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Posts Tagged ‘job-hunt’

Recent Grads: 4 Steps to Master Your Job Search Skills

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

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?

How to Evaluate a Job Offer

Friday, June 8th, 2012

By Alison Green

In this economy, it’s easy to feel like you should jump at any job offer that comes along—but doing that could land you in a job that would make you miserable and could even harm you professionally. So in your excitement over receiving a job offer, don’t forget to evaluate whether this is really the right opportunity for you. Here are crucial factors to consider before you say yes.

  • Evaluate the salary. You likely have a salary range in mind, one that’s based on market rates and that you’re willing to accept. If the offer is below this range, now is the time to try to negotiate a higher salary.
  • Evaluate the benefits. A generous benefits package can make up for a lower salary, especially if you’re saving money on health care, permitted to work a flexible schedule, or getting more vacation time than you’d anticipated.
  • Evaluate the culture. If the workplace is formal and you prefer a relaxed environment, or if it’s an aggressive, competitive culture and you’re more low-key and reserved, this might not be a comfortable fit for you. You’ll spend a large portion of your waking life at this job, so make sure you’ll be happy there.
  • Evaluate the manager. Remember the old saying that “people leave bosses, not jobs.” No matter how much the work appeals to you, a terrible manager can make coming to work incredibly unpleasant. Make sure the manager is someone you’ll be glad (or at least willing) to work with.
  • Evaluate the job itself. Be honest with yourself about whether the work is something you’ll excel in. Stretching yourself is good, but you don’t want to bluff your way into a job you’re not actually qualified for. If the work doesn’t play to your strengths, you’ll struggle and could end up harming your reputation or even getting fired.
  • Look at the big picture. How will this job fit in with your overall career path? Will it move you forward in the right direction, or take you on a detour you’d rather avoid? Even if it’s not the path you expected to take, could this job become a stepping stone to a position that excites you? What will be your next logical step when it’s time to move on?
  • Ask any outstanding questions. Do you have a good grasp on the manager’s style, the culture, and exactly what you’ll be expected to achieve? Do you know what the typical hours are and whether much travel will be involved? If not, now is the time to ask.
  • Listen to your gut. Unless your instincts often steer you wrong, you should pay attention if your gut is setting off alarm bells. If something doesn’t feel right, whether it’s your interactions with your prospective boss or the details about your daily responsibilities, pay attention.

And remember to always get every detail of a job offer in writing. Otherwise, you won’t have much recourse if you start the job and notice that the insurance premium you thought would be covered actually isn’t, or that the relocation stipend you were promised suddenly shrinks. Getting these details in writing covers you in case there’s a misunderstanding later, and it guarantees the agreement will stick even if the person you’re dealing with leaves the company and her replacement doesn’t know anything about the special deal you negotiated.

How to Build a Network

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

By Andrea Santiago

Job search experts, career counselors and coaches are constantly touting the benefits of professional networking. For many job seekers and professionals, establishing and building a network is not that simple. Many wonder where to begin, and with whom to connect. How exactly do you build a resourceful, dynamic network that can actually help you with job search or career advancement?

Network early, and often. (And don’t stop networking!) It’s never too early to start networking. Building a network is a marathon, not a sprint. If possible, start building your network before you’re in dire need of a job. Devote a few minutes a day several times per week to networking. Even when you are gainfully, happily employed, you should always continue networking to help you learn more about your industry, advance your career, or develop relationships with potential clients.

Give before you receive. The most effective networkers are able to provide value to their connections, whether it’s industry knowledge, professional introductions, or assistance with any defined need. Dan Schawbel, personal branding expert, offers this advice in an online interview: “Figure out a way to help…in some fashion. Give value to others without asking for anything in return.”

Use online and offline networking resources. Social networking sites are a very effective tool for building your professional network. However, be careful not to get lost in cyberspace! Get out for quality face time at networking events, conferences, interviews, etc., as well as general face-to-face social interaction of any type!

