Job Search Tips For College Students

Once you have a couple of years of college under your belt and you are nearing graduation, you want to start thinking about finding a job after graduation. The process can be overwhelming and sometimes scary for someone who is going through it for the first time, but these tips will help you get through it easier.

One of the first steps to finding a job after college is to go and look at your college’s career center. You want to make an appointment with a career counselor and they will help you with deciding what kind of career would be the best for you. You can start doing this as a freshman, only because this way you are familiar with where the career center is and they already know who you are when you come back for more lengthy visits. When you become a senior in college, think about visiting the center weekly and that will help to ensure you’re first in line when the job opening hot tips come through.

The second thing that you should do is to remember to start your jobs search early. You don’t want to find yourself with a week until graduation and not have a student jobs lined up. Depending on what kind of career you are looking to have, you might want to do some traveling. For example, if you are looking to get into the pharmaceutics, some of the largest companies are based in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Another thing to consider is taking an internship with a company. There are two reasons that this is a good thing to consider. First, it gives you an idea of what the company is like to work for without you making a very firm commitment. The other reason is that it lets the company see what you are like – your working habits and such.

Of course, when you have an internship on your resume, it looks good to companies who might want to hire you because it shows that you have put into practice what you have learned during your college years. A resume isn’t simply something that shows your work history. A resume is a way to show companies what you have learned and what qualifications that you have to work for them. Education and learning is as important as work history to most companies.

Searching for a job during your college years and after graduation doesn’t have to be difficult and it doesn’t have to be something that you will lose sleep over. As long as you talk to your college career counselors, start out early in your job searching, and consider taking an internship, you’ll find that the job search goes much quicker and much more smoothly. There are resources out there and they are available for the asking but you have to take advantage of them and use them, or else they will go to waste.

11 Tips to an Organized Job Search

So, you are searching for a new job? Perhaps you are making a voluntary career transition. Maybe you have been laid off, or worse, fired. Regardless of the reason for your career move, one fact remains true: if you are conducting a job search, it is vital that you take an organized approach. Managing this search is just like managing any other major project. You must create an infrastructure that allows you to operate in an efficient and productive manner. A successful job search requires forethought and action. Here are some tips for conducting an organized job search.

  1. Declutter and Pre-Purge – If you are looking for a new job, it will be difficult to do so if your physical space is covered in clutter with piles of papers everywhere. Take some time to declutter. Purge any unnecessary items, file papers that you need to keep, recycle junk mail, and get some order back into that space! It will be easier for you to concentrate on your job search without all of that chaos and clutter around you. Just be careful that you don’t spend too much time decluttering that you start using it as an excuse to procrastinate with regard to your job exploration. A few days should suffice.
  2. Create a Job Search Schedule – Let’s face it – searching for a job is hard work! If you are still employed while you are looking for a new position, be prepared to have an extremely busy schedule. If you are currently unemployed, realize that you do, indeed, have a job – conducting a job search! Create a schedule that gives you ample time for all of the activities you need to focus on in order to succeed: resume and cover letter preparation, surfing the web for jobs, networking, interviewing, follow-up, etc. Block out time in your calendar for job search activities and treat that time as you would any traditional work commitment. Be consistent in the amount of time you spend each day and week on new job activities so that you keep your momentum going, and don’t lose focus and miss valuable opportunities.
  3. Get Your Gear in Order – Update your resume, cover letter, references, and writing sample (if applicable). Ask for letters of recommendation and testimonials from previous or current supervisors, co-workers, and professional colleagues. Get some nice new stationery, and stock up on print cartridges for your printer. If you want to use an outside source for printing, some local printing shops will copy resumes for free during an economic downturn, so ask around! Be sure to have a computer with high-speed Internet access. An all-in-one machine for printing, copying, faxing and scanning will also come in handy during a career move.
  4. Create Job Search Central – Set aside space at home (or wherever you will be conducting your search activities) and make it job search central. Keep all of your job-search related supplies in that location, which will make it easy for you to find them when you need them. This will also help you to get into search mode when you are in that space.
  5. Create a Career Move Paper Management System – You may be acquiring a lot of paper in your search: resources, articles, sample resumes and cover letters, business cards of networking contacts, contact-us-later or rejection letters, etc. To the extent that you can maintain these items in a paperless fashion, go for it. But if you have to maintain hard copy paper, be sure to create a job search paper management or filing system, to be stored in your job search center. Keep it simple and use whatever system makes the most sense to you for ease of use (binder, portable filing bin, traditional filing cabinet, etc).
  6. Plan Job Search Activities – Plan out job search activities on a daily basis, such as phone calls to make, resumes to send, online applications to fill out, informational interviews to conduct, etc. Write down your search activities as calendar items, to-do’s, or tasks so that you take them seriously and treat them as measurable goals. Be realistic with regard to what you can reasonably accomplish in one day, but also challenge yourself!
  7. Track Activities – Organizing your job search involves keeping track of all information and communications. Keep a record of where you sent your resume and when, whom you have spoken to, when interviews took place, etc. This information will prove vital when deciding when to follow-up with leads. You can track all of this information using a calendar such as Outlook or Google, or an online tool such as JobFiler.com. Whatever tools you use, it is important that you be able to track the status of your job search.
  8. Manage Job Search Email – In today’s world, much of your job search will likely be conducted by email. Therefore, before you even start your search, whittle down the amount of email in your inbox so that you can hyper-focus on your job search emails, which will add up quickly. Create folders within your email system using categories that make sense to you, such as Companies Applied To, Contacts Submitted Resumes To, etc.
  9. Polish Your Online Profiles – If you are searching for a new job in today’s market, you would be remiss not to develop an online presence on social media sites, especially LinkedIn, which is the most “professional” of the social media sites and can essentially serve as your online resume. But also consider other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The opportunities are endless for employers and contacts to find you online. You may even have your own website, e-zine, or blog. Maybe you post articles on various article-marketing sites, or serve as a guest blogger on other blogs. If you maintain profiles on any of social media sites, or have any type of online presence, be sure to polish your profiles so that they promote the image you want potential employers and contacts to see.
  10. Change Your Greetings – Change the message that greets callers for any phone number that you plan to use for your job search so that it sounds professional, and conveys the information you want callers to hear. Be prepared, not embarrassed!
  11. Stay Positive – The longer a job search takes, the more chance you have of becoming negative about it. Try to maintain a positive attitude to the extent you can by monitoring your progress and staying active in your search. When the going gets rough during a job search, many people take a back seat and give up, which is counter-productive. Try to stay focused and make valuable contacts that are likely to lead to a job. However, don’t be all consumed by your search for a job! Maintaining some balance in your life at this time will serve you well. Get adequate sleep, eat well, see family and friends for pleasure, and make time for exercise.

