Student Life

How to Kick Off Your Job Search

Preparing for the job hunt doesn’t have to be hard!

Student Contributor, Mary Bellm

January 28, 2022

Here are a few tips to get you heading in the right direction on your job search, along with advice from current and former students!
How to Kick Off Your Job Search
Don’t know the first thing to do when you start looking for a job? Don’t panic! Monster and Fastweb have your back with advice about resumes and salaries. They also have some great advice regarding the job hunt, and you can find my addition to that collective advice below.

Begin the Job Search Strong

First, make sure to have what you need handy. This is your resume, your references and their contact information, and a work history if you have one. What is a work history? It’s a section on your resume, or a separate page, that details where you worked and what your responsibilities were. I don’t provide my work history in my application; I use it to keep track personally of my salary and start and end dates for the places I’ve worked to make filling out applications easier!
Second, decide how you like to network. In-person and online both have their advantages. Neither is better than the other, and it comes down to personal preference. There is no “right” way to network with others, but if you have a solid network, this will be helpful for finding your first job — or one of your first ones.

Gain Some Momentum

During my first job search, I thought about what I liked to do, and where I would like to do it. These two questions are what can help you the most in the beginning. If you are graduating from college, it’s a bit easier to narrow down what you like to do — you have a degree you can use to eliminate some options!
If you want to work local, professional connections near your college can be very useful, and they can also serve as references if you find a job a ways away! This is where online job boards, like Monster, can be very handy in our digital job-seeking world. Here, you can learn what jobs are available, what the qualifications are, and if your skills match! I would also use your college career center if you’re a college grad. They can put you in contact with alumni, which is a great benefit to using their services since it gives you a basis for forming a professional relationship. Even if you’ve already graduated, it’s worth reconnecting with someone at the career center. It’s what they do and they’re happy to help! If you have any previous employers, reflect on if they would be willing to be a positive reference, or if they would be able to put you in contact with someone who is currently hiring. Remember that summer job from a few years ago, or the volunteer work you did? That’s what I’m talking about; everything comes in handy, especially the soft skills that you can learn from such experiences.

Advice from Current College Grads

To give you an idea of what current college graduates are doing right now in their job searches, I reached out to two of my friends to get their ideas on where they would begin! My good friend, Sami, has quite a unique job search ahead of her. As a current graduate student, she has a foot in the door of a potential employer already! Her graduate school program requires her to fulfill a teaching position in a school district. In her own words, Sami would ask her professors or the district she is teaching in if they have any positions as her first step in her job hunt. My other friend, Ganon, recently graduated this past spring. He will also have a different path than the rest of us: he’s already had some jobs and internships throughout his college years to add experience and connections to his professional network. His main advice for first time job seekers? Make a good first impression! If you have any friends who are graduating now or in May at the end of the school year, it’s a pretty good idea to ask if they have any advice for you! Here’s what my friends had to say about a variety of job-related questions: Q: “What would be your first step if you were looking for a job?” A: “I would ask my professors where to begin. I will be coming out of an internship within a district by the time I am looking for a full time job. I will ask the district I am currently working in if they know of any openings around the area or in the district (if I liked the experience of working for them).” - Sami A: “The first thing is you need to put together a resume, references, and have an idea of what sort of jobs you were looking for and where. I found that I had the same things I'd be handing every potential employer and so it saved a lot of time to do that stuff before I mass applied places.” - Ganon Q: “What are your thoughts on using a college career center?” A: “A career center is what you make of it and I think that it's a super valuable resource, especially if you are the first in your family to go to college and don't necessarily know some of the intricacies of how job hunting out of college works.” - Ganon Q: “Do you have any tips for anyone looking to network in person?” A: “My biggest tip for in-person networking is to always be prepared and to care about the first impression you make. First impressions are very important. Humans tend to make snap judgments when first seeing a person, we cannot help it. While these first impressions can be later overturned through many other great interactions, most people will hold on to a first impression for a long time. When trying to network you want people to have good memories of you, this will already put the idea in their head that you are the person they want on their team or that you are a person worthy of their good word.”  - Sami A: “On the surface level, be sure to present yourself well: dress well, show up on time, be prepared, and show respect. At the end of the day, you're talking to another human being and if you demonstrate that you're an open, kind, and polite person, that'll reflect on how they think of you for future opportunities like a job. Don't be too excessive with friendliness though. That can be spotted very easily.”  -Ganon Q: “Who would you turn to for a recommendation or a referral for a job?” A: “I would turn to someone that has known me for a while and has seen me work in different environments under different amounts of stress. These people can give the most accurate description of what kind of person you are in and out of work. Also someone that you think highly of and that who thinks highly of you. You don't want to ask someone for a job recommendation or referral that you do not get along with because they will tend to focus on your weaknesses rather than your strengths.” -Sami Q: “Do you have any tips for first-time job seekers?” A: "My advice to people is to say "yes" to whatever an employer or professor or otherwise asks you to do because that builds a lot of reputation and relationship with them. [The] [o]ther big thing is that job hunting can take a lot of time. It's ok to take a break. If you get rejected from a job, it does not mean that you as a person is a failure. Job hunting is a big process, often with hundreds of people applying for one position. Just keep applying and you'll eventually get there.” - Ganon That was a ton of great wisdom all gathered in one spot! I was grateful and excited for the chance to talk to my friends about an important topic that we have a unique perspective on; I hope their advice helps to bring a new perspective to the challenges of the job hunt, and assists you in your search.

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