One of the scariest things for students about to graduate is that they don’t know for sure if they can become gainfully employed. Though a degree from an institution of higher education opens up possibilities that would not exist otherwise, a degree does not guarantee employment. That part is up to you. Though looking for jobs may sound scary, it can be done, and here’s how.
Have others edit your resume
Having a stellar resume is crucial to your ability to find a job. However, a stellar resume is completely useless if there is a typo in your phone number. And even if the errors aren’t quite that terrible, there’s a chance they may come between you and the job you want. Even if you are confident in your resume, having other people give it the once over is never a bad idea. Chances are that you’re not going to look at it yourself any more than you have to, after all. Check and double check for any typos, and have your friends do the same.
Show your creativity by customizing your resume
Are you in a creative field? Show your creativity by getting out of the box of the normal resume format. Change the colors, add a headshot, and include any special awards you have or languages you know. The idea is to make yourself stand out.
For a normal office job, or something that doesn’t require creativity, you should stick to black and white, and Times New Roman font, but you can still make yourself stand out by incorporating any awards or study abroad experience into your resume. There is a lot that you may not have thought of including because it isn’t a traditional job. Did you spend years working for your parents’ business growing up? Include that. Do you do freelance work of some kind on the side? Include that. It all shows something about you and your skills and your work ethic.
Show the employer how they can benefit from hiring you, and don’t think just about what you would get out of working there. You need your resume to be an effective marketing tool and represent the real you instead of just your job experience.
Start looking for a job a year before you graduate
If you are still in school and hoping to land the perfect job and start right when you graduate, it is important to start applying to those jobs before you’re finished with school. Put your expected graduation date on your resume, and an employer may already want to hire you. People who run those companies are usually more understanding about someone still finishing up their degree than you may think. And you never know, if you land your dream job in the middle of your last term of school, your teachers may be understanding about it, too, and excuse your absences if your job will keep you from attending class for the next few weeks. Being successful upon graduation is basically the point of going to college, after all. You can never have too much interview practice, besides, so start lining up those interviews.
Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job
Do you have friends? Do you have family? Any one of them may know someone who could offer you the sort of job you’re trying to get, or at least someone working in that field who may have connections. The important thing is to let people know that you are looking for a job. A lot of success is achieved through word of mouth, and job searching is no exception. Make a list of companies you would like to work at, and use your social network to create an “in” at as many of those as possible.
Don’t just rely on the internet
Hundreds of people are looking at the same job ad that’s on your screen. A 1% chance of being the applicant that the employer ends up choosing is still a chance, but you can boost your chances by turning off the computer and searching elsewhere. Go to networking events, turn in resumes at places that only accept them in person, create a wide network, and utilize your college career center.
Be professional, and not just at the interview
Make sure your voicemail greeting sounds professional. And while you’re at it, get a professional-looking email address, such as your name, if you don’t have one. And employers might check your facebook, as well, so it’s important to make sure nothing that looks irresponsible can be found there.
The interview itself is an important time to appear professional. Beforehand, think about your answers to questions such as “where do you see yourself in 10 years?” and “What are your weaknesses?” Researching the company is always important, as the interviewer will likely ask you what you know about their company.
The job market is tough, but not too tough for you. Keep those aspects of the job search in mind, and don’t get discouraged, and you will land a job.
Amy Klimek is an experienced HR recruiter and VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter, a company that simplifies the hiring process for small to medium size businesses. Prior to that Amy has held similar roles at Rent.com, eBay and US Interactive.
For Amy, corporate culture isn’t about dogs and free lunches, it’s about empowering employees and creating an enriching environment for people to excel.