The Job Searching Process

By: Logan

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.

job-search-process

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.

logan-at-umjf
Logan at the UMN Job & Internship Fair

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!

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Photo source: Unsplash | Mari Helin-Tuominen

Saving Your Job Searches: GoldPASS Edition

Editor’s note: While this post talks about saving “job” searches, the same tips apply to internship searches.

By: David

Say you find a list of awesome job postings on GoldPASS, but your 2 o’clock obligation is in five minutes. Yet, you have no idea what you entered to compile such an awesome list. Lucky for you, there is a magic button in GoldPASS that allows you to save your searches. Today’s post will be centered on the importance of saved searches. I cannot recall how many times saved searches have…well…saved me from scuffling and shuffling through a website to find the job postings that I was dying to apply for. Many job posting websites have various ways to go about the saved search process, but today I’ll show you the simple way to go about it through GoldPASS. Let’s begin!

GoldPASS
Before jumping in, it’s important to know that GoldPASS can get quite hefty in terms of the amount of job openings that are posted on a regular basis. With this in mind, it’s important to save your searches in GoldPASS before your desired posts get lost in the vast sea of job openings, which is not a pleasant scenario when applying for jobs. Assuming that you already know how to apply and look for positions on GoldPASS, I’ll briefly go over it again in Step 1 and then jump straight into the saving your search process. Fortunately, if you don’t have experience with finding positions on GoldPASS, you can read all about it in a previous blog post, How to Apply for a Position in GoldPASS.

Step 1: Entering KeyWords
So the first step you always want to do is to fill out your desired sections for a job search. To narrow down your search, add specific information and leverage the advanced search option (which I already have opened at the bottom of the image) to better filter your options. A good tip for GoldPASS job searches is to NOT fill out every single section as too many filters can lead you to zero postings.

goldpass-1

Step 2: The Magic Button: “Save Search”
Next up is the holy, magic button: save search. By looking at the image, you can see on the right-hand side where the red arrow is pointing to save your search.

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Step 3: Entering a name for the search
Upon clicking the button, a small window like this will pop up which will direct you to place a name to represent the search. In this case, I’ve decided to name it “Full-Time Entry Level” as I am looking for full-time entry level positions after graduation.

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Step 4: I want to…
Now that you have your search saved, you can always come back to it. In order to do so, go to the “I want to…” button on the left-hand side of GoldPASS as indicated in the screenshot below.

goldpass-4

Upon clicking on the button, it will expand and look something like this (see below). To clarify, you will have to click the “Saved Searches” button to further expand the list of searches that you have saved. From there, you will see the names appear in which you have given a name to each specific search option such as “Full-Time Entry Level” as I have in the previous step.

goldpass-4a

Step 5: Voila!
And there you have it! A five-step process to saving your searches on GoldPASS. Every time you click your saved search options (Full-Time Entry Level, etc.) you will be redirected to the keywords that were saved under that specific category.

goldpass-5

Conclusion
Before leaving, now that you know how to save your searches on GoldPASS, I would highly recommend for you to take this concept of saved searches with you wherever online you decide to apply for jobs. Searching for jobs can get messy at times and it’s never fun having to constantly start from square one. So always, always, ALWAYS save your job searches or at least keep track of them when searching. Till then, keep saving those searches and as always, stay gold.

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From Peasant to Prefect: How to Make your Professional Life as Good as a Fairy Tale

By: Willow

Editor’s note: We’re trying something a little different for today’s blog post. Enjoy!

There once was a peasant who lived far away
She hated her job, she did not want to stay
So she asked her mother, “What do I do?”
Mother said, “Apply to jobs fast or you’ll turn into a shrew.”
“Apply to jobs?” Cried the peasant, I don’t know where to start.
“Don’t worry there is a queen up the mountain who has it down to an art.”

So she went up the mountain, it was a quite a big hike.
She arrived at the castle, it was such a great sight.
She knocked on the door, feeling nervous and shy.
A young man opened it shouting, “You are here, but why?”
“I must speak to the queen, I’m in great job hunting trouble”
“Well then I shall get the queen to help you on the double!”

The queen ran down the stairs, “Who needs my assistance?”
“This young girl,” said the man, “Do you think she can do the distance?”
“I believe in her greatly,” the queen replied, “Let’s get started.”
“I’m ready to work,” said the peasant, “I am nervous though, I might have just farted.”
“… Let’s ignore that, we have work to do.”
“I’m ready to start, and I ain’t no fool.”

“Well first thing is your resume, let’s take a look at that.
Oh! You have many skills and can wear many hats.
Cater your resume to the job that you seek,
Don’t be too flashy, but don’t make it bleak.
You need a cover letter for each application,
Something to make them interested without hesitation.”