Organization is one of the single most important things you can do to keep your job search manageable. Just like being organized helps you improve any other area of your life, home, or work, it will also help move along your job search in quick and efficient fashion and with less stress. It may even wind up being the key to finding that dream job you always wanted.

Good luck!

Job Search: 7 Tips for Successful Phone Interviews

The phone interview is such a crucial part of the hiring phase because if you can’t make a good first impression on the phone, your chances of being invited for an in-person interview are nil. Below are 7 tips to keep in mind for successful phone interviews.

1. Choose a quiet environment. Be sure you’re taking the call in a place where you won’t be distracted and where you won’t have background noises such as the television, radio, dogs barking, kids crying, etc. For example, if you are surprised by a call on your cell phone while at the grocery store, ask the person if you can call them right back or put them on hold until you can find a quiet, secluded place to speak. Better yet, ask the caller if you can schedule the interview for a mutually convenient time, preferably for when you can be away from the commotion and can take notes.

2. Prepare as you would for an in-person interview. You might be the type who can answer questions on the fly, and maybe you know the job description quite well by heart. Still, it’s best to prepare ahead of time and have your notes, the job description, your resume, and whatever other reference materials you need within reach. The majority of phone interviews are efficient screening calls made by recruiters. They want to know if you fit the criteria of the job description and if your salary is in the ballpark. Experienced recruiters can usually determine this pretty quickly. However, you might find that some recruiters prefer to have a more in-depth conversation with you, and sometimes it’s the hiring manager who conducts the phone interview. Just in case, you should prepare as you would for a full-fledged, in-person interview.

3. Be prepared to answer screening-out questions. The typical purpose of the phone interview is to screen out candidates. The interviewer is looking for red flags. He or she is trying to narrow the field of candidates and select the best matches to invite in for a face-to-face interview. You’ll get questions like:

  • Why are you looking for a new position? (Answer in a positive way no matter how unhappy you are about your situation!)
  • Walk me through your background. Why did you leave here, why did you leave there… ? (Always give a positive spin to your reason for leaving. Talk about what you did in your previous experience as it relates back to the position at hand.)
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • What was your biggest accomplishment during your last position?
  • What specific projects have you worked on?
  • Why are you interested in our position/company?

4. Engage with good questions. First of all, definitely ask questions. However, don’t ask what could appear to be “it’s all about me” questions. Also, at this stage, it’s better for the interviewer to be the one who mentions money or benefits. These are topics that you might have to address when asked about them during a phone interview, but they’re best left, if at all possible, until the later and/or final stages of the hiring process. Your only goal at this point should be to convince the interviewer that your skills and experience fit their needs. Ask the interviewer how success is defined for this position. Ask the interviewer what are the most important elements of the job description. Ask the interviewer why the position is open. Those are examples of good questions for a phone interview. And, of course, listen well to their responses, taking notes if you can.

5. Speak clearly. This might be an obvious tip, but it’s such a vital thing to remember with phone interviews because it’s through your words and your tone of voice that you get the chance to make a great impression. Keep the mouthpiece near your mouth. Don’t chew gum, eat, drink, or smoke. Sounds are amplified over the phone – the sounds of smacking, chewing, swallowing, and inhaling/exhaling are certain to be picked up. Besides, if your mouth is busy with that other activity, you won’t be as coherent as you need to be when you need to speak.

6. Use the name of your interviewer. Write down the name of the interviewer when you first hear it, and use it occasionally throughout the conversation. People like the sound of their own name, and this easy tip will go a long way in helping you to build rapport. Beware that you don’t overdo it though. The key word here is “occasionally.” Using a person’s name every time you respond could sound contrived and unnatural.

7. Smile. Let the interviewer “hear the smile” in your voice. Some experts says that you should prop up a mirror where you are doing the interview so that you can observe yourself and, therefore, remind yourself to smile. If you prefer not to do that, at least have a post-it note with the word “smile” written on it, and put it where you’ll see it during the call. Phone interviewing deprives you of the chance to communicate your excitement and interest through your facial expressions and eye contact. Your voice is the only way you have to project positive energy and convey how you feel. You’ll naturally feel more enthusiastic when you smile, and your voice will definitely reflect your smile.