Online Networking

Account set-up is only the beginning. If you were attending a professional conference or trade show, would you set up your booth and then walk away, leaving it alone, and expect prospects to flock to your empty, unmanned station? The same applies to online social networking. For success in building your network, you must remain active, post updates (preferably ones with some value to your network), and continually invite others to connect with you. Joining the network is just the first step. A blank, dormant account will not attract worthwhile connections.

Focus on Proven Networks. There are hundreds of networking sites, and deciding where to begin can be overwhelming. Start with one network, and then add one or two more if needed. LinkedIn is a great starting point, and a convenient home base for maintaining your network. Eventually you may want to also join a network specific to your industry or professional role, if there is a strong, active site pertaining to your career.

Respond and interact with others. Networking should include mutual interaction. While it’s important to post updates and links from your account, it’s equally important to comment, “like”, and share updates and posts from others’ accounts, particularly those of key influencers. By doing so, you will increase your visibility to important connections as they review responses to their posts, and your connections will be more likely to notice you and remember you when an applicable need arises.

Face-to-Face Networking

Informal, unofficial events can be the best networking opportunities. Some of the best places and times to network are often outside of official networking meetings or industry conferences. These can include social gatherings, or everyday activities in public places such as sitting on an airplane, standing in line, or riding in an elevator. Every interaction is a potential networking opportunity.

Ask questions. People are more likely to open up and let down their guard when asked questions about themselves. Taking an interest in others’ lives and their expertise can help engage a new contact.

Follow-up online. Be sure to reach out online after meeting someone. Invite them to connect to your network so you can keep track of them and continue to reach out to them conveniently.

How does networking work to your advantage? Alison Doyle, author and job search expert, provides some real-world examples of networking successes, plus additional networking tips.

Take just a few minutes to plant a few networking seeds several times a week, and you will ultimately build a resourceful, thriving network of engaged professionals.

Resume Dos and Don’ts

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Resume writers like to say there are no rules in resume writing. That may be true, but it certainly doesn’t help the average job seeker just looking for some good advice!

Rather than worry about a specific formula for writing a great resume, use the following general guidelines to prepare a resume that reflects your unique background and qualifications.

DO get to the point. You can’t tell your entire career history in one or two pages, so concentrate on the things that employers really want to know: who you are, where you have been, and what you have done. Stripping away unnecessary information is the best way to call attention to what is important.

DO focus on your accomplishments. Most individuals reading your resume are familiar with the typical tasks for people with your job titles, so you don’t need to detail everything you do every day. Instead, tell them what you did that made a difference to your company, colleagues, or customers. This will make your resume more interesting, memorable, and unique.

DO include keywords. Resumes today are routinely scanned by electronic systems that are looking for the right “keywords”—the words and phrases that match the job description and the employer’s requirements. Make sure they’ll be found in your resume! Use job postings as your source for the right keywords for your profession and industry.

DON’T make it hard to read. Even if your resume is initially scanned by a computer, at some point it will be reviewed by humans. You can make their job easier by the way you format and present your information. Don’t write in dense, wordy paragraphs. Don’t use long lists of bullet points with nothing to distinguish one from another. Don’t use a tiny font size. Do include white space to let your resume “breathe.”

DON’T forget to proofread. Recruiters and employers routinely cite “errors in the resume” as the reason for not considering a candidate. Errors send the message that you are sloppy and careless when doing important work. Either that, or you don’t know better. So don’t send that message. Proofread your resume several times and ask a friend or colleague proofread it as well.

DON’T expect your resume to get you a job. The resume is just one piece of the job-search puzzle. Don’t neglect other important pieces: networking, directly approaching companies, researching companies and industries, preparing for interviews, and so much more. The resume, when well written and used properly, can help open doors for you—but it can’t do it all.

Acing the Interview: Secrets of a Hiring Manager

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

By Alison Green

Job interviews are nerve-wracking, and job seekers often agonize over what the interviewer is looking for and how to best present themselves. As someone who has interviewed thousands of candidates, here are eight interviewing secrets from the other side of the desk.

1. The small stuff counts—sometimes a lot.

Candidates often act as if only formal contacts, like interviews and writing samples, count during the hiring process. They’ll send flawless cover letters but then follow up on their applications with poorly written emails with spelling errors. Or they’ll be charming and polite to the interviewer but rude to an assistant. Hiring managers are noticing all of this, so it’s crucial to pay attention to the little things, too.

