Are you near graduation and wondering how to begin your job search?
Are you stressed about securing your job before you graduate?
Are you overwhelmed by the incredibly long list of classifieds every week?
Are you an alumnus making a job change or re-entering the job market?
If any of these situations describe you, do not despair! Here are the top ten tips for conducting a successful job search.
1. Develop a clear objective for your job search. The first step in your job search is to define what career field you are interested in pursuing. Once you define your career field, you can better focus your search. For example, if your academic major is communication, in which area of communication are you interested: public relations, advertising, broadcasting, journalism, event planning? Once you create a clear objective it is easier to prepare your job search tools and search for jobs.
2. Clarify your skills and abilities. You must first understand what you are marketing before you can effectively market your “product”. In a job search, the product you market is YOU. The employer will only consider the information you can effectively communicate. How do you know what your skills are? Create a skills inventory. Make a list of all the skills you have demonstrated in previous positions. Ask friends or supervisors which of your skills they value. Stop by the Career Services Office and complete the skills inventory on the Kuder Journey program.
3. Sharpen your tools. An excellent cover letter, resume, and portfolio, are the key tools with which to conduct a successful job search. These tools help you secure an interview. You may have tremendous skills and strong academic preparation, but employers will not likely consider you if you don’t make a good first impression through your written materials. Take the time to read resume writing resources in the Office of Career Services and online. Create a solid resume and cover letter on Optimal Resume, then ask the Career Services staff, faculty members, and other friends who have hiring experience, to evaluate your feedback.
4. Determine the type of company for which you would like to work. Do you prefer large or small companies? Do you want to work in the non-profit, private or public sector? Are you thinking about working for a domestic or international company? What kinds of values do you seek in an employer? One of the goals of a job search is to find the best fit between candidate and employer. By thinking about what kind of an organization you want to work for, you will be proactive in finding a good career match. Once you determine desirable characteristics, research a variety of companies to find which organizations possess those characteristics.
5. Determine where you would like to live. Job satisfaction is closely linked with lifestyle satisfaction. If you are content in your personal life, you are more likely to be satisfied in your professional life. Ask yourself questions like:
- Do I want to live in a big or small city?
- What part of the country best suits me?
- Do I want to be close to my family?
- How long am I willing to commute to work?
- What part of the country can best accommodate my career interests?
6. Outline your network of contacts. Networking is one of the most effective methods for securing a job. Make a list of at least ten people who can assist in your job search. For example, your dad’s neighbor may work for the company to which you are applying. Your Communication professor may have connections with a major public relations firm in a metropolitan area. Your co-worker at your part-time job has an aunt who is on faculty at the graduate school to which you recently applied. Often a contact which seems quite minor or distant can be quite significant. Once you have made a list of networking contacts, call each person and let them know what type of job you are seeking and what your qualifications are. Then offer to send them a resume and ask them for other references you can contact.
7. Consult the alumni network, one of the best resources for conducting a job search. Available in the Career Services Office, the alumni directory lists of Bethany graduates including contact information, place of employment, and academic major. Bethany graduates have a strong connection to Bethany College and have completed very similar academic programs as current students. Alumni are very willing to assist current students in their job searches.
8. Review classified advertisements in the Sunday and Wednesday issues of newspapers. Though not as effective as networking, it is important to regularly review the classified section of newspapers located in cities where you want to live.
9. Target companies regardless of current job openings. Do not wait until a job is posted to contact a desirable company or organization. Around half of available jobs are filled before they are announced publicly. Because openings are often announced internally, it is important to have your resume on file with a company so you may be considered when an opening arises.
10. Be proactive: don’t wait for employers to call you. Remember, you are in charge of your job search. Do not wait for employers to contact you. If you find a company you want to join, send them a professional letter stating your desire to work for them and why you would be an excellent candidate. Then, follow up with a telephone call. The worst thing they can tell you is no. The best thing they can do is schedule you for an interview. Don’t become a victim of the job market. Become a leader. Take charge and determine your own career destiny!