March is Career Month at BBL, which means we’ll be bringing you tons of content about applying for jobs, interviews, internships, setting up your career and more, straight from the experts. To kicks things off, our own Abby shares her job hunting experience and tips she learned.
Within recent months the unemployment rate reached its highest level in 60 years. While the overall unemployment rate seems to be improving modestly, 46% of Americans ages 18-24 are still without jobs. Even worse, that percentage does not take into account the number of people who have found only part-time jobs . As Occupy movements across the United States and protests on college campuses have argued, finding a job is more difficult than ever; and America’s youths are becoming frustrated and outraged that their college education has literally not paid off since many graduates are downing in student loan debt.
Being a recent college graduate who only landed a permanent, full-time job after being unemployed for six months, I empathize with those who are working as illegal interns, moving back home, and giving up on the dreams they were sure would come with a college degree. It is a difficult time to be entering the real world.
But with a bit of fierce determination there are a lot tricks that can be used to move your resume to the top of the pile. I was surprised how many things I learned in my job search that I wish someone had told me. Many of them are simple and can really boost your chances of getting noticed.
- Create a fantastic LinkedIn.com profile. This is one of the first things about you that employers review. It is a great way to make connections and to do research before an interview.
- Take your cover letter and resume to the on-campus career center to be critiqued. And keep returning until they say it is perfect. Not in college? There are websites that will do this as well.
- Many resumes are run though computers and picked out by keywords. Use words such as “leader,” “ liaison,” “teamwork,” etc.
- If your cell phone number’s area code is different than the city where you are applying for jobs, get a Google Voice number with the city’s area code. This shows the computer database that you live in the area. Plus Google Voice numbers are free and transfer straight to your cell phone.
- Edit your privacy settings on Facebook and Twitter. As much as people say they don’t look, they do—especially if it is one of the first results in a Google search. Honestly, that crazy, yet amazing, night you had dancing on tables with your girlfriends really just needs to stay between you and your girlfriends.
- Build your online presence. Make an online web page that displays your portfolio if you have one; then use an online management site such as Reputation.com to protect your search presence.
- Sign up for every career site possible. Even if there aren’t any jobs on these sites that seem as though they would be a good fit, they get your resume out there. People then see your LinkedIn profile, and the whole thing just snow balls. There are big sites such as CareerBuilder and Monster.com, but there are also many sites for each specific career niche. Also, be sure to consistently check job postings of companies that you are interested in.
- Keep an excel database of jobs for which you have applied. List the job, link in your cover letter, the date you applied, and if you heard back from them. Trust me, I applied to over 200 jobs and internships—it gets confusing.
- Once you land the interview, be sure to dress appropriately (this doesn’t always mean you have to wear a suit), and bring extra copies of your resume and portfolio.
- One of the BEST tips I received was that everyone pretty much answers questions the same way in an interview. What really sets a candidate apart is the questions they ask. So when your interviewer says, “Do you have any questions for me?” this is your opportunity to shine. By asking thoughtful questions about the company, you show that you have done your research, and you really are interested in the job.