2. Interviewers can tell who did their homework.

The difference between candidates who spent time preparing and those who didn’t is stark. Before any interview, candidates should spend time on the employer’s Web site, getting to know the company. Read enough to get a good feel for its clients, work, and general approach. You want to come away able to answer these questions: What does this organization do? What is it all about? What makes it different from its competition?

3. Candidates should ask questions too—and they should be good ones.

The interviewer wants to know that the candidate is interested in the details of the job, the department, the supervisor’s management style, and the culture of the organization. Otherwise, the candidate will come across as not that interested or not that thoughtful. Good questions at this stage are clarifying questions about the role itself and open-ended questions about the office culture. Save the questions about salary and benefits until the employer makes an offer.

4.  Being likable, matters.

Interviewers are human. We want to work with people who are pleasant to be around. So be friendly and try to really show interest in the people you’re talking with.  Don’t feel you have to hide your personality, or be so formal that you become stiff or impersonal.  We want to get a sense of who are.

5. Enthusiasm matters, too.

Job seekers sometimes worry about looking desperate. But it doesn’t look desperate to express your interest in the job or check in to ask about the hiring timeline. However, enthusiasm does cross the line if you are calling more than once a week, calling earlier than the date by which they said they’d get back to you, or sounding like you’re eager to take any job as opposed to one in particular.

6. Be prepared with stories.

As you talk with your interviewer, look for ways to share specific experiences from your past that illustrate how you might approach this job. Give concrete examples of times that you’ve used the skills they’re looking for, so that your interviewer can almost “see you in action” —something that hypothetical answers don’t allow.

7. Avoid cliché answers.

If you’re asked about your weaknesses, don’t offer up clichés like “I work too hard” or “I’m a perfectionist.” Interviewers have heard these answers hundreds of times, and you’ll come across as disingenuous. Instead, talk about a real weakness, and then follow up with what you’re doing about it. For instance, you might say something like, “I realized in college that I wasn’t as naturally organized as I wanted to be. So now I make lists religiously, and I check them every morning and every afternoon to make sure that nothing is slipping through the cracks and all my priorities are correct. I haven’t lost track of anything since I started this.”

8. Treat the interview as a two-way conversation.

It’s easy for candidates to feel that an interview is an interrogation where they’re the only one being judged. But the most successful interviewers are two-way conversations in which the employer and the candidate have an honest discussion of the needs of the role. But your interview won’t be a two-way conversation if you’re just waiting for the employer to deliver a verdict. So remember that you should be assessing them right back, by gathering info about the job, about the manager, about the company culture, so that you can figure out if this is a job in which you’d do well and be happy.

Phone Etiquette for Job Seekers

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

By Miriam Salpeter

As a job seeker, once you have a resume circulating, it’s important to focus on details to be sure your job hunt is successful. One important, often overlooked, job seeker tip: Pay attention to your telephone etiquette. In a competitive climate, every impression you make on a potential hiring manager affects how you fare in the job hunt.

Typically, a recruiter or hiring manager interested in interviewing you will pick up the phone and call the number on your resume. What number do you list? Hopefully, you haven’t included a work number or home phone that your roommates, parents or children may answer. Be sure to offer a number only you answer, typically a cell phone with good sound quality and reliable reception. You don’t want to give the impression you conduct personal business at work, have to worry that someone will be rude to a potential interviewer, risk missing a message, or have your five-year old answer the phone when your dream job calls.

The next thing to keep in mind is your outgoing voice-mail message. Keep it basic and professional; make sure it includes your name, so the caller knows he or she reached the right number. Eliminate musical interludes, political or religious comments, and anything the listener could interpret as silly or frivolous. Stick to a polite, brief, “This is (your name), I’m sorry I missed your call. Please leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.”

