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So, you’re ready to make your move, ready for action. Whether you’re looking for an internship or a full-time job after college, the process of looking for the position (and employer!) that’s right for you is pretty much the same and both involve developing a search strategy. A search strategy is a plan or series of steps to help you obtain your goal: getting an offer for a position that fits your interests, skills, values, and personality.
Job Search Facts
The Bottom Line
Developing Your Strategy
As you develop your search strategy, you should:
Define What You’re Looking For
What are your search criteria? Be honest with yourself and the people you talk with about your search (whether it’s your Career Consultant, Career Advisor, or professional contacts you’ve made). Common search criteria are:
Some people think it’s good to be flexible in your job search, and to some extent it is. However, being overly flexible can be a real hurdle. The more you can narrow down what you’re looking for and where, the more likely you’ll be able to uncover viable possibilities. It’s possible that you might have more than one thing you’re looking for though, and that’s fine! If you can describe (to yourself and others) the kinds of opportunities you’re aiming for, you can organize your search appropriately. You may have different methods that you use for different kinds of positions, organizations, fields, or geographic areas.
Field Specific Research
Research can make all the difference in your search. You need to look more like a great potential colleague than a desperate job seeker! There are plenty of desperate job seekers. It’s your job to do the research needed to understand your top employers’ needs and place yourself in situations where you can demonstrate your abilities. Where do you find the people you want to work with?
Assocation websites usually have info on current trends, salary surveys, job listings, directories of accredited graduate/professional programs and more. Check to see if they offer a discounted rate for student members and join while you’re still in school.
Subscriptions to many of these publications can be costly, so make use of copies or electronic subscriptions available through your academic department, or our library.
Social media has a place in your job search process. It can provide some excellent avenues in finding employment opportunities.
Employer Specific Research
Some people are completely flexible when it comes to location. In that case, focusing on field specific resources to identify specific employers is a great move. But if you’ve got some particular geographic areas in mind, or are geographically limited, there are resources that can help you to uncover employers by location.
Once you have created your list of specic employers, research them! Sources include:
The Department of Labor estimates that up to 80% of positions are filled without employer advertising. If you are relying on job postings as your primary job search strategy, you’re only seeing approximately 20% of what’s out there.
We’ve given you methods and tools for finding professionals working in your fields of interest. What are you doing right now to create or establish those important professional relationships? Meeting people gives you an opportunity to learn from them. If you are not sure what career path you would like to pursue, talk with many different professionals as they can help you narrow your areas of interest. Remember, networking should begin long before your job search and often you don’t even realize that you are doing it.
Networking is usually not a formalized process, it is an informal discussion with people you already know, or have just met. In fact, most students use networking all the time without even realizing it. When scheduling classes, have you ever asked a friend or classmate about their experiences, or to recommend a good class or section? When making a (relatively) large purchase such as a new cell phone, athletic shoes, computer, or even a car, have you asked people you know what they’ve liked or disliked about theirs? Have you posted questions (or answers) to online boards discussing these kinds of topics? Guess what—that’s networking!
Networking takes place whenever you:
Since networking can happen anywhere, be prepared to introduce yourself and deliver your pitch about who you are and what you want to do. For some students, this happens at their part-time job in conversations with customers and clients. “You’re a student at AC? What are you studying? What do you want to do after graduation?” You never know when that conversation can lead to a new contact or even an invitation to pass along your resume.
Using Social Media for Networking
Certainly you have used on-line sites to connect with others in order to share ideas or information! Two popular social media sites are Facebook and YouTube; however, there are many other tools that you may choose to use in obtaining or sharing information that can help you develop your career.
Your Career Services Network at Amarillo College is prepared to help you understand the fast-changing world of social media and its importance in your career development. Here is a quick overview of several social media webtools you may want to consider using.
The use of social media in learning about potential career paths, receiving feedback on job search documents (e.g., resumes), connecting with alumni, and networking with professionals in your field of interest is becoming one of the most important avenues for a new generation of successful job seekers.
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