As the end of the spring semester approaches, many students are searching for jobs, either for the summer or post-graduation. In this post, I provide some basic job search recommendations to Rowan students and alumni.
Define Your Goals – The first step in securing a job is to decide what it is you want, both in the short-term and long-term. Establish what your objectives are. What objectives do you have for this particular job (to make money for school; to add to your resume; to begin a career)? What objectives do you have overall with regard to occupation? Knowing these goals will help you make sound decisions regarding applications.
Define Your Priorities – When selecting a job, there are many different issues to consider, including time (how many hours a week? what times of the day?), location, skills needed and built, what the position will do for your resume, job benefits, etc. It is helpful to decide what elements are most important to you before you begin your hunt. This prevents you from spending time applying for positions that really do not suit your needs and allows you to focus your energy on those most compatible with your priorities.
Develop Your Resume – Writing a good resume has become easier than ever with the availability of software and websites that assist you in that process. When writing a resume, it is important to not sell yourself short (give yourself credit for what you know and have accomplished). But, it is also important to not oversell your capabilities. Claims made about education, skills, etc. during the job application process set the stage for expectations of the employer. If you promise experience, knowledge, or skills that you don’t actually have, you may end up in a job that is a poor fit for both you and the organization.
Find Openings – As with resume writing, finding jobs has become easier than in the past. Websites like monster.com and jerseyintern.com provide an easy search mechanism for positions by type, location, etc. Trade publications, professional organization websites, online newspapers, and traditional want ads provide additional methods to find the perfect job. Finally, don’t underestimate the power of networking in the job hunt. Talk to people you know about what you are looking for; odds are that someone may know of an opening that would work well for you.
Craft Your Letters – You don’t necessarily need to rework your resume for every position, but you do need to be sure to write individualized and carefully crafted cover letters to go along with your other documents. Form letters are often obvious, and they don’t suggest to the employer that you have carefully considered your fit for the organization. Your cover letter is your chance to frame the resume, so that the skills and experience you are most proud of become highlighted. Of course, you should be sure to carefully proofread your cover letter (and resume). Surprisingly common mistakes include misspelling the name of the organization or hiring manager, pronoun confusion, and grammatically incorrect homonym usage (it’s/its, their/there).
Prepare for Your Interviews – Once you’ve secured some interviews, your task does not end. It’s very important to carefully research the organization before arriving for the interview. This will allow you to position your answers in the most compelling fashion for the interviewer and also to determine what questions you need to have addressed so that you can make your own decisions. By following these basic steps, you can increase your odds of obtaining a position that will be best for you.
Good luck in the job hunt! LBA