The most effective strategies for securing jobs and other opportunities involve preparation, research, and connections.
Target Your Search
It’s awfully hard to search for any job anywhere. Even though you are open to many options and/or just need a job, research and prioritize at least a handful of options that appeal to you most. You can always expand a search, but it’s very hard to look for the “needle in a haystack.” Narrow your focus by geographic region and/or occupation.
Prepare for the Search
You’ve got a goal in mind, but there are still several tasks to complete before you’re ready to seek positions:
- Develop a “60-second commercial” for short encounters with potential employers as well as a longer “liberal arts story.”
- Develop a resume targeted at the general industries/roles that interest you and be ready to tailor it to each individual opportunity.
- Identify at least three individuals to serve as references (be sure to ASK them if they are willing to serve as positive references before you include them on your reference list)
- Develop interview skills (participate in a practice interview) and obtain an interview suit.
- Create a positive image (e.g. LinkedIn, PirateConnect, professional email address and voicemail message) and beware of unprofessional web presence (e.g. on blogs, Facebook, etc.). No news is not necessarily good news. You want to avoid negative web content, but you also need to have positive web content to “prove” yourself.
- Attend career events to meet contacts and build skills.
Leverage Your Connections
Spend most of your job search time on talking with people you know and can meet – referral is an employer’s preferred method of hire and many positions are never advertised. Networking is the job search strategy with the biggest payoff. Use PirateConnect, LinkedIn, the SU Alumni Directory, professional organizations, and structured networking events such as SU’s Curious Conversations and Career Connections BBQ events.
Research and Apply Directly to EmployersThe Internet is a great research tool, but don’t spend all your time on third-party job boards, which are much less effective. Use your Google skills to search for strings like “Austin television stations” to identify employers who do the kind of work that interests you in the geographic location of your choice. Then go directly to employers’ own sites, where they’re most likely to advertise jobs if they do so at all. Look for “About Us,” “Jobs,” “Careers,” “Employment,” etc.
Attend career fairsJob fairs are a great opportunity to meet face-to-face with an employer’s representative. Getting face time can set you apart from the competition. To prepare for a career fair:
- Visit the fair’s website to see employers who will attend.
- Research employers that interest you by visiting their websites.
- Create targeted resumes for each position that interests you.
- Wear professional attire and carry only a briefcase or portfolio with your resumes.