Heidi:

Last week in my English senior seminar class our professor set aside 30 minutes to talk about job seeking.  She invited a representative from the career and professional development office to give us graduating seniors a lecture on how to look for jobs.  After class many of my peers still wondered how to go about the job search.

I think where our presenter fell short is on the very fundamental/preliminary/”get started” questions.  It’s common for adults to tell graduating seniors the general stuff without getting specific. Unfortunately, it all turns to repetitive rhetoric.  For example, “English majors have the skills it takes to succeed in most jobs, just talk to people and network, and apply to jobs before May”.   While all of that is valid advice, it lacks the concrete, specific information college students (or any beginner job seeker) really needs to begin taking action.

For this week’s blog I thought I would answer some of the preliminary questions I heard my fellow students talking about based on my 7 month long job search and networking escapades.

  1. “Where do I start?/How do I find companies that would suit me?” Use Google first.  Type in “companies + things you are interested in”.  Fill in the blank.  This could be “companies + creative services” or “companies + writing” or “companies + medical”.  This will start to give you an idea of the companies in the field you think you want to go into.  After you find a couple, you can start to do more extensive research on each of their websites.
  2. “How do I find people to talk to about my job search?” Get a LinkedIn page.  Just do it. I can’t tell you how much this has benefited me.  Not only has it allowed me to share my blog and other multimedia projects, it’s allowed me to connect with people I never would have known that I could meet without it.   Real-life example:  I am interested in a company.  I typed that company into the search bar at the top of the LinkedIn page.  ‘How I am connected to [the company]’ popped up and under the company name, my sister’s name came up.  I clicked further to see my shared connection and it just so happens that my sister’s friend from college works at the company.  I ended up reaching out to her and asking to chat for 15 minutes on the phone about the company.  I would have never known this information that I turned into an opportunity if it weren’t for LinkedIn.  Also, it should be noted that the knowledge that I gained about that company through a real person is far greater and more valuable than copy on their “about us” page on the website.
  3. “How do I talk to people about my job search?”  It’s as easy as a quick email.  Just reach out.  My real-life example is proof that it’s easy and informative.  The trouble with this question though is that people just beginning to look for jobs want a “how-to” talk to people.  Well, I’m here to break it to you—there is no “how-to” there is just “do”.  Obviously you don’t want to come off as rude or entitled, but to start all you have to do is reach out and send an email.  You might get turned down or blown off, but the people who you do end up talking to will help immensely.

I hope my experience has helped answer the beginner questions of job seeking.  If you have any advice or experience that has helped you in the job seeking or transition process, please share in the comments!

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