“I guess I understand that,” the peasant replied.
“Stick with me,” the queen said, “I’ll be your guide.
Let’s start with GoldPASS, it is quite the site.
I’ll make you a profile, and you’ll see the light.”
The peasant found four jobs she was ready to apply.
But there was so much to do, she let out a sigh.

“Now don’t you worry, we’re halfway there.
I’ll tell you the rest, sit down in that chair.
Each job needs a resume, references, and cover letter,
I’m sure we can show them you’re quite the go-getter.
Think of four people who know you so well,
They should have many good things they are not afraid to tell.”

“Now that you have applied let’s talk interviews
They are quite exciting that I promise you.
Dress as nice as you can, you want to look well,
For your own value you are going to sell.”
“I think I understand, I’m getting this now,
I’m off to get a job, now I know just how!”

So the peasant went off to take on the world,
Her wildest dreams soon unfurled.
She became so many things through her long happy life
From teacher to dancer and even midwife.
So the moral of the story, as you can see,
Get help from the queen and fulfilled you will be.
*Author’s note, in this story the queen is a metaphor for the Career & Internship Services Office, stop in at SCC 22 and see us for your life to become a fairy tail!*

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Popular Job Search Engines and Their Strengths & Weaknesses

By: Logan

In recent years it has become much more popular to use online job search engines.  Online job websites are attractive because you can quickly apply to many positions as opposed to having to go in to each company and apply in person. Using online sites also gives you a better variety of positions and you can easily use filters to find a job that is attractive to you. In this blog post I will review a few examples of popular job search engines and state a few of their strengths and weaknesses. I would like to state I am not endorsing any of these sites, I am simply reporting on the pros and cons of commonly used job search engines.

Online Job Search Sites

One popular site I have used is called “Indeed.” On Indeed you upload your resume and some personal information and easily apply to jobs. One thing I like about Indeed is for some positions you have the option of apply with your “Indeed Resume,” which is basically where you can apply to a job with a couple clicks of the mouse. Instead of filling out a long application you can just send your resume in and the company judges applicants by the information provided. You can search for jobs by location, position, or the name of the company so your results can be as general or specific as you would like. I like Indeed because of its ability to quickly apply to positions and because the site is fairly easy to navigate.

The next website I will review is called “SimplyHired.” SimplyHired has the same general concept of Indeed and other sites, but has some qualities that set it apart. On SimplyHired you have the option of exploring salaries for different careers. You can search by job title or location, compare job offers, or plot your current salary and compare it to local and national averages. One feature of SimplyHired I enjoy is the success stories section. Here you can read firsthand accounts of people who found jobs by using this site and where they are now. I think it is helpful to read these and see how they used the site to their advantage.

Minnesota Works is another great resource for finding jobs and internships, and is sponsored by the MN Dept of Employment & Economic Development. This site is easily one of the best websites to use because it finds a lot of different positions and jobs. One weakness of the site is you have to sign up and provide a bit of personal information. It is a very secure site to use, don’t get me wrong. Some people just do not like to provide a lot of personal information on the internet. And it obviously only searches for jobs in Minnesota, so it will not be beneficial to anyone looking for an out of state position. This site makes it unbelievable easy to find different positions. There are many filters you can use to refine your results such as searching by zip code, county, or region of the state. You can also search by occupation or keyword. Overall I really enjoy this site because of the high number of jobs and internships provided and I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a job or internship in Minnesota.

Although all of these sites are great for looking for positions, you should not forget our most common methods of finding jobs and internships. These include GoldPASS and LinkedIn. GoldPASS is a University of Minnesota service where you can search for jobs, internships, and volunteering listings. Here you can post your resume for employers to see, as well as search and apply to different positions. We strongly recommend using GoldPASS since it is free to use and is a great resource for all University of Minnesota students and alumni. Plus, it’s only open University of Minnesota students and alumni to see, and not to the general public like other job sites. LinkedIn can also be a valuable resource for finding jobs. You can fill out your profile with all of your information and you can either search for jobs and positions, or employers can reach out to you about their listings. If you do not use LinkedIn or GoldPASS I would strongly recommend you create a profile for both because they can be very beneficial for anyone who is searching for jobs. If you’d like assistance starting to use either of these platforms, we host LinkedIn/GoldPASS drop-in hours every Thursday, 2-4pm in our office.

There are hundreds, possibly thousands of job search engines on the internet. The trick is to know which ones are the most legitimate and provide the best outcomes for those using the site. The few I listed above are all great resources to use when searching for jobs or internships. I would recommend taking a look at them all. Each site may have slightly different positions and opportunities, so it would be a good idea to review them all so you don’t miss any opportunities. One of the most important things to remember when searching for jobs is to just be proactive and keep trying! You probably won’t get a callback for every job you apply for, but it is always a good idea to get your name out and apply to many different positions.

