by Heather R. Huhman
Most recent graduates embark on the world of job searching without much formal knowledge of how to land an entry-level job–but mastering job search skills doesn’t have to be as difficult as it is sometimes made out to be.
Here are four steps recent grads should take to launch their job hunt:
Step #1: Evaluate yourself. Much of your job search success will depend on how well you know yourself—your interests, skills, personality, values, goals, etc. This helps you determine what exactly you want in a job and how you might fit in to different company cultures, which are crucial to the process of guiding you to the right type of job.
How? Think back to things your parents, teachers, and professors said you were good at—what are your strengths? What do you truly enjoy doing? What skills make you unique? How do those skills relate to a potential position? Write these down and closely compare job opportunities with your strengths and values.
Step #2: Get networking. Most recent grads have no problems using social networking tools, but there’s more to networking than making connections online. Networking in real life—at events, meetups, and conferences—is something you can master with time and practice. Plus, in-person connections are often stronger and more beneficial to your career.
How? Keep a lookout for conferences and events related to your industry. Attend as many professional networking opportunities as possible. Step outside of your comfort zone in order to make personal connections and follow up with people you meet.
Step #3: Sharpen your writing skills. Knowing how to write is a crucial skill for a number of reasons. First of all, your resume and cover letter are often the first impression you will make on an employer; yout writing determines how you come across on these initial documents. Your job search will also require you to rewrite these documents a number of times for different purposes. Stellar written communication skills are necessary for a majority of fields—from marketing and education to engineering and public relations. It’s particularly important in today’s job market since a lot of companies are turning to virtual and remote workers today to cut costs.
How? Practice, practice, practice. Start a blog and write on topics of interest relating to your industry. Tailor every resume and cover letter to the job opening until it becomes second nature.
Step #4: Practice interviewing. Interviewing effectively is something every job seeker must master. As a recent grad, you must take every interview opportunity to become more comfortable speaking about yourself.
How? The career services center at your alma mater can provide the opportunity to mock interview, but you can also set up informational interviews with professionals in your field to develop your skills and get real feedback.
What other steps should recent graduates take to master their job search skills?