Job Hunting Suggestions
[Get Adobe Acrobat Reader Free here]
Before you Search for a Job
Conducting a successful job search requires clearly focused goals and a pro-active approach. In a challenged economy, this is even more important.
Can you answer the question, "What do I really want in a career?" Do you understand the marketplace and what jobs you are qualified for? Can you name some successful strategies for finding positions in your field of choice? Is your resume polished and ready? Have you done a practice interview? If your answer is "no" to any of these, read on.
For success, use our proactive "3 Search" approach:
- Know your skills, values and interests and how they've prepared you for the jobs you want. Assess your own abilities and values using Choices or seek the help of a career counselor.
- Set the stage with a competitive resume and polished interview skills. We have numerous tools to assist you.
- Know where the jobs are found, how they are advertised, and what the job requires. What Can I do with this Major? is a helpful starting point, along with the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
- Learn about the most effective job search methods for your field. Network for information, conduct information interviews, or join a professional association.
- Create a plan of action with weekly activities
If you need help with any of these areas, our web resources are a beginning point. Also consider scheduling an appointment with a career counselor, attending a Job Search workshop, or asking your questions during our drop-in hours.
Back to top
Best Job Search Methods
The best methods are pro-active and personal. The least effective are passive, such as posting a resume online and waiting for bite. In a lean job market, many jobs go unadvertised, or are selectively posted. Act on opportunities where you meet face to face with prospective employers. Attend job fairs to not only inquire about jobs, but solicit information about your field and other career settings. Pursue referrals by faculty, career counselors and classmates that connect you to employer prospects. Join networking groups or professional associations affiliated with your field of interest. Volunteer or intern in organizations of interest.
This list of strategies is a starting point; refine your strategies as you learn more about the hiring habits of your chosen profession.
- Use the services of the Career Center:
- Pursue networking opportunities for your field
- Subscribe to trade & professional association job sites in your field
- Pursue internal advancement options
- Temporary to permanent positions
- Volunteer work or community service
- Review website job listings of employers of choice
- Target unsolicited resume to hiring managers in selected organizations of choice
- Newspaper classifieds (on-line & print) *
- Placing your resume on Internet resume databases *
- Attend area job fairs sponsored by cities, newspapers, private groups
- Staffing Agencies (permanent and temporary job placement) and Search Firms
- Employment Development Department - Workforce Services Offices
* Effectiveness may depend on type & level of position sought
Back to top
Networking Successfully to Find a Job
Networking is the process of interacting with others to develop relationships, reach a goal, or gather information. It is something to put into practice early in your academic career. You may believe you have no network, but your college years afford you many advantages to build one. Here are some suggestions:
- Get an internship or volunteer -- getting experience in your prospective career field is invaluable for your resume. But it also introduces your skills and talents to a new circle of allies who can vouch for your abilities.
- Join a student professional association -- The Science Society, Accounting Society, and PRSSA are examples of student professional groups related to a specific career path. Many are affiliated with professional chapters in the field. Fellow members share contacts and advice, and activities frequently include guest speakers at meetings, attending seminars and conferences, and job shadowing programs -- all with the potential to generate contacts for your network.
- Find a mentor. A career counselor from the Career Center, an internship supervisor, or a favorite faculty member are examples of people who can offer you insights into your career path, and leads for future contacts or employment opportunities.
- Attend recruitment events. Job fairs, career mixers, and resume clinics draw a large concentration of employers to one location. Don't miss such opportunities to put a face with your name. Ask questions, collect business cards, and be ready to hand out your resume.
- Get to know your classmates. Classmates are yearning for career success just as you are. Swap sources and advice. Many already work. Their employer may have your ideal job.
- Plug into your existing network. Share your future plans with gym mates, carpool partners, neighbors, relatives, friends, and fellow members of book clubs, religious organizations, poker groups and softball teams. They can offer the one referral or connection you need to approach a particular employer.
- Do your homework. While we do not suggest that you take a resume everywhere you go, do consider all your interactions as moments to sell yourself. Script a mini-monologue about your professional goals and the background you bring to the job market. Take time to familiarize yourself with new faces and learn about their background.
- Follow up with a thank you note. If a mentor, recruiter, colleague or friend has been particularly helpful, don't overlook the courtesy of a "thank you" note or email. It's not only good manners, but can also refuel their enthusiasm for assisting you to achieve your goal.
Back to top
- Improve your skills. Determine what skills are in demand and sharpen them.
- Be prepared. Keep an updated version of your resume on your flash drive and carry it with you. You never know whom you might meet!
- Watch your digital footprint. Make sure your social networking pages are something you would want a prospective employer to see - because they often look!
- Think outside the box. Don't focus just in your area of education or direct experience - consider related occupations or areas where you have transferable skills to apply. Meet with a career counselor to get new ideas.
- Your first job doesn't have to be your dream job. The most important thing is that you find a job that will help you move in the direction you want to go in your career.
- Be proactive, not passive, with job search strategies. In addition to posting your resume online, try something more direct. Send targeted resumes to hiring managers in your field, network at professional meetings and conferences, or take a temporary to permanent job through a staffing agency.
- Expand the scope of work settings to consider. Relocate to an area where there are more jobs, or diversify possible employers; e.g., take a job with a non-profit or government agency vs. a for-profit, or a position with a private school vs. a public school.
- Be persistent. Looking for a job is a job itself. Keep to a daily schedule of pursuing leads, sending resumes, following up. Get support from others.
Back to top