This seemed like an appropriate post to write since so many people are currently complaining that they can’t find work. Furthermore, I know this is going to make me sound like an ass, but I feel like I did a pretty good job finding my job. When I first started looking in Paris, I went to a job fair where a Master’s and internship program’s advertisement was that ~80% of their graduates found work withing 9 months of graduating.
Gah! I saw this and thought I was screwed! People with masters’ degrees and internship experience were still having that much difficulty finding work?!
Luckily… I did find work. And it didn’t take me that long (just 1 month). So maybe I’ll be able to help a few people out O=]
So here are my 7 Tips for Finding A Job
- Know what you have to offer. What experience do you have? Volunteer work? Languages you speak? Even stuff like waitressing counts–you learn how to deal with people, work under pressure, etc. So make a list of all your experience and skills. Now start thinking about the kinds of businesses/jobs that would find these skills useful.
- Know what you want.What are you interested in? What do you like about your hobbies (important detail since you’re most likely not going to get paid to do your hobby, but knowing what you like about it will help you figure out the type of work you’d enjoy)? Are you passionate about an industry or vocation? (You’re really into computers or love to write.) I really enjoy writing, socializing, and learning new things so Comm/Social Media was a natural fit for me.
- Market yourself. Ever heard of soft skills? (article in NY Times) The vast majority of employers put these at the top of their list of attributes they want in employees. Unfortunately, they also complain that young people today are lacking in them. (And of course I don’t remember where I read this ><‘ promise I didn’t just pull it out of my ass though.) Soft skills are the things you don’t usually learn in school. Things like communication and teamwork (forced group projects didn’t always turn out that well, right?). In order to develop these, you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things, especially activities that force you to communicate, such as sales. A great way to do this is to volunteer for students organizations. They often need more people to help so you’ll be given more responsibility and opportunities to do things and learn than at a regular job (my personal opinion.) Quick tip (1.): AIESEC is an amazing organization. They run an international internship program as well as conferences. It’s where I developed skills such as leadership, sales, writing newsletters, PR, fundraising, giving training seminars, etc. I highly recommend AIESEC! Quick tip (2.): soft skills will also help you give stellar interviews.
- Send amazing resumes and cover letters. Make sure you know how to create a good-looking and effective resume and cover letter. These are the first things recruiters see from you. Want a sure-fire way to make sure you’ll never even get so much as an interview? Send in a lousy resume and cover letter. If you’re not sure how to go about it, here are a few links that will help you get started: About.com: Job Search, The Rockport Institute’s Award-Winning Guide, and Wikihow.com’s guide to writing cover letters. Universities and even city libraries also often offer workshops and consultants to help you in your job search. Besides these sites though, there is one big thing you need to keep in mind: keep what the recruiter wants in mind! Use keywords from the job ad in your resume and cover letter. And don’t just send everyone the same resume and cover letter. Take the time to write one for each job you apply for.
- Be open-minded. Apply for jobs that aren’t exactly what you want or that don’t pay quite as much as you would like. Why? Jobs aren’t always what they seem. The job description doesn’t always explain what you will actually be doing very well, and a lot of companies will customize your tasks depending on your strengths and experience. Furthermore, a company that doesn’t sound as cool and hip as Google or Apple might still have a great job to offer. Case Study: Sophie. I went to a job fair where we did a speed-dating type exercise so that everyone would at least have the opportunity to meet all the other participants. The result? I met tons of interesting people, and kind of forgot about the ones that didn’t sound quite as interesting. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to go when I was called back for an interview at Contract Live. Boy am I glad I went though! At the interview, I discovered that this start-up has a great young team that is very fun to work with, that they’re already pretty successful so they would be able to pay me a living wage, and (Tada!) their philosophy is very young and open so I would have a lot of opportunities to try things an older, more conservative company would never dream of letting their PR people do. So I found the job of my dreams (no joke, I didn’t think I would find it) because I went to the interview that didn’t sound that interesting. Don’t judge a book by its cover!
- Don’t say no to interviews. (Oh, and make sure you dress professionally too! See pic for example.) Sounds obvious, right? Well… what about the jobs you’re not that interested in? You might start to get a little tired from writing resumes and cover letters, and going to interviews. Think about this though: you’ll get great interview practice. You’ll feel less pressure since it’s not a job you really really want! And… wouldn’t you rather practice and mess up BEFORE you interview for an amazing job? And finally…
- Take every opportunity you can. Are your resumes and cover letters up on Monster, LinkedIn, Craigslist and Careerbuilder? No? Why the hell not? Have you been looking into job fairs happening nearby? What about volunteering for a company you really like? Some companies hire volunteers who show a lot of potential. And networking? Chances are someone knows of a job you’d be interested in!
Wow, I feel like all my job hunting and researching over the years have really paid off. I never realized I learned so much =] Hope you find this helpful! Feel free to leave comments, questions, and anything I forgot ❤
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