Providing a mobile number for prospective employers doesn’t mean you should answer the phone whenever it rings, no matter where you are. Eager job seekers often make the mistake of picking up calls when they are in no position to be able to carry on a reasonable conversation. When shouldn’t you answer the phone? During a sporting event, while driving in heavy traffic, at a birthday party, sitting in a busy coffee shop…The list goes on and on! (Your future boss doesn’t want to hear you curse at a driver who cuts you off or listen to background noise that makes it impossible to accomplish anything on the phone.)

Unless you are in a quiet place where you are able to hear the caller, write down notes, and reasonably carry on a conversation, do not answer your phone if you think it may be someone calling about your candidacy for a job. (That’s any call you don’t recognize once you have a resume circulating.) If you can’t pick up the phone right at that moment, be sure to get somewhere you can return a hiring manager’s call as soon as possible.

No employer wants to try to have a discussion with someone who’s repeating, “Can you say that again, I really can’t hear you very well in this gym.” Or, “I’m driving and can’t write down that address right now. Can you call back and leave it on my voice mail?” It’s important not to inconvenience someone who may want to hire you or to give the impression you don’t have good judgment regarding telephone etiquette. Consider any interaction with a hiring manager as part of the interview process; never let your guard down. Make good choices along the way to demonstrate your excellent communication skills.

How to Target Your Search to Land an Internship or Job

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Looking for an internship or job can be a difficult task. With all of the online tools available to you as a job seeker—job boards, niche industry websites, social media networks, online resume sites—where should you begin your search?

It can be overwhelming to start from scratch, but that’s where a target comes in handy. A target is defined as: “a person, object, or place selected as the aim of an attack.” While you’re obviously not attacking anyone in your job search, you should be aiming your job search efforts toward something specific during your job hunt. 

Here are a few ways to target your search:

Search for companies instead of jobs. Although it can be easy to fall into the trap of simply searching for any job in your field, you should instead focus on specific companies for which you’d like to work. You’ll be able to determine if their cultures and values meet your expectations at the beginning of the application process.

Follow your targeted companies on social media. Learn more about a potential employer by reading the organization’s blog, Twitter feed, Facebook page updates and other online (and offline) content. Look for key individuals who already work at the company with whom you can connect via social media channels. Leave thoughtful comments or ask great questions on their Web content to help current employees get to know you before you apply. Building these relationships first can help give you a great advantage when applying for an open job. 

Create a job search plan. How much time do you plan to spend each day on job searching? What about on social networks, creating a portfolio, or blogging? Decide how you’ll spend your hours in the day to land your job or internship. Consider each task and set the amount of time you’ll spend on it so your efforts are as focused as possible. It can be easy to get sucked into the “Internet black hole” when searching for job openings; having a plan minimizes these distractions. And don’t forget the value of offline job hunting—attend networking functions and career fairs, stop into offices and ask for information in person, and ask your friends and acquaintances to keep an ear out for you. Although a job search can easily be a full-time job, you also need to factor in time for your hobbies, exercising, or for any other activity you enjoy. 

Keep your network informed about your job search efforts and goals. Someone you already know may know someone at one of your dream companies. But you’ll never know until you interact with those people already in your network. Talk with these individuals about your search, update them on organizations for which you’ve applied, and make time for people in your network that you can help in some way. Networking is often the tactic that leads to a new job opportunity.

How else can job seekers target their job search to land a new job? Do you have a specific example of something you did that worked?

You Applied for the Job… Now What?

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

By Andrea Santiago

Some of the most common job search questions often involve the method job seekers should utilize to follow up with a potential employer or hiring manager after submitting a resume to a potential employer for consideration.
Many career experts, including Lindsay Olson from US News & World Report’s Money/Careers blog, agree that how you follow up depends upon a number of variables, and you need to approach each situation accordingly.
However, there are several common denominators that apply to most circumstances, and these guidelines will help you when you’re trying to navigate the job search process after you have submitted your resume.
The best resume follow-up strategy is to submit such a fantastic resume that you don’t have to follow up. If your resume is spot-on for the position, the hiring authority may contact you first, before you even have to follow up on anything.
So how do you “wow” hiring managers with your resume?
Customize your resume – Pay close attention to the verbiage used in the job ad and job description. Incorporate the potential employer’s words and key phrases into your own resume, (where applicable of course—true to your qualifications of course!)

