Did you feel overwhelmed by your job search last year? All that can change this year, this semester.
You may know other students who are struggling to find an internship, or have friends and family telling you how hard it is to find a good job in this economy. Don’t feel discouraged. It may be that those job-seekers are going about their search haphazardly, applying to a few postings here and there, and hoping something good will fall in their lap.
You have an advantage: You’re determined to meet your goal and be employed by the end of the school year. But determination alone won’t get you there. Here are some tips to help you strategize your search for a job or internship:
1. Update and polish up your resume.
Before you begin your search, get your resume in the best shape possible. Include your prior jobs, school activities, volunteer work, leadership roles, and skills relevant to the position you’re applying to. Be sure to strategically mention experiences in your resume that are the most fitting to the position you're applying for.
Get feedback on how you can improve your resume. Ask people you trust to look over your resume and give you advice. You can also submit your resume to The Resume Center or LiveCareer.com to get a free critique.
Bonus tip: Create a “master resume” that has all your previous experiences on it. Don’t worry if it’s long. Once you are applying to specific jobs, whittle it down to only relevant experiences for that opening. This will help you keep track of all the skills you have acquired, and still allow you to make the shorter version of your resume pertinent to the position.
2. Switch from Facebook to LinkedIn.
The average Facebook user spends almost seven hours every month on the site. Instead, spend some of those hours on LinkedIn to boost your job search.
Fill out your LinkedIn profile with as much information, using your newly updated resume. Next, build your network by connecting with friends, fellow students, and professors. The larger your network and the more active you are on LinkedIn, the more likely you are to draw attention to your profile.
3. Meet with a new person once a week.
According to surveys, almost half of all jobs are landed through networking, more than any other method.
You can widen your network and increase your chances of landing a job or internship by setting a goal of meeting with one new person per week. Though meetings like these are sometimes called informational interviews, they don’t have to be as formal as a job interview.
Reach out to people in the industries you are interested in, and ask if they’d be willing to have a short conversation about their experiences. Use this opportunity to find out what their career path has been and what suggestions they have for someone in your situation. Be polite, and do not ask for a job flat out. This could insult the person you are talking to.
4. Get involved at school.
You can also widen your network by volunteering for events, joining clubs and activities at school, and attending industry events and meetups. Try to target your involvement to activities and groups that are related to your career goals. This is a great way to meet people for informational interviews.
5. Use your school’s resources.
Colleges are invested in helping their students gain employment, and most will offer resources dedicated to that purpose, such as career offices or job boards. Career offices at school can help you prepare for your job search in a variety of ways. They may offer aptitude tests, mock interviews, workshops, or one-on-one counseling. If you’re not sure where to go for help, ask your advisor or check out the school’s website.
6. Don’t give up.
While determination alone won’t land you that job or internship, it’s one of your best resources. As long as you keep working towards your goal and don’t give up, you’re sure to land a job or internship by the end of the school year.
Looking for more ways to achieve the goals you set out for your fall semester? Check out the previous article in our series: This Fall I Want to Get Better Grades
Adams, S. (2013, April 2). 5 Mistakes College Job Seekers Make. Retrieved from Forbes
Mayfield, J., & Mayfield, L. (2012, March 6). 6 Ways College Students Can Find Summer Jobs. Retrieved from U.S. News