By Ashley Collins, AgCareers.com
Looking for a job can be stressful, especially while finishing your last semester of school, working on capstone projects, attending every frat party, etc. Regardless, many of you reading this article are probably finding yourself at that point in your life. With all the stressors you have already, we would like to share with you a few tips to help make the job hunt process a little less stressful.
- Use your network. If you’ve met corporate contacts throughout your time in school, reach out to them. Hopefully you kept business cards, connected with them on LinkedIn or somehow kept in touch. Send personalized emails letting these individuals know that you’re approaching graduation, the type of job you’re looking for, what your recent experiences and key skills are, and attach a copy of your updated resume.
- Look in several places...not just your school website or to faculty. Check online job boards like www.agcareers.com, corporate websites, all-in-one sites like indeed.com or simiplyhired.com, (which search the entire web and pull job postings into one place), social media sites, association websites and industry publications.
- When you do find a job that you’d like to apply for, print off or save a copy of the job description. Go the extra mile and save a copy of the resume and cover letter you sent for that particular opening. This will allow you to not only reference the exact information when you follow up with the employer but will also help you out tremendously if you are selected for an interview. Nothing will get your resume in the trash pile quicker than answering a phone call about a position and asking “what job is that again?”
- Be prepared to look outside your zip code, area code and time zone. In some cases, the perfect job may be in your backyard or in the city of your dreams, but in many cases it’s not. The answer to having more opportunities may be looking for opportunities outside your comfort zone.
- Make things easy on the company you want to work for. Give them accurate contact information on your resume, be available for phone interviews and follow up with thank you notes or emails.
- Before applying to any job, take the time to research the company and make sure that it is a place you really want to work. Find out if they’ve been in the news lately for good or bad reasons. Good reasons will give you small talk conversation starters, and bad news will help you know what to avoid in small talk.
- Don’t just listen to your friends and family. Search for yourself and for the types of jobs you want to have. We’re all guilty of supplying unsolicited opinions, but don’t base all your decisions on what others tell you. You should certainly do your homework, but give every company a fair shake…don’t let one bad egg stop you from getting the job of your dreams!
- Don’t just focus on your resume and cover letter. Hone your skills at sending professional email communications to employers as well as your verbal communication skills. Practice your 30-second elevator pitch to give a well-thought-out but not rehearsed explanation of your interest, skills and desired employment.
- Remember that the ball is always in your court. Don’t just apply for jobs that would be “perfect;” there may not be that many out there. It’s OK to apply for jobs that you think you may be somewhat interested in. You may learn through the selection and interview process that this job, that didn’t seem that glamorous at first, is really the job of your dreams!
- Play it forward and help your friends out. While they may be your competition, many of them may already have jobs lined up where they can refer their friends. You never know when those connections will end up doing you a favor in the long run.
There are lots of tips available that you can implement to make the job search process a little less stressful. Perhaps the most important than any listed above, because it will help you with all the above, is to start early. Start networking with employers early in your college or university career, researching companies, interning, and lining up full-time job opportunities. Every opportunity is an opportunity to make a connection that will help you when it comes time to leave campus and start your first job.
What tips do you have? We’d love to hear from you on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Don’t forget AgCareers.com has tons of great resources to help you through the job search process; not only do we have job postings from thousands of employers throughout North America…we also have a large library of helpful articles, videos and market research available on our website at www.agcareers.com.