Summer has arrived and it’s the time of year when students and graduates are looking for work.
The Canadian unemployment rate among returning students aged 20 to 24, was 14.4% in May 2014, little changed from May 2013. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/140606/dq140606a-eng.htm
So what can you do to improve your chances of landing a summer or post-graduation job?
Think critically and act strategically.
Common sense may suggest that you apply for as many jobs as possible; however, this approach may prove counterproductive. If this is your current strategy, you may not realize how much time you’re wasting in your job search.
Job search experts often state that only 15 – 20% of jobs are ever advertised, and the typical jobseeker spends a majority of their valuable job search time and energy competing with other job seekers for these limited number of posted jobs.
A more successful approach would be to critically think about what you would like to do and carefully research the positions and employers that seem the best fit in your chosen arena. Strategically begin networking to locate the unadvertised positions and to learn about the key people who work there. Target those appropriate employers and customize (target) your resume and cover letter to each employer and politely follow up each and every contact. This strategy requires you explain your relevant skills and experience for each position and how you qualify or meet the needs of the position. Although this might be more time consuming, this is a much more effective approach then blasting your resume to every email address you can find at your dream company.
Meet professionals for coffee.
In addition to searching for jobs, successful professionals leverage and build personal/professional networks. Society today relies heavily on technology to make connections (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.) While it definitely helps to send networking emails and interact with professionals on social media, there’s an added value when you meet a person for coffee.
Successful job seekers realize the importance of in-person connections; therefore, they take advantage of every opportunity they can to meet professionals for coffee. Meeting professionals’ in-person increases value to your job search. Potentially you multiply the number of people supporting you in a job search, these professionals may not have a position to offer you, but they may know of an opportunity or someone in their network who does.
Understand your job search limitations.
Are you fixated on finding the perfect job? Are you overwhelmed when it comes to writing a perfect resume and cover letter? Does taking someone for coffee cause you to panic? Moving out from your computer traumatize you? Do you feel over or under qualified?
When stressed, successful job seekers face the problem instead of avoiding it; they realize they are not the perfect candidate. However, when there is an obstacle or stressor blocking them from finding a job, they do their best to remove the problem from their search. They seek support from others, tackle one task at a time, and acknowledge their limitations.
Paying attention to your weaknesses creates the self-awareness required to keep you moving forward in your job search rather than taking steps backwards.
Exude a positive attitude.
When your job search doesn’t materialize as planned, it can be difficult to maintain a positive attitude. Discouragement can emerge even to the most prepared and optomistic, whether you’re not landing interviews or you’re getting interviews but no one wants to hire you.
Successful job seekers who experience low points in their job search don’t allow it to consume their search or their positive attitude. They realize every employer has a specific candidate in mind and you can’t always be all things to all employers. If an interview doesn’t end in a job offer, consider using it as an opportunity to learn how you can improve for next time.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, successful job seekers adopt a proactive and professional approach through requesting a five (5) or ten (10) minute follow-up discussion with the interviewer to explore ways to improve interview skills or to prepare for future opportunities. This exudes a positive and professional attitude that may not turn the “No” to a “Yes you’re hired,” but it does present you as a positive person. Most employers like to hire positive professionals.
Persist and remain patient.
No one can predict how long your job search will take, but you have to remember to be patient and persistent. Successful job seekers realize it could take weeks, months, or even a year to find a job that meets their goals. However, they don’t let time get the most of their job search.
Although you feel the pressure to find a job, and even if you’ve continuously applied for jobs for six months and haven’t had any luck, you need to stay focused. Don’t give up on your job search and change your plans just because you haven’t found a job. If you’re struggling, reach out to your alumni networks, mentors, and friends who might be able to connect you with a job.
Consider an internship, co-op or volunteer.
Especially if you’re in university/college or a recent grad with little experience, it can be difficult to land an entry-level career position right away. An internship or co-op may provide some of the very valuable experiences that augment your education.
Occasionally, successful job seekers realize they may need to go the extra mile to land a job and volunteering in the community or with a company provides the experience, validates skills and makes professional connections that facilitates an entry way into a career.
Maintain an open mind.
Landing your dream job is definitely a goal for most students or grads. Although it’d be awesome to land the perfect job that fulfills your passions and provides a nice paycheck, you might not find that job for a few more years.
Successful job seekers realize finding your dream job is a journey. Just because you don’t land your dream job immediately after college doesn’t mean you have to give up on your goals or should stop your job search. Every professional needs to start somewhere, which is why it’s important to maintain an open mind when searching for your first job. Keep yourself open to other opportunities, keep connected with your network, update your skills, take professionals for coffee, exude a positive attitude, remain persistent and keep an open mind.
What are your thoughts to these strategies?
What have you done to be successful?
Blog post influenced by The Brand Muse