Are you gearing up to apply to a new job after graduation, or a summer internship or apprenticeship? Applying to new positions can be daunting, and you might not even know where to begin. If you want to have your dream job by next month, try this advice.
- Figure Out What Your Really Want
If you’re new to the applicant pool, you might feel you should just apply to every job you’re remotely qualified for and see what sticks. But this has a number of problems. One – your lack of passion will be obvious, and you won’t stand out from other more interested candidates. And two, if you do get the job, then what? Will it be something you hate so much that you want to quit a few weeks in?
If you’re on the search for your dream job, you need to narrow down exactly what that job looks like. Consult a career book like What Color Is Your Parachute? which helps you determine your strengths for an ideal placement. Other sites, like The Muse, offer blogs to help you find your passion.
- Update Your Resume
During the job search process, your resume will act as your first impression. Put your best foot forward with a well-written, properly-formatted resume that helps you stand out. Try including keywords that tell the story of you and the skills you have amassed.
Your resume should list your achievements – not just your responsibilities. And find ways to include numbers wherever possible. If you were president of a club, how many members were there? How many people attended your biggest event? What budget were you working with? This helps communicate exactly what you were doing in clearer terms.
- Start Networking
These days, hiring managers receive hundreds of resumes via email or online portals. With this volume, it can be nearly impossible to look through all of them. That’s why now more than ever, “who you know” is key to landing that dream job. While it is possible to land a job at a company where you know no one, the odds are much better if there is someone vouching for you.
Start by creating a LinkedIn page, and connecting with classmates, former coworkers or bosses, mentors, or even friends of your parents who work in fields you’re interested in.
Create business cards, and start reaching out to anyone you know with a position or works at a company that interests you. Schedule informational interviews to learn more and figure out if that company or line of work is a good fit for your skills.
- Visit a Career Counselor
You might think you can handle applying to jobs on your own. But having someone else proofread your resume and cover letter, help you target companies that are a good fit, and help you prepare for interviews is invaluable. A career counselor is a great resource, because they are intimately aware of today’s job market and what employers are looking for. You can speak on the phone or via video conferencing, or meet in person. Even a one hour consultation can do wonders for your mindset and direction.
- Start Applying
Now, it’s time to send in your applications. Find a handful of companies that you really love, and connect with them in as many ways as possible – LinkedIn, Twitter, Email Newsletter, etc. You can even look to see if they’re attending any job fairs in your area. Just sending a resume via an online portal is often not enough to get the attention of recruiters. Think outside the box (without being annoying) when it comes to putting yourself out there and setting yourself apart.
Now, just keep working at it and one day you’ll get that dream job! If you’re willing to put in the work, reach out to your references, and continue to improve, the right position will find you.