Are you graduating from college soon? Here are some tips from the career centers at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges on how to get a job.
1) Know where to look. Plenty of opportunities are out there. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says well more than 5 million job openings were available nationally in the first quarter of 2017. But you must know where to look. Internet sites such as Indeed, Monster, and CareerBuilder are especially helpful. Employment links on local, state and federal office websites offer seemingly endless possibilities, along with trade magazines and local chambers of commerce. But don’t forget the obvious: Talk to your professors. Ask your friends. Let people know you are looking.
2) Don’t be afraid to seek help. College career centers are a good start, as they typically develop and maintain close working relationships with employers. The Cuyamaca College Career Center and the Grossmont College Career Center offer myriad resources, such as career counseling, help with preparing résumés and cover letters, tutorials on sharpening interviewing skills. Career expos and apprenticeship fairs held by chambers of commerce, labor groups and colleges also are an excellent resource.
3) Invest the time. “It can be a full-time job looking for a full-time job,” said Erica Olmos, employment development specialist at the Grossmont Union High School District and Cuyamaca College. Résumés should be tailored to the potential employer, and that means carefully reviewing a job description and utilizing key words and phrases in that description when crafting the resume and cover letter. Provide in-depth, meaningful answers when completing an online job application.
4) Be prepared. Have your portfolio updated and in order before seeking a job. And because many employers require applicants to provide college transcripts, have those transcripts in hand and on your computer hard drive. Securing college transcripts from an out-of-state or out-of-town institution can be time-consuming, and frustrating if you’re in a hurry.
5) Network. Create a Linkedin profile, which can connect you to employment opportunities that fit your skills and can be critical in having employers connect with you. Learn about the industry you’re interested in. Join professional organizations. Attend mixers. Find a mentor. Job shadow.
6) Internships. Among the mistakes many college students make is waiting until their senior year before they land an internship. Internships provide job skills, experience and connections that can be invaluable during a job hunt once you’ve earned your degree. All the straight-A’s in the world won’t replace job experience.
7) Don’t exaggerate. If you lie, you will get caught. If you can only type 30 words per minute, don’t note on an application that you can type 60. If you don’t know how to use a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, don’t say you do.
8) Stay positive. Everyone gets a rejection letter. Rare is the person who is hired after applying for just a single job. What’s more, it is not unusual for an employer who turned you down for a position to call back weeks, or months, later with an offer for a similar job. Which brings us to our next tip…
9) Follow up. Have you just found out you were turned down for a job after being called for an interview? Thank the employer for taking the time to consider you and let them know you’d be interested should another opportunity arise. Letters and emails go a long way in leaving a lasting, positive impression. And they can often lead to other opportunities.
10) Learn from the journey. Every step in looking for a job can be used as a learning experience. Examine ways in which you could have improved your résumé, improved your interview, or improved your cover letter.