Research Resume Samples – There are numerous websites that now provide resume samples and resume builders for a variety of industries.

There are many ways to create an attention-grabbing resume. But even the best resumes will still require you to proactively reach out to the hiring authority to get feedback regarding your application and status. If your resume does not stop the hiring manager in his or her tracks, and you don’t receive a call from anyone inviting you to an interview, it doesn’t mean that you are not qualified. The hiring manager may simply be overwhelmed with many good applicants. Sometimes, you can draw additional attention to your resume and help yourself stand out over the other applicants if you are able to follow up effectively and professionally.

How you proceed depends upon the circumstances of your application. Did you apply online, through a friend, via a job fair, or some other method? If you know someone in the organization, it may be acceptable to contact that person directly. Otherwise, you should be careful not to contact the wrong person, or follow up too frequently. Below are a few basic resume follow-up tips that apply to most situations:

  • Be courteous and respectful of the person’s time.
  • Don’t stalk the hiring manager or over-communicate. You could come across as desperate, or you may just annoy the hiring manager so much that they could rule you out based on that. A good rule of thumb is no more than 1-2 times per week, for 2-3 weeks.
  • Don’t go above or around the hiring manager or contact listed on the job ad. Some career experts recommend it, but in my experience as a recruiter, and as a hiring manager, that tactic usually does more harm than good.
  • Your follow up should be brief, well-written, (or well-spoken if you’re leaving a voicemail), and free of errors, typos, or grammar mistakes.
  • Email is less intrusive and generally more accepted than phone calls.

If you follow those basic guidelines when following up on your resume or job application, you will convey a high level of interest, tenacity, and professionalism that employers want from their prospective employees.

Using Personal Networks to Your Advantage

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

By Miriam Salpeter

Even though job seekers are inundated with advice to use their personal networks to propel job search success, it is not always easy to follow through. Social networking complicates the focus on personal networks, as traditional media constantly shares ways people lose jobs via Facebook and networks like it, without showcasing stories from people who found jobs! With thousands of people joining online networks each day, it’s impossible to ignore these tools when leveraging personal networks for job opportunities. The key for job seekers is knowing how to use in-person and online communities without seeming like a desperate job seeker. Read on for suggestions!
Real, In-Person Networks
Just because social media is so pervasive doesn’t mean job seekers should ignore their in-person networks. Advise job seekers to consider any party as a networking opportunity. This includes backyard barbeques, birthday parties, and professional socials. Job seekers never know where they may meet the perfect contact to provide a professional introduction.

However, it’s important not to parade around these events with a virtual “J” for job hunter on the forehead. No one wants to get stuck talking to someone who seems desperate or needy and who only wants to discuss possible job connections. Important points for job hunters to consider when meeting new people in person:

  • Be a listener first. Make every person feel as if he or she is important and valued. Ask a lot of questions. The goal should be to continue the conversation at a later date. People enjoy and appreciate spending time with people who are good listeners and seem interested in them.
  • Learn some personal details about contacts to make it easy to follow-up and keep in touch. (It’s a good idea to advise job seekers to excuse themselves to jot down some notes after conversations.) For example, take note of the contact’s favorite sports team or hobby. In a month or two, send a note commenting on the team’s progress (if it’s positive!) or forward an article or blog post relevant to the person’s hobby. Doing so helps keep the job seeker top-of-mind and reminds the contact to think about possible networking opportunities for the person.
  • It is important for the job seeker to work something into the conversation relevant to his or her search, but he or she should refrain from actually asking for help during an informal gathering or first meeting. For example, “I’m an enterprise technology HR professional focused on finance. I’m actually seeking a new opportunity, possibly in an Oracle environment.” This statement offers information, but does not ask for anything in return. Most people won’t have a great lead or suggestion off the tops of their heads, anyway. It’s better to ask the new contact to meet for coffee at a later time. Resist asking for anything specific until the follow-up meeting.
  • Always ask new acquaintances if they are willing to connect via LinkedIn. (And then follow up right after the event.)
  • It’s easy to recognize if a contact is amenable to getting together. Follow up immediately with an invitation for coffee or lunch. During the informational meeting, job seekers should be sure to continue to demonstrate expertise, but also make it clear what organizations or individuals they would like to meet and request introductions if possible.
  • If the contact offers to “keep his ears open” for the job seeker after an in-person meeting, it means he doesn’t have enough information to know how to help. In that case, re-state job search objectives and suggest companies of interest. It’s up to the job seeker to be sure contacts know what they can do to help. Don’t leave the results up to chance.

