Beginning the Career Search - are you ready?
Guest Post by Henry Wyett
Beginning the career search can be an arduous and daunting part of one’s college experience. However, if you approach the start of this exciting time in your life with a plan, it can relieve much of the stress from the process. If you have decided what line of work you would like to go into or even have a rough idea of where you want to be, there are approaches and steps you can take to make the process much smoother.
If you have not yet figured out what you would like to do, do not stress! Reach out to people in any professions that seem even mildly interesting, go to career fairs, and if you are a student, sign up for classes that may interest you. Taking initiative is the only way you will figure out what line of work you would like to go into. Also, know that the career you choose may be the first of several. Nothing is set in stone!
However, if you are at the point where you would like to begin searching for a job in a field that interests you, you should begin by doing simple research. First find out if the job you desire requires extra years of school, training, certifications, or prior experience. The job you want may not be the job you can get straight out of high school or college, so it is helpful to know the path it takes to get there!
Regardless of what line of work you are interested in working in, you can begin by researching the alumni network of your school, attending career fairs, and using other databases. Having and utilizing LinkedIn is a valuable resource for several reasons. The website will connect you with people from your school and professionals with mutual connections. For example, you may find that you not only attended the same undergraduate school as a professional but may even be from the same area! Finding a connection like this makes it much easier for you to reach out to that person and write a more genuine and interesting message to them. You don’t need to have an extremely close connection to a professional to talk to your professional network, however. Something as simple as a shared interest can help ease a conversation!
Once you find someone or multiple people to connect with, you can reach out to tell them why you are connecting and inquire as to if you can call or meet them to hear more about their careers. These calls serve as valuable opportunities to learn more about the industry and individual companies, and may even lead to internship or job opportunities!
Regardless of the industry you want to work in, every job applicant needs a strong resume. If you need help building a resume, you can reach out to career services or an older student to help you figure out how to put together a solid resume. There are also plenty of resources online, like these 10 ways to build a professional resume or these best resume and interview tips. Once you have built a cohesive resume, you should feel comfortable applying to whatever jobs interest you.
It can also be helpful to begin a spreadsheet to keep track of internship/job opportunities. While applying to several companies at the same time with varying application deadlines and processes, being organized is key! Keeping contact info, key dates, and notes here will make sure you stay on top of the entire process.
Above all, you will get better with experience. Each call, networking event, successful job interview and failed job interview will make you more comfortable with the process and a stronger candidate. Every professional failed before getting where they are today, so don’t be discouraged if you get rejected! Keep working, the perfect job is somewhere out there waiting for you.