Searching for a job is a process. It involves drawing on skills you’ve developed over time including reflection, research, planning, writing, speaking, problem solving and self-advocacy.
Identify your values, skills, interests, motivations and strengths. Also consult Hiatt’s major pages to review the skills and knowledge you have developed as a result of your choice of major. This foundational work will enhance your job search decision-making, as well as your materials and activities including networking, resume and cover letter writing and interviewing.
Research career possibilities and narrow your focus
Be prepared to identify your areas of interest by industry, mission, role, and type of organization. The networking contacts you develop in this research phase will be invaluable. Consider the following:
- Role – Is there a particular function you want to fill? Do you want to be doing particular tasks or using particular skills, regardless of industry? (i.e., marketing, accounting, etc.)
- Industry – Is there a particular field that you want to join, no matter what you might be doing? (i.e., education, corporate finance, museums, etc.)
- Type of organization – Do you want to work in a small or large organization? What about for a for-profit, non-profit, or government organization?
- Mission/issue area – Are you passionate about a particular issue? Do you want to work for an organization that addresses that mission?
- Other considerations – Compensation, geography, and public transportation can influence your priorities, as well.
Prepare your job search materials
Your application materials including your resume and cover letter should be written directly to your audience, emphasizing your most relevant skills and experiences, and speaking your potential employers’ language. Once you have a job lead or job posting, you may customize your cover letter further. If there is an organization that interests you, feel free to proactively send them a cover letter and resume expressing that you would like to work with them and how you might contribute to their organization.
Activate and expand your network
Since networking contacts contribute to over 80% of successful job searches, let your network know about your areas of interest and that you are job searching. Also, take advantage of networking opportunities to expand your network including Hiatt’s LinkedIn group, industry forums and networking events. No one is alone in his or her job search. As you may have already experienced, helping someone get a job or internship is a personally rewarding experience; allow your contacts to be rewarded.
Search for and apply to available positions
You may find these positions through Hiatt’s Campus Recruiting program and B.hired. Also, review company and professional organization websites, and job posting sites. Many job sites are listed in the Career Resource Index generally, by industry and by geographic location.
You may also want to consider registering with an employment agency or recruiting firm. Your previously conducted research will inform this decision. If you are considering working for an organization that regularly hires temps from a particular agency, then register with that agency. If are job searching in a field that regularly uses recruiting firms, like accounting, register with an accounting recruiting firm. Neither an employment agency nor recruiting firm should ever charge you. Research each employment agency or recruiting firm carefully before sharing your information, and confirm that they regularly work with clients at your level of experience.
It’s never too early to start thinking about your job search. While many timelines vary by industry (e.g. finance and government tend to have earlier deadlines than most fields), it is safe to say that the average, active job search takes about three to six months.
You may not hear back from an organization immediately. Consider a follow up email or phone call no sooner than a week after your initial contact. This will confirm your interest in the organization, as well as demonstrate your persistence and initiative. If the organization has requested “no calls” or “no emails,” follow their instructions. The most difficult part of the job search process is waiting. Be patient. For most employers, jobs take months to fill; what may feel like a very long time to wait for you, may be lightning speed for an organization.
If your applications materials landed you an interview, it is imperative that you prepare and practice. Learn more about interview preparation.
If you are fortunate enough to receive an offer of employment, you should know about all your options. Learn more about responding to offers.