com, which is the premier online networking site. Be sure your photo and personal data represent you in an appropriate manner.
12. Manage your online presence. Google yourself and see what comes up. Be careful what you – or your friends – post on Facebook and other social media sites.
13. Volunteer to gain experience in a field that’s extremely competitive. Certain industries never need recruitment on college campuses because the demand for their positions is so high that applicants flood them with resumes. Besides gaining experience and insight into a certain career field, volunteering may open the door to a paid position for you at a later date.
14. Don’t get discouraged! Don’t take rejection personally. In a tough economy such as the one we’re facing today, landing a job is not going to be easy. Remember the first point given in this article, and KEEP AT IT!