September 25, 2017

The Great Job Hunt: Tips for the College Senior + Job Search Spreadsheet

I sent in my first full-time job application on Friday. If you're new here, or just missed it, I'm a college senior and graduating this December. I have fewer than three months to go until commencement, and I'm networking my butt off in the hopes that I'll have a job lined up before it's time for me to walk.

Today, I'm sharing how I've organized my own job search and the tools I'm using to find opportunities in the hope that my fellow seniors might find it useful. But don't this deceive you: despite how organized I've managed to make the process (or make it seem, at least), I'm still nervous, naturally. Good luck!

+ Utilize the alumni feature on LinkedIn.

I didn't know about this feature until I met with an advisor in the career center for the first time last week. To use it, go to your school's page and click on "see alumni." You can then search by company to see who went to your school and works where you'd like to work. Find someone whose role/company matches your professional interests, and send them a message explaining that you see that they're an alumn and that you're graduating soon and would love to learn more about what they do and where they work. The worst that can happen is that they won't respond or that they'll say no. 

Other sites I check regularly for jobs are Indeed, Handshake (check to see if you have an account through your school), and the career postings tab on my university's comm. school website.

+ Make a spreadsheet. 

My job search spreadsheet has two different tabs, one for each location I'm considering working in. On each page, there are columns for company name, links to job application portals/a contact email if no portal, position(s) applied for, and follow-up contact. I also have columns for any contacts in my network and whether or not I've already reached out.

If you want the specific spreadsheet I use, you can access it when you subscribe. If you're already subscribed, check the resource library :)

+ Network like it's your job.

I added a network contact column to my spreadsheet because networking is so important. It can be kind of awkward at times, but I've found that the people I've reached out to are happy to hear from me and happy to help. If someone you know in an organization is willing to walk into the HR's office and throw in a good word for you, your resumé might make it to the top of the review pile. Or maybe someone knows someone who knows someone who can get you an interview. Again, the worst that can happen is that someone won't respond or will say no.

+ Don't rule out anything.

Does a job seem like it might be the right fit for you but you're just not sure? Apply anyway. You've got nothing to lose, and if you are contacted for an interview, you'll be able to address any concerns or reservations at that time.

+ Use your best judgment when applying to positions. 

I'd always thought that I shouldn't apply to a job unless I met all of the qualifications because if I didn't, I'd be wasting both my time and the company's time. I've been told by everyone I've spoken to that this is not the way to go about this; the company will be the judge of this. Example: if you know you could do everything asked of you in a job description— and do it well— except the one bullet, apply! If a position requires you to have 5+ years of experience in a very specific area and you don't have that... don't apply. Best judgment.

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