Identify your skills by doing a self assessment and be able to articulate them effectively in both your resume and cover letter. Be prepared to describe your unique abilities and strengths and explain how they relate to the job you’re seeking. It’s helpful to write them out on a sheet before you start your resume and cover letter. Ask friends and family to describe you if you are having trouble coming up with your own self assessment.
Focus on relationships and networking
Job searching really is about who you know as much as about what you know. Network with the people you know, including relatives, friends, professors, fellow students and former co-workers. Let them know that you are looking for work; ask their advice; seek out professional introductions via friends. Make sure they know what you bring to a job. Find a search buddy to keep each other accountable. Networking is a two-way relationship; help someone else make a contact and the goodwill you generate will come back to you.
Develop a professional image both online and offline.
Join a professional association. Attend your local Chamber of Commerce Meetings or local networking events. Read industry journals to remain current in your field. Post your profile on LinkedIn and join relevant groups, including alumni ones. Make sure your Facebook and Twitter page is clean enough for your mom to view. Google yourself and make sure the data you find puts you in a favorable light.
Customize Your Resume and Cover Letter
Create a custom version of your resume and cover letter for each job or industry that interests you. Make sure it highlights your skills that relate to the job that employer is seeking to fill. Your cover letter needs to connect the dots from the job posting to your resume. You must convince the employer that you have the skills to do the job from day one.
Create a job search strategy
Organize, prioritize and plan. Make a check list or spreadsheet to help keep track of your job search efforts. Research the industry, companies and even the people with whom you interview. Look for connections. Read their latest press releases and company reports. Find an opportunity to impress and bring value to an organization.
Practice your pitch
Preparation is the key to a successful interview. Know your skills and be ready to illustrate how they relate to the job in question. Practice with a friend to get comfortable with your responses and to formulate strong answers to questions you might not anticipate. Be ready to provide a couple of key stories or examples that clearly demonstrate your experience and expertise.
Follow up is key
Follow up on all leads as soon as possible. If you don’t, your competition may. Call and make sure the employer received your resume. After an interview, always send a thank-you note the same day. Be pleasantly persistent. You can also use services like ResumeBear’s free real time delivery and tracking service to see who received your resume and when they received it.
Have a Plan B
If you don’t land your dream job right away, don’t get discouraged. Find a job to pay the rent and then volunteer or get a second job that keeps you on your career track. Volunteering or Interning for an organization or company is a great way to meet people and find out about a company or organization. For example, it’s OK to be a barista by day and tutor kids at night if you can’t find a teaching job. Everybody starts somewhere. You have a lifetime to create a satisfying career. Do your best wherever you land and keep your eyes on the horizon for your next opportunity!