Job Search Tips
When is the best time to begin a job search? If you're asking the question, the now is the best time! Before your first interview takes place, plan your career moves. Your career interests, values and financial status also have an impact on when to begin. For an internship, part-time, temporary or seasonal position, any time is the right time!
Once you begin a job search, how can you avoid job hunt anxiety? Let us help you by answering some looming questions:
Job Search Dos and Don'ts
An important part of your job search is to keep the process moving forward until the right offer comes in. Some tips:
- Keep a log of contacts, dates, status
- Follow up within a few weeks of application
- Have a strategy
- Vary your approach. If one method doesn't work, try another!
- Consider a part-time job in order to remain active and confident
- Personalize rejection. Not every position or employer is right for you.
- Falsify information on a resume, application or during an interview.
How do I build job experience?
What's an internship? Opportunities for internships exist in every type of organization, including non-profit agencies, corporations, small businesses and at all levels of government. Internships may be completed during the academic year while you are taking classes, or they might involve a more extensive program during the summer months. Internships may be paid or unpaid, may be full-time or part-time, and may involve academic credit.
An internship is an opportunity for you to gain knowledge and experience by participating in a workplace environment. Whether the experience occurs in an office, a lab, or a field setting, it is an opportunity to focus your interests and career objectives while gaining valuable skills.
- Real world experience
- An opportunity to gain new perspectives from professionals doing the work you might seek
- Development of self-confidence, professionalism, and other transferable skills
- Creation of relationships that may be able to assist you throughout your career path
- Application and enrichment of skills learned in your classroom experience
Part-time employment, regardless of the work you do, provides valuable experience that helps you build important transferable skills like time management, communication and problem-solving. Furthermore, like an internship, part-time employment as a means of career exploration will help you build self-confidence in the job search process as well as make you a competitive candidate for a position.
Why should I network?
In the career world, networking has several purposes:
- Exploring career fields: Contacts can offer advice that can help you focus your career planning and determine if a particular line of work is of interest to you and if you might fit into that work setting.
- Finding job leads: Contacts can help you uncover the hidden job market that composes 85-90% of all professional jobs (those which are never advertised publicly), and may possibly open channels for an interview.
Why try informational interviewing?
- It is simply exploring: It's interviewing designed to yield information that may help you choose a career path, learn what skills or opportunities you may need to break into the field, better understand a geographic location to which you're considering relocating, and make contacts with people.
- Build confidence: Informational interviewing may feel more relaxed than an official job interview. This will build your experience and self-confidence so that you are even more ready for the real thing! Nevertheless, preparing for an informational interview requires research and preparation.
How do I make direct contact?
Once you've identified several potential employers, there are several options for making contact.
Call an employer on the telephone: This is a time-effective way to know within minutes if there may be opening to pursue. Getting through receptionists to managers may be difficult and many employers will simply suggest you send a resume. If you attempt this method, think through your phone call carefully and thoroughly in advance, since the person you call is likely too busy for unfocused inquiries.
- Keep in mind: At a minimum, a phone call to a potential employer should yield a contact name and e-mail address, correctly spelled.
Walk into an organization: It is appropriate to dress in suitable attire and apply for a position in person. Focus your attention on the personnel departments and main reception area. File an application, leave a resume and ask for an interview. Some organizations have scheduled walk-in hours during which screening interviews are conducted.
- Keep in mind: If you fill out an application or leave a resume without a conversation, conduct follow-up phone calls to make certain your status is considered active.
Write to an organization: The most traditional approach is to send a resume and tailored cover letter to a person in an organization who has the authority to hire. Many employers prefer to receive written or online material before they will consider your inquiry to be a valid one. If you plan to use the bulk-mail/email approach and send multiple letters and resumes, research shows that as a general rule, you might get one response for every 15 to 20 letters sent. Although mailing alone won't do it, a concentrated effort to follow-up will. At the very least, if you use the bulk-mail approach, attempt to learn departmental managers' names and titles as much as possible to avoid the appearance of an unfocused job search.