Whether you’re a senior trying to solidify your post-graduation plans and secure a “big-girl” job or you’re still an underclassman searching for summer work, finding a job is the worst. After meticulously checking your resume over and over again, sending out cover letters to everyone you know (and their business partners, ex-roommates, friends, dogs, etc.) and waiting what feels like years for a response, the whole process can really take a toll on a girl. Stressing over your job search doesn’t have to take up your entire life, though. Following a few easy and helpful tips can make the process way easier and speedier!
1. Start early
You’ve heard it about a million times because it’s true: the early bird catches the worm. Though it’s tempting to spend your afternoons lazing in the sun and painting your nails, the last weeks of the semester are crucial for job seekers. It’s in these important weeks that interviews are held and positions are offered. The earlier you get on your game and check out career websites, company pages or your school’s career center, the sooner you’ll have a job nailed down. Once that’s taken care of, then you’ll feel less guilty about blowing off the library to hang out in the sun with your girlfriends.
Even if you’re a sophomore or junior, it’s not too soon to start thinking about post-college career opportunities. Schedule an appointment with a career counselor at your school to discuss your future plans, go to networking events and complete summer or academic-year internships to build a base of contacts in the industry you’re interested in working in. They’ll come in handy in the next couple of years when you’re looking for full-time positions!
2. Stay organized
Keeping track of application deadlines, interview times and hiring managers’ contact information can be tricky if you don’t have a functional system for remembering them. Instead of keeping random notes and numbers in a billion different places (your phone, planner and forgotten Post-its under your bed, for example), try using Microsoft OneNote to keep everything organized. With OneNote, you can access phone numbers, interview notes, applications and everything else you use for your job hunt in one place. When you save it all to OneDrive, you can access all of your information anywhere, from your laptop to your iPad.
3. Use your resources
Networking is probably your greatest asset for finding a job, be it a full-time gig or seasonal work. Pretty much anyone can be a part of your professional network, from professors to previous employers to alumni from your school. Under the “Network” tab on LinkedIn, you can find people in your industry who are alumni at your college or university.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people who can help you even if you don’t know them super well. Most professionals understand the difficulty of finding a job, especially an entry-level position. They’ll more than likely be willing to help you out or direct you to someone who can give you a boost.
4. Be creative…
First impressions are key, meaning that your resume, cover letter and presentation (in certain industries) need to be on point, professional and engaging. Being creative doesn’t mean that you have to make your resume into an art project or write a tune to accompany your cover letter; simply using a template from Microsoft Word that is interesting yet professional to create your resume will give you a leg up on your competition.
One neat, creative trick we love is using PowerPoint to create a brand logo (remember, YOU are your own brand!). You can layer shapes and fonts on PowerPoint to create a personalized logo, and then save the image as a picture to include on your resume, presentation and thank-you notes. Potential employers are bound to be impressed by your consistency and artistry!
5. …and persistent
Following up with companies is really important, especially right after interviews. Personalized, handwritten thank-you notes are best, but if that’s impossible, be sure to at least send an email thanking your interviewer for the opportunity to speak with him or her.
If you’re told that you’ll hear back from a company within, say, two weeks, and after two weeks you haven’t heard anything, it’s definitely okay to send another follow-up email to check where you are in the hiring process. Most hiring managers will be happy that you’re persistent enough to check up on them and will understand that you really want the job.
6. Repeat (if necessary)
Sometimes, even if you do everything right and follow all the necessary steps, the job you really want gets offered to somebody else. Don’t lose hope! Everything happens for a reason, and if you don’t get a position, that simply means it wasn’t meant to be. Staying patient and waiting for a job that really fits you will make you happier than settling for a position that isn’t an ideal fit for you. When something doesn’t work out, pick yourself up and try again! The perfect company for you will be lucky to have you on their team.
Finding the perfect job doesn’t have to be the most stressful part of your life. Stay ahead with these easy tips and you’ll be ruling the boardroom in no time flat. We believe in you, collegiettes!