Job Hunt Strategies for College Grads and Other Entry-level Job Seekers
Entry-level job seekers find themselves in a unique position. While they may have the education that a job requires, they lack the all important on-the-job experience. From college students about to enter the labor force, stay-at-home moms who want to work outside the home, to any number of job seekers, there are strategies you can employ to land an entry-level job
1. First step, do the research. As with any job search plan, one of the most important steps is to do the up-front research. If you have a degree in a chosen field, it’s best to research what other criteria, other than schooling, is required to secure a position. Schedule an Informational Interview with a professional in the specialty you are seeking. Information about Informational Interviews and other career research resources can be found on this website in the section: "Major and Career Exploration".
2. Have your resume ready. A strong resume that you have on-hand at a moment’s notice is critical. It is best to schedule an appointment with a Career Counselor by calling Career Services' Administrative Secretary. However, you will also find samples in the Resumes and Cover Letters section of this website.
3. For alumni, be sure to visit your college or university career services office in Moody Hall 134. You can schedule an in-person appointment, or for long-distance alumni you can schedule a phone consultation.
4. Participate in an internship. Every college student should do at least one internship in their major field of study or career specialty. Internships are a valuable way to gather on-the-job training which will make your resume stronger. In some cases, many companies will also consider offering you a position on a permanent basis. As an intern, you also have the pulse of the company and can position yourself immediately for interviews should job openings occur.
5. Stay online as much as possible. Many online job boards offer job postings for entry-level job seekers. Registering on these sites provides many benefits, including job listings, resume posting, job search tips and career advice. And while you are online, connect with prospective employers via social networks.
6. Stay up-to-date with current events. As a college student you've been primarily isolated on your college campus and may not be current with recent national and world events. When you meet with employers they will expect you to be able to converse not only about your field, but also about what's happening in the world today.
7. Social (digital) media. As a college graduate, chances are you’re all too familiar with social networking. Use sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to your advantage. Many companies now use these networks to recruit, and connecting with prospective employers via social networks showcases your savvy. Look at companies that are of interest and research job openings, culture and other information. Be mindful. Many companies now gauge the aptitude of prospective employees not only by their professional and educational experience, but their online presence. What you say and how you present yourself online will translate into real-world perception.
8. Take advantage of recruiting and Job and Internship fairs. Take note of college events like job fairs and see what companies and organizations are visiting. Bring copies of your resume to distribute. Also try to stand out without being rude by striking up a meaningful but short conversation with representatives of participating companies. This is a terrific way to connect and position yourself with hiring managers.
9. Package yourself. Learn the basic etiquette of job-hunting which includes dressing appropriately, learning the importance of a good handshake, eye contact and thank you notes and emails. Take advantage of the plethora of career articles online which outline all the basic requirements of the job search process. Also visit your university's Career Services office in Moody Hall 134 and browse through their extensive career library.
10. Network extensively. You cannot have too many people in your corner when you are looking to secure a job,
and networking plays a critical role in the process. Networking can be informal and formal. Look to friends, family, neighbors, alumni, even people you meet at grocery stores as having potential to generate job openings. Go to business association events and gatherings. Here people with similar goals gather and it can be a good way to begin to connect with professional contacts.
11. Volunteering is good and good for you. Many professionals are members of their local community organizations, whether because of company sponsorships or because of their own personal interests. Volunteering groups are a good way to connect with people and employers within your community.