To ensure you can land that summer internship or dream job after graduation, it’s time to jumpstart your job search now!
1. Network, network, network. Eighty percent of jobs aren’t posted. Sixty percent of candidates get a job through networking. The single best way to get a job is to know somebody. Yes, it should be based on merit alone, but unfortunately that isn’t how it works. Tap into as many connections as you can. School alums are a great one. They love to hear from current students about life on campus. Don’t know many alums in positions to make a difference for you? Start emailing the grads highlighted in your school’s alumni newsletter. Congratulate them on whatever got them listed and let the conversation—and relationship—begin.
Don’t forget you can network with your parents’ friends, older siblings’ friends, etc. The Thanksgiving, winter, and summer holidays are a great time to make this happen.
2. Get your resume in order. Since this one piece of paper determines more than anything else your ability to get the job you want, it better be good. Focus on accomplishments instead of job descriptions. Most recruiters will tell you that a majority of resumes don’t sell a student hard enough because they simply list the activities that anyone holding that position has ever done.
If what is written on your resume can be written by the person who had the job before you, after you, or next to you, then you haven’t done yourself justice.
3. Be professional. As a recruiter, you don’t want to call a student at school and hear the following message, “Yo dude, the K-man is rockin’ hard at the moment, so leave your digits and I’ll give you a holla when I can.” Nor do they want to send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. or email@example.com.
Now is the time to find other ways to express your individuality.
4. Start reading "trade" magazines. Every industry has publications specifically targeted to professionals in that field. Usually they have online versions as well. In addition to learning more about the industry itself, you can also typically find job openings. For instance, if you read that Ajax consulting just won a huge account, chances are they may be staffing up.
There are scores of these magazines, and your career center or your professors can help you find the right ones.
5. Research job openings. Sounds exciting doesn’t it? Fact is, you have to do it.
Start looking for companies and industries that really interest you. Comb over their
Some may be hiring now, but many employ “just in time recruiting.” That means they don’t hire until they have a need. And since you can’t quit school right now to take the job (even though you’d like to), they won’t start looking for college students until April or so.
But knowing how they hire and getting contacts at the companies can only help. Also, some may offer internships for college grads, which is not a bad way to get your foot in the door. Check that out as well … sometimes they take applications for summer internships in the winter.
6. Be persistent, not a stalker! You know that Recruiting Director you call eight times a day because they never answer their phone? Guess what – they have caller ID and threw away your resume after the fourth call!
It’s important to remember that there are hundreds of people often applying for the same job. It’s virtually impossible for a recruiter to get back individually to every candidate.
It’s okay to mail a resume, email a resume and then follow up with a call. If you haven’t heard in a week or so, shoot them an email, and then wait another couple of weeks to email again. Try to be clever in the email to grab their attention. But let’s be honest. No one wants to hire a stalker.
If you tackle these six steps, you’ll be on your way to landing a great job!
Brad Karsh is President of JobBound (www.jobbound.com), a company dedicated to helping job seekers with resume writing, interviewing, and landing that dream job. Author of Confessions of a Recruiting Director: The Insider’s Guide to Landing Your Fist Job (Prentice Hall Press), Brad is considered the nation’s leading expert on the job search. He’s been featured on CNN’s Paula Zahn Now, CNN Headline News, and CNBC and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Fortune, and many others.