Looking for a job IS a job, so approaching it with a strategy in mind can pay off in the end by helping you get started on your career path. Make an appointment with the Career Services Center to get one-on-one help in coming up with your plan.
1. Have a good understanding of your skills, knowledge and experience — UC has numerous assessments to help you pinpoint your strengths, skills and values, but you are the expert in knowing what prior experience you have. Catalog this information to be used to develop targeted resumes that respond to specific needs outlined in a job ad.
2. Do research! Don't just assume that your degree limits you to a certain type of employer or a certain role. Use online resources, the library, business publications, etc. to dig into the types of companies and jobs that are available. Use government data on sites like O*NET to make sure that the jobs you're considering have growth potential. Another option? Use LinkedIn to research others who graduated with your degree and see where they landed!
3. Network, Network, Network — By now it's probably been drilled into your head that it's not what you know, but who you know. With apologies to faculty (most definitely college is important), it's vital to have a strong network of connections who can help personalize your job search and connect you with others who are hiring. Who is in your network? Everyone you contact. Family, friends, co-workers, professors, staff and acquaintances. Make use of all the people you know. LinkedIn is useful here too, as you can network digitally with individuals from around the world.
4. Track your activities and plan accordingly — Your job search can take anywhere from four to six months, so the trick to success is to plan for the long-haul and set goals for how you’ll land your dream gig. Keep track of where you're applying, and be sure to customize your resume for each position. Know the date you applied, so you know when to follow up (typically after a week or two, depending on what the job ad indicates). Also, track your interviews so you know where you are in the process for each position. Build in time for networking activities and research too. If you come up with a schedule, your time becomes more valuable.
5. Practice interviewing — For most people, interviewing ranks up there with going to the dentist in terms of activities people love to hate to do. But, practicing your interviewing and refining your technique will pay big dividends in the end. Not only will you be more relaxed, but by preparing, you'll have a better idea of how to answer the toughest questions.
6. Follow up — According to CareerBuilder, 57 percent of people don't follow up after an interview. And 86 percent of hiring managers take this to show a lack of interest in the role. If you make it to an interview, follow up! Email is fine, but a handwritten note has a lot more punch. To make it easy, try keeping pre-stamped thank-you cards in your car or laptop bag. Customize a card after an interview and pop it into the mailbox right after you're done with your interview.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always do your research on a company before applying! Also, remember:
- Just by Googling the company (or adding the word "scam" in the search), you'll be able to determine if the company is legitimate.
- You should never have to provide private information (Social Security number, bank account number, a photocopy of your ID, etc.) just to be considered for the position.
- If the company is not well known, don't agree to direct deposit.
- As a candidate for a job, you should never pay a recruiter; the companies do that. You should also never have to pay the company or agree to a wire transfer.
- Be wary of jobs that say "no experience necessary" or if there is very little to no information about the job in the posting.
- Emails from the company should match the company's website domain (i.e., Jdoe@companyname.com, not email@example.com).
- You can always call the company and confirm the job is actually open. If you can't find a phone number for the company, that's probably a sign the company is not legitimate.