You need to know how to look for a job whether you are looking for your first job after graduating from college or high school, changing jobs, or progressing in your career. It might seem difficult to find a new job, but there are effective and efficient methods available.
A job can be found in a variety of ways, from browsing the internet and looking in industry publications to receiving job search emails.
Here are eight ways you can boost your job search:
1. Going to alumni events
Alumni are an effective channel that can help you get a job. But how do you connect with them? You can do it online via LinkedIn, but you can also do it with a more personal touch like the following:
- Alumni events: Annual reunions tend to bring alumni back to campus. Check with your alumni association or career center about any upcoming mixers for students and alumni.
- Alumni houses: Some of the big universities tend to have regional alumni offices or houses around the world. If this is the case with your school, check with the local representative to see if they have any opportunities to connect with alumni.
- Fraternity and sorority events: Not everyone was in a fraternity or sorority in college, but if you were, then this is a network of individuals who can also help you. Don’t be shy about asking for help or leads.
- Tailgaters: These are also a great opportunity to meet alumni. Although they’re social events, you can take the opportunity to get to know people and ask them about what they do. You can mention casually that you’re looking for opportunities.
Do you belong to any alumni email lists or groups? If so, send your résumé along with a detailed note asking if anyone knows of opportunities available for someone with your school and major.
2. Getting help from family and friends
Your family and friends are most likely the people who know you the best. They have a good idea of what you’re good at doing and your top qualities. They also know where you need to improve. This makes them good at judging what jobs may be relevant and interesting to you. Ask them for help in keeping an eye open for jobs that could be a good fit for you.
Here are other ways your friends can help you:
Getting an internship, co-op, or temporary job. A friend, relative, or friend of the family may hesitate to get you a full-time job simply because of the connection. This is fair — nepotism is seen as a negative thing and your friend or relative may get in trouble at work. With internships or temporary jobs, especially if they’re unpaid, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Internships and co-ops are temporary, usually lasting two to three months. Because of the short duration, employers tend to be less strict on how these hires are made. In fact, it’s often unspoken that friends tend to help other friends by giving internships to their relatives. Don’t be shy about leveraging your connections or asking relatives to leverage their connections for an internship. If you do well in your internship, everyone wins. If this is not the case, it was only a two- to three-month stint.
Employee referrals: A simple referral, even if not an endorsement, often helps to get you through the door and to secure an interview. Larger employers often pay employees a referral fee for recommending someone who ultimately gets hired and stays with the organization for some period of time, normally three to six months.
If you have friends who work at an employer of interest, ask them if they can submit your résumé or add a note with the recruiter that you’ve applied for the job. They’ll be doing you a favor and they may also earn a bonus.
3. Attending career fairs
Among all the services offered by career centers, students rate job and career fairs as the most effective. Career fairs give you an opportunity to meet with a large number of employers in one place, usually walking distance from your classes or dorm room. It doesn’t get more convenient than this.
If you’re just starting to look for work, make it a point to take an hour or two out of your day to attend an on-campus job fair. These events are usually publicized in the school newspaper or on your career center’s website.
Here are some things to remember when attending career fairs:
- Do research. Look at the list of employers attending the career fair and research the ones that interest you by going to their websites.
- Show interest. Sometimes, career centers may have a way for you to express interest in employers prior to the fair. Take advantage of this. The employer may even reach out to you prior to the career fair.
- Bring copies of you résumé. That way, you can drop them off at tables with employers that interest you. You can apply to jobs later, but it doesn’t hurt to bring your résumé if you have one.
- Take notes. Take notes after you talk to an employer. You’ll want to write down deadlines of when you need to sign up for campus interviews, where to go online to apply for specific positions, and anything else noteworthy that can help you apply later on.
- Go early. Some of the top-brand employers like Google and Tesla will have long lines of students waiting to talk to the recruiters. If you want to avoid waiting in line, go during lunch when all the other students are eating or early while the employers are setting up for the fair.
- Connect on LinkedIn. Connect with recruiters you meet at the fair via LinkedIn if you find out their names.
- Learn about new organizations. Don’t limit yourself to organizations you’ve heard about. Stop by the booths of employers you haven’t heard of. You never know! One of them may have your dream job waiting for you.
- Don’t worry about being perfect. If you tend to get nervous at interviews or at these types of events, don’t worry. It’s likely the recruiter won’t remember you and you’ll most likely interview with a different person once you apply.
