I remember my senior year in college like it was yesterday. I was stressed out for most of it because I was afraid I wouldn’t find a job and end up living in my parents’ house until I was 30. I was applying to tons of jobs and either never hearing back nor receiving a “sorry” email and I was not sure why. I had decent grades, a college degree (almost), a resume, and a standard cover letter. What was I doing wrong?
The couple of interviews I did go on, I did horribly at. I answered all the questions wrong and did not elaborate on my answers. I never heard back from any of those companies.
By going through this unpleasant process, I am now able to share with you college students what I wish I knew about job search in college.
1. Join LinkedIn
LinkedIn is great. You can post your updated profile, any of your work/projects, as well as recommendation from your ex-bosses or teachers. The more of a complete profile you have, the more likely you will show up in search. The more you show up in search, the more likely a recruiter will find you and contact you. Always have your profile up to date. Include keywords that are important for the industry you want to work in. Include a nice picture of yourself. Include a good tagline. Apply for jobs through LinkedIn and if possible contact the recruiting manager afterwards to let them know you applied and how excited you are about the thought of working at their company.
2. Always Have An Updated Resume On Hand
I can’t stress this enough. Always have an updated resume on hand. Make sure it has correct spelling and grammar, good and simple format, and be well written. You might have to make minor changes to it depending on the job that you are applying for. Most resumes don’t get seen by a human eye, so make sure your resume matches the job description before submitting.
3. Create A Cover Letter For Each Specific Job
Don’t just send the same cover letter to every job you apply to. Customize it to fit the job. Direct the cover letter to a specific person if you can find out their name. Make the cover letter interesting enough for them to want to look at your resume. Intrigue the hiring manager with a story about yourself or list a couple of great achievements and how you can bring what you learned from them to the position.
I know it can be scary to go to Networking events and mingle with people you don’t know, but trust me, networking is one of the best ways to get a job. You never know who you might meet at an event, could be your future CEO.
You can also network on LinkedIn in industry groups or groups in your area, or by directly messaging people who are interested in chatting with. Ask people with a profession that you aspire for informative interview to learn more about what it entails. In return, let them know you are available for an unpaid internship or for some freelance work.
Make friends wherever you go. Talk to anyone near you. You never know who you might meet next.
5. Get At Least One Internship
Getting at least one internship in college related to the field you want to get into is important. Most employers want to see some sort of experience prior to hiring you even for Entry Level positions.
Take an internship even if it’s unpaid. What you will get out of it is going to be worth way more than the minimum wage, it’s experience, something that most college students lack. Your great GPA from a private university is not enough to land you that job you want. Plus you never know, your internship might turn into a permanent job after college.
6. Prepare For Interviews
Never go to an interview unprepared. There is nothing worse than being asked questions you don’t know the answers to. Read up on the interview questions online and hold a practice interview with you counselor or friend. Have an answer ready for any possible question that they might throw at you.
Most importantly, always know what the company does. Showing the interviewer that you know what the company is all about shows them that you prepared and that you actually want the job.
Always be excited at the interview, because why would they want to hire someone who doesn’t care if they get the job or not?
I hope my pointers help you in your journey to finding your dream job!
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- 7 Tips For Finding A Job After College
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