When should I start looking for a job? That question seems to be on the minds of senior students coming into the CEC lately. Given the challenging economy, it's only natural to be little worried about future job prospects. The answer to the question of when to begin is ... it depends. It depends on the industry, the employer, the type of job, and of course it depends on the senior student - where she is in the job search process. Considering all that is involved in a job search, here are five reasons why seniors should get started on their job search now:
1. It takes time to decide your career direction and discover job possibilities that are a good match for you.
While some students can articulate exactly the kind of job they are pursuing, others have only a vague idea of their direction. Effective career decision making requires self assessment, career research and exploration, doing informational interviews, and managing your time as a student to accomplish all this. Meeting with a career coach is a good way to get started.
2. It takes time to develop your written marketing materials - your resume and cover letter.
Once you have decided on specific job possibilities, it's time to convert your one size fits all resume to one which is has a more targeted approach. Your cover letter will also need to be tailored to match your skills and experience to that desired position. Get some great tips about marketing your volunteer, internships, study abroad and campus leadership activities by watching the video, Back to Basics:Marketing Your Total College Experience to Today's Employers .
3. It takes time to develop a network.
The basis of networking is building relationships. It begins with having conversations with people you know to ask them for AIR - advice, information, referrals or connections to other people. Since 60% of employment opportunities are located through networking, it's important to learn how to do so effectively in informal ways and the more formal informational interview. Learn how to Optimize Your Networking.
4. It takes time to master interviewing.
Fortunately interviewing is a skill you can learn. Preparing and practicing for interviews will insure you will handle them well. Have you prepared a verbal marketing piece and can answer the question, Tell me about yourself? Do you know how to answer behavioral interview questions? Can you confidently discuss salary? Take time to read Prepare to Interview and consider doing a practice interview with a career coach.
5. Employers have their own time table.
Some industries recruit in the fall and some entry level programs have early application deadlines. Campus recruiting for finance, accounting, consulting and management training programs begins in the fall. New grad nurse residency programs have early spring deadlines for applicants.
No matter where you are in the job search process the Career Education Center can help. Check out our Job Search Check List to see what should be on your to-do list.