The Office of Career Services: Job Search Techniques
HAVE A JOB SEARCH PLAN
Your job search plan should include all the activities you need to accomplish before starting your job search such as polishing your resume, having a 60 second commercial (also known as an elevator pitch), phone script and interview preparation as well as all the sources of job leads you intend to use, including informational interviews, your network contacts, job fairs, job boards and cold calling.
You job search activities must be focused. Applying for as many jobs with as many employers as possible including jobs that you are not even minimally qualified for, will not yield the results you are looking for. Use your time more wisely focusing on specific jobs with specific employers rather than wasting your time and energy without a focus. Target a select group with a detailed job-search strategy. Have goals and keep a log of everything you’re doing. For additional information on creating a job search plan please click here.
Networking is nothing more than getting to know people. Networking is an activity to build, reinforce and maintain relationships of trust with other people to further your goals. The vast majority of job openings are never advertised; they’re filled by word of mouth. That’s why networking is the best way to find a job.
Work with family and friends to create a list of people you can contact to assist with your job search. You can also enlist the help of your personal network for support, motivation and introductions. Tapping the hidden job market may take more planning and nerve than searching online, but it’s much more effective.
Gather information from contacts and other persons in your field of interest. Successfully introduce yourself in a way that will make a stranger agree to meet with you by being able to articulate your goals and the value you have to offer. You must also prepare for and complete the informational interview in a way that earns their respect and trust.
UTILIZING JOB SITES ON THE INTERNET
Regardless of the job board you’re visiting, your profile is your chance to shine and stand out from the crowd. Post your resume and create a profile whenever possible. Make your online profiles as complete as possible by detailing your education, your job experience and highlighting any organizations with which you work. When you've finished your profile at each job site, take a step back, look at the overall picture and ask yourself if you would hire this person based on the information. If the answer is no, go back and rework things until you're confident your profile will get you noticed.
Job seekers and passive candidates need to use the right keywords and use them in their social media profile. Make sure you use keywords strategically based on your skills and industry. Employers and Recruiters are lurking – searching for qualified candidates without posting an available opportunity. Employers and Recruiters will search social media using keywords associated with a specific position and/or industry. Be prepared and don’t be overlooked! Use the right keywords, have a robust on line profile and be ready to be found.
Create and save custom searches. Set up job alerts so new positions that meet your criteria will be sent to you. The automated search alerts offered by all the major job sites allow you to search for jobs by location, keywords or job title. You can then opt to have those results delivered to your email on a daily basis. If you sign up to get job search results from multiple websites, you'll have the best chance to catch every available matching job in your industry.
LinkedIn continues to dominate and over 90% of employers and recruiters go to LinkedIn first when looking for suitable candidates. You definitely want to develop a presence on LinkedIn by building and maintaining a complete profile because it also offers more options for customizing and promoting your profile than any other internet site.
Describe your skills, strengths and accomplishments in detail. Incorporate recommendations from faculty, coaches, supervisors and work colleagues. Upload samples of your writing, presentations, projects or design work to your profile.
Join LinkedIn groups for your field of interest and partake in their discussions. Approach other LinkedIn members for information and advice.
LinkedIn also has its own Job Board.
FACEBOOK AND TWITTER
Don’t overlook Facebook and Twitter. Employers and recruiters are also using Facebook and Twitter to search and review candidate profiles prior to making important hiring decisions. Don’t make your social media presence a B horror X-rated movie.
IDENTIFY PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
Google search and identify professional associations in your targeted field. Contact them and join the organization. Approach veteran professionals listed in the membership directory for informational interviews. Attend workshops, meetings and conferences to rub elbows with other members. Volunteer to help organize meetings or other activities so members get a chance to observe how you work.
FIND A MENTOR
While your friends and family may be a great source of support, they may not be well equipped to offer strategic and professional insights on your job hunting. One of the best things to do early in your career is connect with somebody who can help steer you towards opportunities and experiences that will accelerate your career growth and advancement. Start by scanning your existing networks to find a mentor. Once you find someone, remember to keep it professional. Create some boundaries, agree on what you both might take away from the relationship, keep it relaxed and informal but find a way to keep in touch frequently.
DEVELOP SKILLS/EXPERIENCE THROUGH INTERNSHIPS & VOLUNTEERING
Leverage internships and volunteer assignments to gain exposure to a given industry and to acquire skills needed in your chosen profession.
Employers are forced to do more with fewer resources, so they seek employees who are focused, polished and willing to work hard. Unfortunately, a large number of hiring managers say many candidates don't convey these qualities.
- Review your social media footprint and remove photos or other materials that portray you unprofessionally.
- Show up on time for interviews dressed appropriately, with copies of your resume, work samples and any requested materials (e.g., a completed employment application).
- Be prepared to answer a barrage of questions about yourself and how you'd react in different situations. You'll probably encounter open ended behavioral questions like, "Discuss a time when you had to give someone difficult feedback.
- Make sure you can back up any claims made on your resume or during interviews. Be assured that someone will check on your references, degree and former employers.
UTILIZE THE OFFICE OF CAREER SERVICES
Ask for feedback on your resume and cover letters, advice on your job search and improving your interview skills with mock interviews.
If you are experiencing difficulty landing your ideal job, be flexible and consider alternatives. You might be surprised by an opportunity in an unanticipated field. So when in doubt, apply for a job and learn more about the suitability of the position as you go through the process.
If you don't have a job by graduation, consider a post graduate internship if you suspect your target field requires more experience than what you currently possess. You can often pair a part-time internship with a paid service job to generate some income while you gain experience.
You may also have to settle for employment in an unrelated field or at a lower wage while continuing your search. But remember, it’s easier to get a job when you have a job! The position will still provide you with an opportunity to build your network and gain new skills that will lead to more fulfilling and lucrative positions later on.