Finding a job is probably uppermost in your mind (and your parents’) especially if you’re about to become a college graduate. Graduation time is nearing, and if you’re not going on to grad school, a full-time job is usually the next step.
Ideally, the time to look for a job is before graduation, not afterwards. Checking in at your college’s career center is one of the first places college students can go for guidance. This could be done even when just a freshman. Yet, there are many other steps that a college student can take to help with a job search, even now.
One important way to find a job is to build a network. Start out by making a list of contacts – perhaps people you know who are working in the field you are interested in. Even if you think you don’t know anyone who could be helpful, your networking list can include not only everyone you know, but even your parents’ friends and your friends’ parents’ friends! They in turn will know other people, and so on. After you let your contacts know what kind of position you’re looking for and what your experience is, leads could very well develop for you.
An atypical, but more of a take-charge approach would be to go into a local professional building, write down the names of company employees listed in the directory, and after researching the company, contact them about possible openings. Before going on any interview, the company should be researched so that you can explain how your skills and experience would work within the company, plus you would better understand the company’s goals. Also if you look for a company that promotes from within, there are possibilities for advancement.
Real-world experience is always advantageous. If you’ve been able to acquire an internship, whether paid or not, it’s not only a way for you to see what the company is like to work for, and gives you work experience, but it shows the company what you are like. So internships, or even volunteering your time in other areas, are experiences that should be highlighted in your resume.
Of course, your resume should be professional-looking. That means no typos. It should look neat, and be written in a clear, concise way. Resumes are a way of showing what you’ve learned, and what qualifications you would bring to the company. For assistance with resume formatting and writing, you can find terrific resources online. References are important as well. Favorite teachers would be perfect choices to write you a great letter of recommendation. Other ideas to strengthen one’s potential on the job-market is to customize your resume for each job, not to overdo it with lots of fonts and text effects, to write a cover letter, which highlights personal accomplishments, and to take multiple copies of your resume to interviews to show how prepared you are.
Keep in mind some mistakes not to make when looking for a job:
· Don’t have your parents involved in the interviewing, recruiting and negotiation process of your job search. If you keep your parents’ advice to yourself, recruiters may find you more professional and mature.
· Don’t neglect to write thank you notes to interviewers or to people who have helped you. A short e-mail might be all it takes for you to stand out.
· Make sure your voice mail greetings don’t leave a bad impression.
· If the interviewer has your cell phone number, if you’re at a place that doesn’t allow for quiet conversation, let the call go to your voice mail.
· Don’t post anything on websites that you wouldn’t want a recruiter to see.
Once you’ve graduated from college, and are still looking for a job, that is a full-time job in itself. You can join a professional organization and attend meetings and events to continue to make contacts. You can always go on the internet to see about job openings. Don’t forget that there’s always the tried and true approach of going through the want ads in a newspaper.
When looking for a job, there is always some rejection. The word is to try and stay “positive”. When you get a job, even if it’s not the job of your dreams, your best efforts and your work ethic serve you well as you begin your career.