Just a reminder, applying for jobs online is just one method of job searching…and it shouldn’t be the only method you use. Our Career Handbook highlights several methods of job searching, and, as always, you can make an appointment with one of our career counselors to discuss your search.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Damian Zelski

Score a Career with the US Government, Part 2

By: Kirsi

Part Two: Resume Builder (Read Part 1 Here)

Gov Resume Builder Header

Photo Source 1, Source 2, Source 3

After becoming knowledgeable with using the usajobs.gov website as a search engine and finding an appealing position in the first post of this series, it is time to create a strong resume with the Resume Builder. The resume you submit using USAJobs is your sales pitch to sell why you are the most qualified candidate for the position. Every job post will list the max number of characters you can use to communicate your worthiness. Some job applications allow up to 35,000 characters which equates to 250 Tweets! I will talk about ways to highlight your skills in each section of the resume.

Build a Resume

To create a resume on USAJobs sign into your account. On you “My Account” page click on the “Resumes” button on the left hand side. On the “Resumes” page click the “Build New Resume” and name it.

USAJob_Create_Resume1

After naming your resume you will see that there are four sections in the resume; Experience, Education, References, and Other.

USAJob_Create_Resume2

Experience

In the first section “Experience” you click the “Add Work Experience” button to describe previous jobs you have had or applicable positions you have held in the US Armed Forces. The best place to communicate your role during an experience is in the “Duties, Accomplishments, and Related Skills” section. You have 5000 characters (about 35 tweets) which you can use to tell a story about how you contributed to a project, demonstrated leadership in the workplace, or solved a challenging problem. I suggest first writing four sentences summarizing your work so a hiring manager can understand your duties in a quick glance. Below those four sentences I suggest diving into a narrative illustrating your work that a hiring manager may read if they want to see more detail in your position. Paint a picture so the reader can imagine things like-  “What your work environment was like?”, “What sort of team of people were you collaborating with?”, “How did you go about problem solving?”, “How is your work significant and who was effected?” Don’t worry about using all 5000 characters, just know that you have plenty of space to strut your stuff.

USAJob_Create_Resume3

Education

In the “Education”section you click the “Add Education” button to add where you attended High School and share accredited Post Secondary Education. To check if your education is accredited click here. The “Relevant Coursework, Licensures, and Certifications” section is a great place to expand on what courses you have taken for your major, projects you have worked on in class you feel is relevant to your prospective job, or a senior design project. Share why your education is unique and why it makes you such a good candidate.

References

When you list a reference be sure that you are on good terms and have permission from the individual you list as a reference. This is a good opportunity to reconnect with folks from your previous experience and catch up. It would be kinda scary to get a call out of the blue from the government and be asked about a past co-worker. Click the “Add Reference” button to enter information about a reference.

USAJob_Create_Resume4

Other

The other section is the most powerful section where you can talk about any missing details from the previous sections. The “Additional Information” section is especially important because you can answer questions like, “I want to work for ____ agency because….”, “I am the most qualified candidate because…” or share a personal story that reflects your qualifications but didn’t fit in previous sections.

Throughout the resume you should include the desired qualifications listed in the posted position if they pertain to you. Some agencies use keyword search to select the first batch of candidates.

You may notice that instead of using the resume builder that on the Resume page you have an option of attaching a resume you made. Some agencies let you do that while others want you to use the Resume Builder so read through the position posting carefully.

When using the Resume Builder highlight your qualifications in the Experience, Education, and Other sections. Be sure to take advantage of the ample word count the Resume Builder and the positions allow. In the next post I will share what government opportunities are available to college students.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Score a Career with the US Government, Part 1

By: Kirsi

Part One: USAJobs Search

Government_Employees

From the Forest Service to the FBI and from NSA to NASA all prospective government employees use the same common application on the USAJobs.gov website. USAJobs is the one stop shop to view all career openings in every agency in the US Government. Being the top employer of US Citizens, the US Government is a perfect place to jump-start your career in any discipline. Psychiatrist as a Foreign Services Specialist, Senior Technical Advisor for the Department of Energy and Credit Union Examiner are among positions found on USAJobs. College undergraduate positions as a Pathways Intern (Co-Op Co-operative Education) are available at various agencies leading up to positions requiring previous employment and leadership experience. Once you find your dream job, prospective employees are recommended to use the Resume Builder on USAJobs to apply for the positions posted. In this three part blog post series I first will share how to use USAJobs as a job search website, second divulge on how to make a stellar resume using the Resume Builder and last expand on unique opportunities college students have with the US Government.

Using USAJobs for Job Search

The home page of USAJobs provides a simple job search offering to sort open positions by keyword and location. If you do not yet have a position or agency in mind and you would like to browse based on your interests you can use the Advanced Search. By clicking under the “Search Jobs” tab in the top right corner you will find the “Advanced Search“. The advanced search allows you to narrow down positions based on your major, previous experience, and work environment preferences.

