By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Seniors, the time to start looking for a job is now — even though graduation may be months away. You know the routine for searching job boards online; however, other means and strategies for job hunting bring results, too.
Seek a Company. Don’t look necessarily at a job opening but seek a company that aligns with your career goals and offers room for advancement. Companies prefer having resumes on hand in advance of hiring needs to reduce recruiting efforts. Learn all you can about the company before submitting a thoughtful, targeted cover letter and resume. Avoid sending blanket covers and resumes. Don’t shoot too high; it takes years of experience to land a mid-level job.
Network through social media. Put out the feelers both on personal social media sites, like Facebook, and also professional sites, like LinkedIn. But make your approach appropriate to the tone of each. Especially on professional sites, post about any academic accomplishments, volunteering news or other updates that would help promote your interest in the field. Also post thoughtful comments about others’ posts. But don’t limit yourself to only virtual networking.
Network in person. Order business cards printed with your contact info, educational background, career interests and link to your website and social media. (Sites such as www.vistaprint.com sell low-cost professional cards.) Dress appropriately and hand out your cards as you talk with people at conferences, workshops or expos related to your industry, general business events — as a student, you may be able to attend free or at a discount. Attend city board meetings. Business leaders often attend these and you may learn more about local companies. Go to any open house events or mixers held by companies in your industry. It’s also OK to politely spark conversation with random strangers at a coffee shop, for example, who may know hiring.
Use school resources. SUNY Oswego and Cayuga Community College offer programs and career development services that help in finding work. Don’t neglect these.
Go to a job fair. You may not land a job right there, but you could make a few contacts that can help you later.
Ask your parents and their friends. While some of their generation may not be as astute with social media, they likely know many people well-established in business who know about companies looking for people like you. Make sure they know what type of work you want.
Volunteer. Take a volunteer position within your industry. Not only can you feel good about giving back, volunteering gives you excellent real-life experience, additional entries for your resume and opportunities to meet people in the industry. This may lead to employment with that organization or somewhere else.
Go part-time. Work part-time or freelance/consult within your industry and/or skill set. While it may be overwhelming to work fulltime while attending school, many find part-time work doable and a segue to a full-time job once they graduate, whether it’s with the same company or another.