12 Things To Do Today To Find A Job or Internship

job search tips

February – the month when winter doldrums are overtaking your hopes and expectations. If you’re in college and don’t have an internship lined up or are graduating this spring with no job in sight, things might seem even bleaker. Here are 12 things you can do today to find a job or internship.

Employers always are looking for college students/grads with problem solving, decision making and prioritization skills. An organized job search requires all the above, especially when you are balancing your classes, final exams, and the endless senior year social events.

Here are 12 action steps to find a job that you can take to improve your success rate in your  job search and demonstrate to employers that you have what it takes to be successful in the real world.

1. Finalize your resume. Hopefully, you have one started. Make sure you edit it, proof it and print it. You only get one page for the first 5 years of your career so use your space wisely to highlight your skills and experience. You need to edit out what’s less relevant, which includes your high school accolades. They are too old to be relevant on a resume. And please don’t just reduce your font size. It screams to an employer an inability to prioritize.
2. Create multiple versions of your resume. Each version should be targeted to the types of role that you are applying for. Review job descriptions for key words and edit your resume to include them. Many employers use algorithms to screen resumes for key words. If there are not enough of them in your resume, it will get tossed into the “no” pile before it ever sees the light of day. And please, don’t save it as “alexsmithresumev14”. If you do that, you also will go in the “no” pile.
3. Learn how to write an effective cover letter. It should be short, no more than 4-5 paragraphs on one page, to the point, and supported by examples of your experience, from internships, job and academic experience. Remember that employers hire to fill a need that THEY have, not to fill your needs. You need to be able to demonstrate how you can help THEM. You can find more tips in my blog post on cover letters.
4. Go to your college career office. Take advantage of their resources. You paid for it in your tuition so use it. HELP is not a dirty four letter word, in fact, it’s a sign of maturity to admit what you don’t know and seek assistance. Another trait that employers like.
5. Know your GPA. Below a 3.0? Then it’s a “no go” so leave it off your resume. Get your GPA by semester while you still are on campus. Your GPA might not be what you’d like but if you can show improvement, you’ll have a story to tell. You won’t be the first college graduate that had a rough freshman year.
6. Google yourself. Open an incognito browser and Google your name. Also Google “your name” using quotation marks as this will give you a better picture of what employers will see when they Google you. Lastly, Google “photos plus your name”. This last one may surprise you. Delete anything and everything that might cause an employer to reconsider interviewing/hiring you. According to the New York Times, 70% of recruiters have rejected candidates because of what they have found on line. Snapchat is not as incognito as you might think.
7. Get on LinkedIn. Use that fabulous resume you created as the basis for your profile. Need tips on how to improve your profile? Check out this article for some great tips to improve your LinkedIn profile. Make sure you have a flattering, professional looking photo and a headline that quickly highlights what you are looking for, e.g. UVA Class of 2015 Economics Major Seeking Finance Opportunities. Sporting a cool beard? Shave it and save it ’til you get that job.
8. Take advantage of your college alumni. Ask your career office for names of alumni willing to do informational interviews. Use the alumni search tool on LinkedIn. Your college’s alumni are likely to be among your most valuable connections. College pride runs deep and alumni often are willing to help other recent alums. After all, they once were in your shoes too.
9. Network, network, network. Up to 80% of jobs are found via networking. You are wasting valuable time if you are only searching on, Indeed, etc. ANYONE can find job openings on line, which means that you are submitting your resume into the great black hole. You need inside connections to help improve the odds that your resume lands on the desk of the hiring manager. See #5 above.
10. Practice interviewing. Most entry-level job interviews focus on behavioral questions to assess how you would react in certain situations. Know your strengths, prepare responses and review your resume for examples you can use to support your answers. Just saying that you have great analytical skills in an interview won’t cut it. You need to support it with specifics.
11. Spend some quality time preparing your answer to “So Tell Me About Yourself?” This question comes up in every interview. You need to have a sticky message , one that is memorable and highlights what skills you can bring to the employer. Please don’t start your story with “I’m a senior at…” If you start with today, you are leaving out the bulk of your life and what has helped shape you as a person. You have 90 seconds to answer this so use it to highlight what makes you uniquely you.
12. Close strong. Have a compelling answer to “Why Should We Hire You” that demonstrates clearly why you are the best candidate for the job. If you can’t clearly state why someone should hire you, with confidence, they won’t. If you don’t believe you, why should an employer?

If this list leaves you feeling overwhelmed (a word that you should banish from your vocabulary) versus excited, remember that a small step forward puts you on the path to success. You just have to take the first step. So use this list of steps you can take to find a job and get started now. It’s your future, and it will be a great one, so get going, as time won’t wait.

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About Lisa

Chief Career Catalyst @C2C, former Fortune 500 businesswoman, dog lover, avid skier, mediocre tennis player, golfer, new SUPer, aspiring surfer, cyclist, yoga & exercise enthusiast, happy wife & home chef. I am a regular contributor to the Bangor Daily News, and have appeared on WCSH6 where I offer career advice for college students, recent graduates and young professionals.
This entry was posted in Career Advice, Interview Tips, Job Search, Networking, Resumes & Cover Letters. Bookmark the permalink.

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