May 3, 2016

Job Search: Where to Start

I've been putting off this post for months because I didn't know where to start with it. I'm not currently looking for another job but I know it's May and it's time for a lot of graduating college seniors to start their job search.

What better time to offer some advice!

I was very lucky when I graduated because I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I had a few options: writing, journalism, social media, marketing... in all different industries. I had a few different dream jobs: a journalist for a magazine or online media outlet, a social media coordinator for a brand or a magazine, and a few things in between.

Credit
Not many people are that lucky. You spend 4 years in a major that you later realize isn't for you. I've seen it happen to a lot of my friends and it sucks. It's not that you graduated and went through this major change, but now you're questioning everything you've learned the past four years and have to decide where to go from here.

Well... I want to make it a little easier, no matter your situation. Whether you know what you want to do, or are confused as hell, job searching is the same for everyone: it's a bitch.

1. Write it all down: I made a list of the companies I wanted to work for, the titles I was looking for, and all the skills I thought were related to the jobs I wanted. Writing it down made it more real and was easy for me to keep track of.

2. Research other people: I love creeping on LinkedIn profiles to see what people's job titles are. I look at the places they worked, the places they have worked, and what their skills & qualifications are. It helps to know what employers look for in candidates and it also helps to know what a job you're interested in really consists of. In conjunction with that, research companies you're applying for. Glassdoor.com is the best place to look at reviews of companies, see what past employees have said, and see if it's a good environment for you.

3. Indeed.com: Once you know what you're looking for, it's time to start applying! Make sure your resume and cover letter are in tip top shape (Make sure your Cover Letter is unique for every single job.) and get to applying. I love Indeed.com because it's a simple website to use and they have the best job listings. Some of the jobs you can use your Indeed resume for and it makes life a lot easier. You can search based on the job title or the industry. I usually search "social media, editorial, beauty, writer, staff writer, etc" and you get a bunch of different job options. Indeed is the place to be, in my opinion.

4. Keep track: I find it necessary to keep track of all the jobs I apply for so I know who to receive emails from. I created an Excel Spreadsheet (or even just a note in EverNote) with all the information. I like to write down the company, the position, the person who posted the job listing, the date I applied, and the date I should follow up. Following up with job applications is intimiating but I recommend checking back in within 3-4 weeks of applying. Being organized is key.

Applying to jobs is a job in itself, so it's best to get organized and find a balance that makes you feel productive and comfortable. If you graduate without a job, and don't know what to do to keep you occupied, read this article I wrote for the Huffington Post.

Remember, your first job won't be your last job. Every interview is an opportunity, and if you don't like your job, it's a lesson learned: it'll teach you what you don't want.

Happy job hunting!


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