USAJobs_Advanced_Search

If you are set on working in a particular city or country USAJobs is testing a job search you can perform by clicking a location on a world map. By clicking under the “Search Jobs” tab in the top right corner of the home page you will find the “Map Search”.

USAJobs_Map_Search

Once you find a job of interest scan through its requirements to make sure that you qualify. Do not weed yourself out. If you believe you meet most of the preferred qualifications apply anyway and give the hiring manager the final say. Another important component of the USA Job posting is the application deadline. Often positions on USAJobs are only open for one week due to high visibility and popularity of positions. Since the job opening window is so short it is wise to have a resume ready on hand at all times. That way when the small application window opens only small tweaks would be made to cater your resume to the position. Resume creation will be expanded on in part two, however, we will step through how to make a Profile on USAJobs.

USAJob_Position_Of_Interest

Job Position Alert Emails

By making a profile on USAJobs you can save a position of interest and get updates via email when positions you are interested in are open. To make a profile click “Create an Account” in the top right corner of the home page.

USAJob_Create_Account1

Once you are done creating your profile your “My Account” page will look similar to this…

USAJob_Create_Account2

To get email alerts when intriguing positions are posted click the “Saved Searches” button on the right hand side of your “My Account” page. Click “Create a new saved search” in the middle of the “My Account” page. You will be prompted to answer questions about the opportunity you would like to be alerted about. You can choose the frequency that you are alerted via email.

These are the basic search fuctions USAJobs provides to find your dream Government career. In the next two posts I will expand on how make an eye catching resume using the Resume Builder and talk about unique opportunities college students have with the US Government.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Dating at the Job Fair: Wooing Employers

By: David

With Valentine’s day approaching and job fair season ongoing, today’s post will be juxtaposing the two notions dating and job fair recruiting. Sadly, I will not be giving tips and advice for finding your soulmate at the job fair. After attending several job fairs, I have come to see many similarities between the two and figured it would be fun to highlight a few similarities and differences for this hectic time of job recruiting season.

RESEARCH 

Similar to Facebook stalking, it is important to research your intended company before the initial meet. (Disclaimer: I do not condone any FB stalking behavior). When finding a romantic partner, the new method in today’s day and age is the art of Facebook stalking which allows people to see and maybe know more about that individual (depending on privacy settings of course). Similar to dating, it is always important to “stalk” your intended company to further find more information the company might have because in the end you always want to be prepared to be able to talk about certain things and ask and answer any questions the other party might have for you. The only catch is that it is okay for you to go above and beyond with questions for job fair recruiters but not potential partners. For instance, it is okay for you to talk about specific aspects and details about the company and work ethic. On the flipside, please refrain yourself from talking about your potential partner’s cousin who is newly engaged.  

DRESS TO IMPRESS!

One thing I can not stress enough for both job fairs and dating is to dress to impress! Ideally, it would be fantastic if people did not judge us and could accept us for our great personalities and skill sets, but that’s not always the case. The idea here is not always to physically attract the opposing party (though it can be), but rather it just shows the other party that you are willing to invest your time and effort for them specifically. For job fairs, one absolute criteria is professional dress attire. This is important because it establishes a sense of credibility by expressing your professional side by presenting yourself in a well-poised manner. In terms of dating, it’s nice to show that you invested time and effort to present yourself for the other party in a fashionable manner. Overall, whether it be for professional or personal reasons, it never hurts to dazzle the opposing party by dressing up. For ideas of what to where you can check out our Pinterest boards for women and men.

THE ICE-BREAKER

Whether it be the dating scene or the professional field, one of the most common thing that happens to me is preparing myself to talk to the other party with confidence, but ending up not doing so. My outfit looks sharp, I feel fabulous, and I have the entire conversation scripted in my head. When it comes down to the wire, I instantly freeze, lose all my confidence, and run away to reevaluate my life and my approach. Trust me, it happens all the time! Over the years, I have learned that the biggest obstacle to overcome is the icebreaker. Being creative, personable, and NOT awkward is a difficult task to do for most of us, but is perfected through time. Whether it be the elevator speech for job fairs or a pickup line for a romantic interest, the icebreaker approach is one skill that can definitely be mastered.

All in all, the juxtaposition between dating and job fairs is quite similar when comparing the two. Despite the experience level in either field, it is always a great learning experience to get out there and actually experience the process of job recruiting and dating. Whether it be for professional purposes or romantic reasons, there are key ideas that definitely overlap between the two notions that can be applicable even in other areas as well. Hope you all enjoyed today’s post and look forward to a part II in the far future! Good luck with job fair season and dating (if you are looking for someone) and hopefully you can apply skills from one field to another to increase your odds in your desired goal. Happy trails and as always, stay gold!  

Of Possible Interest: 

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