Expanding Your Career Resources Beyond Campus

Job Search Skills

  • Self-Assessment: Before you begin, it is important to have a clear understanding of what you want and which jobs match your skills and interests.
  • Detective: You must “dig out” the information you need to develop prospects.
  • Communication: You’ll have to rely on both written and verbal communication skills to get a job. Your resume, cover letters, and interviews are essential.
  • Research: You need to be aware of which resources will provide you with prospects and whether those prospects have opportunities for you.

Building a Contact List

Networking is creating a system of contacts both for information and support. It may include anyone from your academic advisor to your neighbor. A key to successful networking is learning how to move beyond initial rejection; every person you contact will not be willing or able to help you. Networking is a refined skill learned through experience. Some good examples of people to network with are members of organizations and clubs in which you are involved and your friends.

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Making Contact

  • Ask for the contact person by name; address correspondence to him/her.
  • If calling, ask if he/she is free to talk at the moment (he/she may be in the middle of a meeting, another call, etc.). If free, explain why you are calling; if not, ask for a convenient time to return the call.
  • State how you got his/her name (who referred you to them for help).
  • State reason for contact (“I have decided to go into X field and would like your feedback on my resume/career goals/job search techniques, etc.”).
  • Ask for his/her help or for the name of another person who could help you. If he/she agrees to help, set up an informational interview.
  • Send thank you letters to contacts, whether the information was of use to you or not.

Questions to Ask

  • How do most people get into this field?
  • How did you become interested in X?
  • What do you think is the best educational preparation for a career in X?
  • Which part of the job is most challenging to you?
  • Do you think there is/will be growth in this field?
  • What personal attributes do you think are essential to success in X-field?
  • What qualifications would you look for in hiring someone for X position?
  • What would you do differently in getting into this job/field?
  • What are the biggest challenges?
  • How does your company compare to others?
  • Are there other related fields/jobs I should be considering?
  • Who else should I talk to? May I use your name?

 

Focused Mailings

Focused mailings involve sending personally tailored cover letters and resumes to a few seriously selected and carefully researched organizations. Follow-up is crucial to success. When utilized with informational interviewing and networking, this is a very successful tactic because of the personalized and tailored nature of the job leads and your response to those leads.

 

Mass Mailings

This approach includes mailing cover letters and resumes to hundreds of companies without researching first. It depends on its sheer numbers to be effective. Its effectiveness is limited, however, by the fact that no contact person exists within the company and by a lack of research into openings within the company. Follow-up is crucial in order to make headway, and therefore, this method can be time consuming and costly.

 

Advertisements

Responding to announced vacancies in newspapers, journals, bulletin boards, newsletters, in-house publications, etc. is a traditional means of looking for a job. These continue to be sources you should utilize, but never let this be your only means of job searching. Positions advertised with Career Services are legitimate positions for which employers are looking for entry-level candidates. However, sometimes positions advertised in newspapers are filled internally before they are posted, or companies advertised in newspapers as a strategy for identifying a candidate pool for eventual hiring. Continue to supplement your responses to advertised positions with other strategies.

 

Third party Agencies/Data Bases

Employment agencies may be successful if you are obtaining an advanced degree and have some technical expertise. They tend not to be as effective for entry-level undergraduates. Caution: there is always a fee involved!! Career Services has a Consumer Guidelines brochure available with options and you may discuss these approaches more fully with a staff member. You can request a brochure in Room 150.

 

In addition

In addition to using these techniques during a job search campaign, it is also important to keep accurate records in order to follow up effectively. Without follow up, you become one of the many faceless resumes received by that company each week and may not be given a second glance. Keep a record of your contact with the company in order to verify details or provide effective follow up to a previous contact. At the very least, you need a listing of the company name, contact person, position title, telephone number, and important dates of contact. One method is to record contacts on index cards and keep them in a card file.

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Another crucial step is the development of weekly goals, so that you force yourself to get things done. This keeps you on track and motivated. It also allows you to check your progress as your job search continues over time. Procrastination can kill a job search.

Sample Goals
WeekGoal
Oct. 1-7To Identify names of 10 companies to contact by resume
Oct. 8-15To send out resume/cover letter to these companies & to chart out names and contacts
Oct. 16-28To begin follow up on resumes mailed out & attempt to set up five informational interviews
Oct. 29-Nov. 12To conduct informational interviews

 

Periodically, you need to sit back and evaluate your progress. Are there things you need to improve? Are you reaching your goals or falling short? Be sure to have some support while you are job hunting. The Career Services staff is always here to help you.

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