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5 Ways to Propel Your Job Search This Summer

Photo of Roni White

Roni White, associate director of AAP Professional Career Services Center, offers advice to students on how to use the summer months to work on their job searches. Conducting a job search, she says, can be daunting and stressful. White offers these reminders to stay on task:

  1. 1. Be Patient: The job market has many opportunities. However depending on your field, experience, and level of expertise the actual number waxes and wanes.  Hiring managers and human resource professionals have a timeline in mind when a job is announced. Remember, this may not coincide with your ideal start date. It is common that up to 18 months can pass between when you submit your professional documents to when you might be offered a position.

    2. Be Organized: In order to remain in control and be the driving force in your job search, organization is key. Keep a record with a notebook, Excel sheet, Google Doc or any other system of tracking for your search.  This record should contain entries for each job announcement.  In each entry you will want to capture the title, company name, location, username and password (if applicable for online submissions), mission, key requirements/qualifications, salary (if applicable or desired salary), date you submitted the application, dates of contact, dates of follow up, general notes and outcome.  Dedicate a page of your job search organizational journal to listing some accomplishments; goals for your career; and steps you are taking to fulfill your goals.  Use this organizational system to keep a record of names, complete addresses and telephone numbers of former employers as well as former supervisors; this will be useful when completing the application portion of the job announcement. Getting and remaining organized will benefit you in reducing the effects of being overwhelmed.

    3. Be Informed: During this time, research companies you are interested in to gain a better understanding of the mission, vision and goals. Understand which companies and organizations are hiring.  Develop a keyword search by keeping notes of your searches and, more importantly, the position titles that appear in the searches that interest you.  Often times you may have a specific title in mind but different companies may use different titles for similar positions. Utilize multiple job search engines and boards as well as company sites to locate jobs. Include LinkedIn and Twitter in your search if you have professional accounts on these social media sites. You can also use LinkedIn to research companies and discover if you are connected to any employees, which will be useful for informational interviewing.  Ensure you are keeping up with industry demands and knowledge by reading industry-related magazines and journals. Join a professional organization. Developing an understanding of what you are qualified to offer a company and how you can further develop your skills to achieve your career goals will guide your search and bolster your confidence while braving this experience.

    4. Be Professional: Every point of contact you have with potential employers must be presented in the most professional manner.  Whether calling to inquire, submitting your professional materials or engaging in an interview, your goal should always be to demonstrate your skills and expertise.  In this process John F. Kennedy’s statement resonates well, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for...”  Remember to exhibit what you can contribute to the company or organization. Yes, you also want to know how this will benefit your career. However, the company will not notice you in this stage of the job search if you are not showing how the company will benefit by hiring you.  Think about how are you different from other candidates. How will your skill set, your expertise, your interpersonal skills and your experience advance the company’s mission, vision and goals?  Seek the assistance of your career counselor to ensure you are submitting professional documents that represent you and your skills.

    Be Persistent: Applying to job announcements can be discouraging if you don't receive any interviews or feedback.  When possible, contact the hiring manager or the human resource representative to inquire about the position being filled, status of application submission or how your skills and expertise can be utilized in the position (only avoid if there is a statement saying phone calls are not welcome).  When making these contacts, ensure you are presenting yourself in a positive, energetic and professional manner and be ready to discuss how your skills, expertise and knowledge can make a contribution to the company.  Avoid self-eliminating by constantly calling or emailing.

CATEGORY: Academics