Finding a good job is one of the most exciting and intimidating challenges you will face in the near future. There is nothing quite like taking everything you have learned in school and applying it in the professional world. Whether you are looking for a summer internship or for real-deal, grown-up, post-grad employment, there are a few things you can do to make the entire process less stressful and more successful.
1. Look the Part
For better or for worse, looks matter, at least in professional contexts. Having a neat and businesslike appearance at interviews will tell your potential employers that you care enough about your meeting to look presentable. Make sure you have at least one professional outfit on hand? preferably two or three, in case of multiple interviews with the same company. Find a natural and flattering hair and makeup combination, and practice executing your ensemble ahead of time so you can avoid raging at your bobby pins on the morning of a big interview.
2. Mirror Talk
You know all those presentations you did for your classes? They always went a lot more smoothly when you rehearsed your notes out loud, right? The same goes for job interviews. You might have your experiences and qualifications memorized in your head, but under the intense pressure of an interview, your words might not come out as eloquently as you would like. To this end, you should rehearse your answers to some likely questions ahead of time, either in front of a mirror or to a friend. Focus on clear diction and providing useful information. While you are at it, work on your posture and handshake. You might feel silly now, but you will be glad you practiced when you are staring your dream job in the face.
3. Honest Self-Evaluation
As you approach your quest for a job, you need to be honest with yourself about your strengths and, just as importantly, your weaknesses. It is crucial to be aware not only of what you bring to the table, but also of what kinds of obstacles you might face in the workplace. If you know you are lacking in an important skill set, do some research about how you can improve in that area. For example, Jason Hanold, managing director of Hanold Associates, LLC, is careful to identify new hires who have leadership potential. However, he also provides a collection of resources online to help people who are not currently gifted leaders develop the skills necessary to become that way.
4. Resume Prep
Maybe you have heard it a thousand times at this point, but it is worth repeating. having a resume is a critical component of landing the job you want. Make sure that your resume is free of errors, is formatted attractively, and uses succinct but thorough language. Take advantage of any campus resources that are available to you while you still can, like the career center or resume building workshops. These things can help you make your resume the best that it can be, improving your chances of impressing potential employers.
5. Exhaust All Leads
If you are serious about finding a job, then you cannot simply send in a few applications and hope for the best. You need to find and follow up on as many leads as you can. Ask your professors if their research labs are hiring, go to career fairs on campus, and sign up for job lead emails. You can even check out the bulletin boards outside your classrooms for job postings. No matter what, do not be afraid to put yourself out there. You never know what opportunities you might uncover.
6. Schedule Time
There is no escaping the fact that college life is incredibly busy. Between class, work, studying, clubs, and socializing, there is hardly enough time to sleep, let alone apply for jobs. It is all too easy for job hunting to slip through the cracks until it is too late. That is why you need to make time for it rather than waiting until you have time. Whether you dedicate one hour a day or two four-hour chunks a week, create a schedule and then stick to it.
7. Stay Motivated
It can be tough to stay motivated when you are looking for a job, especially if you are met with rejection a time or two. It is important not to give up, even when it feels like you are drowning. Find a quote or picture that inspires you and keep it within sight of your work area, or blast some happy music when your spirits are down. You could also grab coffee with your roommate or hit the gym for a few hours to unwind every once in a while. After you take a small break, you can come back to the task ready to work. Remember, this is an uncertain time in your life, but the stress and anxiety you feel now are totally worth the accomplishment of securing a position that makes you proud. So buckle down, work hard, and let the hunt begin!