Months before graduation, the real fun begins. I recommend you start by asking yourself questions about where you see yourself next; think of cities, company size, industry, etc. Once you have a clear vision of what position you’re interested in pursuing, create a spreadsheet. List 15-20 companies that offer that type of position in the top three cities you see yourself living in. Use this spreadsheet as your bible and update it with your progress in the application process for each company; this will keep you organized and on top of things.
In my case, I wanted to be an Account Coordinator handling PR for consumer brands or lifestyle clients at a mid-size agency in New York, Miami or LA. Fast forward a few months, I now handle PR efforts for tourism clients in Miami. Getting a job takes time, effort and strategic thinking, but if you plan ahead and follow these steps, I guarantee you’ll get a job sooner than you think! Remember that everyone has a different timeline and some industries are more competitive than others, so don’t ever get discouraged, because there’s something for each of us out there!
Here are some tips and tricks to strengthen your resume, build your portfolio and network with professors/ industry professionals:
Rework your resume (or even create several versions) if you find yourself torn between interests or shuffling around different industries. In my case, I double majored in PR and Business Administration, so I had a creative/colorful resume for PR-related jobs, and a more professional version for business jobs.
It's also important to be concise and to the point, you can add more details to the cover letter. Also don't forget to keep it in one page and if you want to showcase some of your work then link
your resume to an online portfolio. When sending out applications it is important to proof read (send to friends and family to make sure there are extra eyes reading it before you send it out), send before the deadline and don't use generic action words.
Here's your list of what to include:
1. CONTACT INFO - Add a header with your name, phone number, email, online portfolio/ LinkedIn address. Make sure to include a professional email address. Also, if your job isn't local you may want to consider excluding your address as this may affect your candidacy. If you are applying out of state, make sure you are committed and have an idea of how you are going to make the move happen - just in case they don't cover relocation costs.
2. EDUCATION - School names, major, GPA, relevant courses, scholarships (if applicable).
3. JOB DESCRIPTION - Company names, position, location, dates, and a description of your job tasks and responsibilities. Make sure to use action verbs and not generic ones to lead your description. In terms of employment history you can present this in different ways. For example, chronological order, order of relevance, grouped by field (volunteer, relevant, hobbies etc). Make sure to also quantify your achievements so that have an actual idea. For example, "Boosted social media brand following by 11% in two weeks on LinkedIn and Facebook, and increased online engagement by 25%." Quantifiable metrics make a ton of difference, be as specific and informative as possible.
4. ACHIEVEMENTS - Include relevant certifications, awards and recognition. I would first brainstorm all your achievements and then go down the list and choose the ones relevant for that position. Also, include professional affiliations or organizations and if you have the space include you role and responsibilities.
5.SKILLS - Languages, interdisciplinary skills, etc. You want to have a mix of hard and soft skills (depending on the industry).
PRO TIP: BOOST ONLINE ACTIVITY - Most recruiters will search your online profiles, so make sure that the information on your resume and online platforms (online portfolio, Indeed, LinkedIn) match up to what you have on paper. Lastly, it is crucial to get third-party feedback BEFORE sending anything out. Ask a friend, family member or professor to proof read both your res & cl.
Do NOT send a generic version of your cover letter, it's important to make sure that your details are specific to the position and you show personality and enthusiasm about the position you're applying for. You can create a general template if you have a ton of job apps to push down the pipeline, but it is crucial you take your time and craft your cover letter specific to the skills and experience needed to fill that position. Highlight whatever is relevant from the things you listed in your resume and always refer to it, this encourages the reader to refer to your resume.
Here's your list of what to include:
1. CONTACT - Include your name,contact details and also address the company’s name and contact info (location, recruiter title). Make it personal and include a direct contact's name and position title.
2. 1ST - In the first paragraph, introduce yourself, mention how you found out about the job; whether through someone you know, a career fair, etc. and in a sentence say why you’d be a great fit for the position. Be enthusiastic and passionate, tell them a real emotional attachment you have with the company.
3. 2ND & 3RD - In the second and third paragraph, match your skills to the job tasks listed under the position you’re applying for. Tell them why they should pick you, look at your personal brand and the skills and attributes you want to promote.
4. EXTRA - Include at least three skills and explain how those would be applied to the position. Once again you want to make sure your skills and job description include tangible and quantifiable actions.
5. FINAL - End up with a call to action, whether that’s requesting an interview or an in-person meeting. You want to set yourself up for some follow up conversations.
NETWORK YOUR A$$ OFF
Use your professors as resources to connect you with experts in the industry. If they’re teaching you on a particular subject, chances are they have either worked for a company you’d like to work for, or know someone that has.
Connect with alumni through LinkedIn/email/ wherever! See if they’re available for a brief call to go over their career trajectory and give any professional advice.
Attend networking events such as career fairs and happy hours in order to mingle with other industry professionals.
Make it personal by mailing hand written cards to recruiters, alumni, referrals. People appreciate when you go above and beyond to show you appreciate their time and insight.
Contributor: Analia B.
August 26th, 2017, my official last first day of school and “the beginning of the end” as I used to call it back then. With a mixture of emotions going through my head, I knew that in a few short months I’d be out hustling in the real world. Not even a month into my senior year, I started my job search, in no particular order and without any strategic thinking! It's critical to have a well thought out plan when job searching, not only will it save you a bunch of time but it'll also help you figure out your next steps with clarity.