How First-Generation College Students Can Find Internships And Entry-Level Jobs Upon Graduation was originally published on College Recruiter.
By Diana Brush
In a good economy, the average entry-level job search can take from three to six months. In a poor economy, it takes even longer. First-generation students who are searching for internships or entry-level jobs need to make a game plan and stick to it! Start early to develop your resume, gather supporting application materials, practice interviewing, and explore opportunities, and begin to apply for jobs three to four months before graduation.
Keep a record. Since job hunting can take weeks or months, it is helpful to maintain a record. Keep track of the contact information for individuals in your network and prospective employers. Include deadlines, actions taken, and results. In addition, keep copies of job descriptions, applications submitted, and correspondence sent. Use a notebook, database, and/or calendar so your job search is organized and efficient. Review the information regularly to determine if there are steps that need to be taken and also to see how much you have accomplished.
Take at least one step daily. It’s easy to kick back after graduation and hope a job will come to you. However, unless a relative owns a company, that tactic rarely works. Be proactive! Develop a list of job search goals. Get a calendar and write one task for each day of the business week, Monday through Friday. Include time to refine your resume, write application letters, attend professional meetings, meet with people, and follow up with employers.
Grow your NETWORK! LinkedIn and alumni platforms are get ways to connect with recent graduates and alumni to learn about career opportunities with their employers.
Get out there! Pointing and clicking on job boards isn’t the only job search approach. Get out from behind your desk and connect with employers virtually or in person. Take advantage of every available opportunity, such as job fairs, open houses, interview days, site visits and other networking events. A resume can’t tell your whole story to an employer so a virtual or in-person meeting (no matter how brief) gives you an opportunity to provide details about your skills and experience. Show that you’re a professional (in attitude, appearance, and behavior), and let your personality shine. Employers tell us that face-to-face situations help them to confirm if a candidate will be a good fit for the job and organization.
Expand your search geographically. It may be scary moving to another location; however, the more willing you are to expand your search geographically, the more likely you are to increase the number of opportunities in your field. Some areas of the country have been hit less hard than others. Check out the online version of a city’s Sunday newspaper to learn about advertised jobs, housing costs, and other information that will help you to determine the local job market. Review the chamber of commerce’s Website to become familiar with businesses and other organizations in the area that may be hiring. Contact real estate agencies to obtain information on the hiring climate and economy as well as get help in finding a new place to live.
Clean up your profile. Your online image is just as important as your face-to-face image. When you invite people into your social network, you are linking to their networks, the people they have in their networks, and so on. You never know what employers are checking the sites for information on you as a potential candidate so professionalism is critical. In addition, you should be selective about the people you invite into your network because what they include on their own sites and what they say about you could impact whether you get a job or not.
Be patient. The hiring process can be lengthy because there are so many steps involved – the application process, the screening interview, one or more follow-up interviews, background or reference checks, the offer, the acceptance.