Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Finding a Job...NOW: Graduating Senior Edition

This entry is dedicated to my classmates who, despite their determination, may be unemployed upon graduation. Stay hopeful friends! Let's find you a job! (Keep on reading for details...)

It has become painfully obvious that our economy is well...not good. As a result, graduates who a few years ago would be be shooing away job offers like flies for being in the wrong location or not with a high enough salary, may be looking at moving into their parents' basement or flipping burgers for the summer while searching for jobs. I know it stinks.

I have broken this tutorial into several parts:

The Basics

The first step to seriously looking for a job is handling all your basic areas that need to be taken care of before you can ever truly be considered for a position. This includes preparing all your professional documents and making search strategies for yourself.

Professional Documents in this case include your resume, unofficial transcript (go to stuinfo.msu.edu to find yours), and cover letter. If you have not created or updated any of these three documents in the last few months, you have not been setting yourself up for success! Go! Now! Update! I'm not going to focus much on advanced resume critique or cover letter writing in this entry so it's your job to do a little research! You can reference my resume breakdown entry from last week for more info on resume writing and important topics to cover.

Making a search strategy for yourself is also an incredibly important part of your search. Here are things you need to put on your strategy:
  • Industries you are interested in.
  • Locations you would be open to moving to.
  • Any higher education (graduate or professional school) that you would like to consider and what would be required to apply (GRE, GMAT, MCAT, etc.).
From the first two bullet points you can get a better idea for what companies you may want to work for.

Other basic steps for your job search include registering yourself on MySpartanCareer (myspartancareer.msu.edu), creating a LinkedIn account, and going to Career Services to speak with a career adviser. All of these basic steps as a whole are incredibly important for your search! If you know you'd like to go to technical graduate school, but haven't even taken your GRE yet, you need to get on that ASAP!

Be Organized...or Flip Burgers

Here's the deal. I know we're not all organized all the time. To be honest, as obsessive compulsive as I can be, when things really start hit the fan even I will become incredibly messy. It happens. Do not let it happen to your job search. Let's face it...companies don't like it when you can't get your act together and keep things straight.

The next important portion of your job search is going to involve attacking job openings from all sides. This includes applying for jobs on company websites, networking, looking at postings on MySpartanCareer, looking at Monster.com, looking at Chambers of Commerces websites, etc. Since most job searches have gone online, it's your job to seek out the positions.

Networking is also a huge part of your job search. Wherever you go, whatever you do, know that there may be an opportunity for you to network with someone that will be important in your job search. For example, I got my internship for this summer because I walked into my work at the right time. It just so happened that my bosses were meeting with a recruiter who ultimately interviewed and hired me within 24 hours of meeting him. If I had come into work that day talking smack about one of my classmates or wearing a pair of smelly old sweatpants I may not be employed right now.

The part of this section that involves being organized is keeping track of who all you've applied to and what has happened with them. Make a list of everyone you have applied to, the positions you've applied to, if you sent "Thank You" notes to the recruiter, etc. Persistence is frequently the reason that a candidate will be selected. I'm not telling you to stalk your recruiter, but check in with them. If a recruiter gets an e-mail or call from your every month or two letting them know that you're still interested in the company or that you've recently won an award for this big senior capstone project, that may mean that when that new opening comes up your name pops into their head. Don't just give up if they don't want you the first time! Giving up = flipping burgers. Giving up is bad...and so are grease burns.

Searching for jobs late in the game can be frustrating, but if you play your cards right, it can still be effective. This is the point in time where you need to focus on making yourself as alluring to recruiters as possible. Having an effective resume, using a cover letter to state your intent and being persistent will all give you an advantage over other job seekers who may not have as much work experience as your or who refuse to use cover letters. When push comes to shove, make it difficult for recruiters not to want you.

I sincerely hope that these tips will be of some assistance to anyone who is still looking for full-time employment after graduation. If you have any specific questions about the topics I've covered please shoot me an e-mail at SpartanJobSeeker@gmail.com.

Congratulations Seniors and Good Luck!

1 comment:

  1. I like this blog! Have a good friend who's graduating today and I'll point her your way. I'm also sending her a great book on the job search process, "Job Coach for Young Professionals." Every college student and graduate can benefit from this book. Students can beging to fill in their resumes while they are still in college and make the best use of career services while they're still at school. And grads? Well, there's tons of good advice in there on all aspects of the search.