Being that I will graduate from UMD in May, I have shifted my focus from strictly schoolwork and internships to finding an actual job upon graduation. This is an exciting and scary time for many graduates. Many people have never had a “real” job before, so once they get to this point they are unsure of the best practices. In this post, I will discuss my own journey and the steps I am taking to lock down a job before May.
Sometimes it is difficult to gauge when you should begin applying for jobs. January may seem too soon since you will not be able to work for several months, and if you wait until April you may have difficulties finding a job since many will already be filled. From what I have learned from my Career Counselors and my own experience, I have found mid-late February to be a great time to begin the search. It is early enough that many positions should still be open, and you are getting your name out early so you can begin making connections and exploring opportunities. One superb resource I took advantage of this year was attending the U of M Job & Internship Fair in Minneapolis. This job fair exceeded my expectations and introduced me to many great opportunities I was not aware of before. A job fair is a great place to make connections with companies, network with recruiters, and explore multiple career options all in one day. By conducting a bit of research before attending you will be prepared to succeed. We have multiple posts about job fairs here on the blog. There are posts about how to prepare, what to do when you’re at the fair, and what to do afterward.
One important piece to remember is to not be afraid to really put yourself out there. Personally, I have applied for a large variety of jobs, even some jobs I did not expect to be interested in. It is important to put yourself out there and explore all of your options because you never know what might catch your interest. If your job search is too narrow you may find yourself having trouble finding opportunities. I’m not saying you should apply for jobs you are not interested in, but be sure to explore many opportunities. Your first job out of college is rarely your dream job, and sometimes you just need a few years of experience to add to your resume before you can land your dream job.
Right now, it seems the most common form of job searching is through internet databases. These can include sites like Indeed.com, Monster, GoldPASS, and many more. Last Spring, I wrote a blog post about different job searching sites and their pros and cons. What I have learned from applying to multiple jobs online is it is helpful to include as much information as you can. On sites like Indeed, you can supply minimal information, no cover letter, and a very simple resume. Although this is the fastest and easiest option, I have found applying to jobs using the bare minimum very rarely results in calls back. If you are going to use these services, make sure your resume is updated and current. Personally, when I apply for a job I am very interested in I attach my resume, cover letter (even if they do not ask for one), references, and sometimes a letter of recommendation if there is a space to add one. Adding these extra credentials will show you are really interested in this job and you put in extra time to apply for the position.
I have more tips on how to navigate your job search which I will continue in my next blog post. These tips can also be used by students looking for summer jobs or internships, this information is all relevant! Be sure to be professional and thorough, and apply early enough so the position you want isn’t filled. Good luck with your search!
Photo source: Unsplash | Mari Helin-Tuominen