Preparing to start your job search can be an exciting but also intimidating process. Here, Roselle Glick, M.A., Associate Director of Career Services and Adjunct Instructor at The College of Westchester, discusses what you need to know and how to take advantage of resources that can help you along the way.
Take Advantage Of Your School’s Resources
Glick says, “There are benefits to developing a relationship with your Career Counselor as soon as your first year at college. Visit early and often.” They can offer guidance and advise on things like how to put together a resume that is tailored to your major and to a specific job. They can also help you make sure you’re staying on track towards your career goals. “Your Career Counselor will also assist you in gathering the resources you need to get to where you want to go” such as internship and job opportunities when you are close to graduation and assist you in your job search. Through their coaching and support, they can also help you avoid common mistakes like not optimizing your resume and cover letters, failing to make a strong profile for online job sites, and being too passive.
Have The Essentials In Place
A resume is key, explains Glick. “Students should visit the Career Services Office to have their resume reviewed by a Career Services Professional. Resumes should be free of errors and optimized to become searchable by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). ATS systems are designed to help ease the workload of hiring managers and recruiters by organizing all applicants in one system, searchable by keyword. It is important that resumes and LinkedIn profiles are searchable by ATS systems.” Students should also polish up their social media presence, she says, as hiring managers screen applicants on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. “After finalizing their resume, students can sign up for job alerts using sites like Indeed, ziprecruiter, LinkedIn, or Career Builder.”
Expand Your Search
There are many places to look besides job sites. Visit your school’s Career Center for information on credible job and internship opportunities. Campus career fairs, she says, are a great place to meet employers and see what types of jobs are out there. “Even if you aren’t interested in the positions or companies represented at your campus career fair, it’s a good opportunity to establish relationships with Recruiters and practice talking to employers to learn what kind of expectations employers have for job applicants. Students can obtain a business card and reach out to Recruiters when they are ready to look for a job.” Internships during and even right after school can also be a good place to connect with employers and become more marketable. She also recommends joining a professional network—many offer student discounts. “By joining professional organizations, closely related to their major, students gain access to events, conferences and webinars related to their field. Most importantly, students will be able to interact with other professionals in similar positions and make important connections.”
Network With Intention
“Networking is an important career development and job search tool that is often overlooked by students and job seekers,” says Glick “Networking with individuals in your field allows you to establish connections and learn about potential job openings. Networking opportunities can be a brief conversation with someone in an elevator or an arranged meeting with a professional. First, students should begin by identifying all the people that they come in contact with through activities. These can include friends, family members, relatives and extended family, former and current internship supervisors, employers and co-workers, coaches, clergy, classmates, faculty, career counselors, academic advisors, club and organization members, and professional association members.” She adds, “Asking someone you know who has connections at a company to pass your resume along is also extremely helpful as you begin your job search.”
Intimidated? Start with a virtual networking site like a professional Facebook group or LinkedIn, Glick says, or participate in career-related events on campus that can provide opportunities to meet new professional contacts.