Tips for Starting Your Job Search

If you’re a college senior, now is the time to begin your job search (if you haven’t already). Job hunting is frustrating for anyone, but it can be especially difficult while dealing with the stress of school and preparing for graduation. Some tips to help you get started:

Get Your Resume in Order

A strong resume is probably the single most important factor in your job search. Hiring managers view hundreds or thousands of resumes for each position, so your resume must stand out from the crowd (in a good way). Keep formatting simple, stick to the facts, and check for errors. Have other people look over the resume because it may be difficult to spot your own mistakes. For in-depth guidance on crafting a good resume, read Knock ’em Dead Resumes: How to Write a Killer Resume That Gets You Job Interviews (Resumes That Knock ’em Dead) .

A cover letter is an important companion to your resume. A good cover letter should go into more detail about your experiences and goals. It should not be an exact repeat of your resume. Think about what points on your resume could be expounded upon and address them in your cover letter. Just like with your resume, ask for feedback on your cover letter (preferably from professionals in your field).

Establish (or Clean Up) Your Online Presence

A professional online presence is essential in today’s job market. LinkedIn is a great place to start, then try out other great professional networking and portfolio websites. Fill out as much information as possible, and don’t be afraid to reach out to former coworkers, supervisors and professors. Treat your professional profile like another resume, checking for errors and including only career-relevant information. If you have personal social media profiles, make them private and delete any information that might hurt your employment opportunities. Employers do check social media, so don’t ignore this step.

Visit the Career Center

Campus career centers offer a wealth of resources for students. Unfortunately, many students fail to take full advantage of their college career centers. If you haven’t been to your career center in a while, make an appointment. The career center can help with your resume, interviewing, and the job search itself. Check the recruiting schedules and sign up for any upcoming career fairs. Attending career fairs may not land you a job right away, but it’s a good way to learn about potential employers and to expand your network.

Put the Word Out

The best jobs are never listed, so it’s important to establish a network. Networking sounds intimidating, but it’s really just a matter of talking to people about your skills and career goals. A good network includes friends, family, professors, and current or former coworkers. When you have an opportunity, casually bring up your job search. You never know who may be the connection that leads to a great job opportunity.

The job market can feel like a mysterious place where nothing makes sense and everyone plays by different rules. It’s especially tough when you’re new to the game. But you will get better with practice and eventually your perseverance will pay off. For more help with your first job search, read Knock ’em Dead – Secrets & Strategies for First-Time Job Seekers (Knock ’em Dead: Secrets and Strategies from Insiders) .