Connecting with online personal networks
In many ways, the “rules” for social networking are the same as in-person networking: listen more than you contribute, don’t ask for something before you build a relationship, and give before you expect to get. Job seekers shouldn’t ignore opportunities to use Facebook, where most of their contacts actually know them! Some advice to help job seekers motivate Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter contacts to help them:

  • Maintain complete profiles on all of the “big three:” LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Incorporate keywords to help readers know what the job seeker knows and how he or she can contribute.
  • Use Facebook and LinkedIn status updates and tweets to illustrate expertise. Job seekers should post updates making it clear they understand their targeted fields. It’s easy to find links and data to post online by searching Google or by setting a Google alert. Another way to keep up-to-date about company information is to follow companies via LinkedIn to source details to share on social networks. For example, if someone wants a job in insurance, he or she should follow news sources for regulatory updates and other useful information to share on Facebook. This helps everyone following the job seeker understand his or her interests and field and may make contacts more likely to think of the person if they learn of appropriate opportunities.
  • Occasionally mention a company of interest via status updates, but constantly referring to a job hunt is counterproductive.
  • Present a totally professional persona, eliminating anything the job seeker wouldn’t want an employer to see. This helps friends and contacts see the job seeker as a potential employee or referral.

5 Ways for Recent College Graduates to Find Available Jobs

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Graduation has come and gone, and another batch of college students now find themselves in the “real world” of job searching. It can be scary, confusing and downright frustrating—especially because many of today’s colleges and universities don’t properly prepare students for their entry-level job search.

You might have a good idea of what you want in your ideal job—but where do you find it? Below are several ways I’d suggest getting started in your job search:

Participate in professional and job seeking communities. Communities are a valuable form of support and advice during a job search. The other participants can also be a great addition to your network. These groups of people exist both online and offline – think social media groups and chats, professional associations, and support groups – and can be a great source of inspiration and information in a job search. Being active and engaging in these groups can make you more visible to those who can help in your job search and allow you to give back with advice of your own.

Follow companies of interest on social media sites. Social media has changed the way organizations hire and source potential candidates, making it easier than ever for a job seeker to connect directly to the company they’d like to work for. Following their official Twitter account, Facebook page or blog feed can help ensure that you’ll be the first to know about potential openings and helps you learn more about the company at hand.

Volunteer or intern at a prospective employer. Although internships are often unpaid, it’s a valuable look inside of a company you desire to work for. During an internship or volunteer position, you’ll get to know employees at the organization all while gaining skills and experience in your field. It’s a great way to prove yourself as a professional and gain an “in” at the company. In fact, many employers look to their intern pool or employee referral list when looking to hire for entry-level positions.

Check major job boards, company career sites and Craigslist. While job listings shouldn’t be the only job search tactic you have in your arsenal, they’re certainly a valuable way to gauge who’s hiring and where. Job and Career Accelerator can help you find up-to-date job listings in hundreds of fields.

Just make sure you don’t spend all your time combing through job listings that might not even land an interview—you should also be networking, preparing your job search documents and polishing your online presence.

Reach out to your personal and professional network. Networking is often the best tactic to finding your next job. Whether it’s because you know someone at a company you’ve applied at and they put in a good word for you, or because a friend refers you to an unadvertised job opening they heard about, don’t forget to network early and often. Hopefully you’ve built a strong network before leaving school (always network before you need something!). Continue meeting new people and reaching out to others you’d like to build a professional relationship with. Remember, networking is a two-way street—you must provide value to your connections, too. Believe me, you have valuable advice and insight to share. Don’t be shy!