- Ask about the dress code beforehand. In general, you don’t need to dress formally when you attend job fairs. Most schools allow students to come wearing whatever they wear to class, even if that means jeans or shorts. Career fairs are generally seen an opportunity for students to do research and for employers to market themselves to students. Employers should be the ones on the spot, not students. That said, some schools do turn away students at the door if they aren’t dressed “appropriately.” To be safe, make sure to ask about the dress code and follow those guidelines.
Take advantage of career fairs to learn about new organizations. Go with a group of friends and divide the companies you talk to in order to save time. Then compare notes and share your findings.
4. Signing up for on-campus interviews
On-campus interviews are usually held shortly after career fairs are held. This is when employers interested in hiring students from your school send representatives to campus. The benefit of these interviews is that they happen on campus and in one convenient location.
Don’t delay checking into on-campus interview dates because they vary by industry. For example, the big accounting and consulting firms tend to be on campus very early, as soon as school starts in the fall. On the other hand, government agencies, nonprofits, and firms in other sectors tend to interview later in the school year.
The downside is that not every employer can come to campus. It usually tends to be local employers or large employers that can afford to come to campus.
Sign up for interviews when you’re ready. These interviews are the real deal, and you should do your research and prepare before you do an interview.
5. Searching on job sites
Job sites come in different sizes and vary in functionality. The large national job boards list hundreds of thousands of jobs and give you access to these jobs through one place. Then you have smaller local sites that have fewer listings, but they may contain jobs not found on the large sites.
Most first-time job seekers complain about not being able to find enough entry-level jobs. Here are some of the types of sites you can use to find your first job or internship:
- Large job sites: Sites in this category include Monster (www.monster.com), CareerBuilder (www.careerbuilder.com), and top aggregator Indeed (www.indeed.com). These sites contain hundreds of thousands of opportunities. They also tend to offer good search functionality, support for Boolean searches, and filters. Quantity is not always the answer, though. Just because a site has a lot of jobs that doesn’t mean it has the right jobs for you and especially the right entry-level ones. Still, take a look at these sites.
- Local regional sites: Craigslist is a good example here. While it’s a large site with international reach, Craigslist (www.craigslist.org) is organized into regional sites, giving you good visibility into local employers. Newspaper sites also offer great local jobs. Sites like http://jobs.bnd.com in Belleville, Illinois, and www.jobsok.com in Oklahoma offer hyper-targeted access to local employers.
- Audience-specific sites: If you’re a college student or recent grad, sites like AfterCollege (www.aftercollege.com) and College Recruiter (www.collegerecruiter.com) give you access to jobs and internships from employers looking specifically for entry-level candidates.
- Industry-specific sites: Dice (www.dice.com) and Health eCareers (www.healthecareers.com) are two examples of sites that cater to those interested in the technology and healthcare sectors, respectively.
- Association sites: Are you focused on a specific field of study? If so, sites like the IEEE Job Site (http://careers.ieee.org) and the American Accounting Association Career Center (http://careercenter.aaahq.org) allow you to search for jobs that are targeted to your field of study.
6. Finding jobs on Google
Google is a great place to search for anything, including jobs. Although it’s not a job site per se, Google crawls content from all over the Internet, including job content from employer websites. It indexes jobs from various job sites.
The other great thing about Google is that it allows you to use Boolean operators. If you like Boolean, you can use it on Google to do searches to your heart’s content.
As you search for jobs on Google, it will recognize these searches and customize the results page for you, giving you filters so you can drill down by location, job title, type of job, company type, and employer.
You may be tempted to skip the job sites all together and just use Google. But Google doesn’t index all job content, so you should still use job sites.
7. Creating a LinkedIn job notification
LinkedIn is known for being the top professional network, but it also holds its own against sites like Indeed and has hundreds of thousands of jobs, including entry-level ones.
Create a LinkedIn job alert by going to www.linkedin.com/jobs and doing a search. Click Create Search Alert on the right of the search results. You can choose to get your alerts via email, via the LinkedIn app, via LinkedIn.com, or from all three.
When you look at a job on LinkedIn, you’ll see any connections you have to the organization. The convenience of being able to see a job description and your connections at the same time makes LinkedIn a valuable tool to have in your job search.
8. Using IFTTT notifications and Craigslist
Craigslist is a massive classifieds site, with a lot of local jobs listed. The site is simple and easy to use, but it doesn’t offer a way to get email alerts when new jobs are posted. Luckily, a site called IFTTT lets you create email notifications for other sites, including Craigslist. So when a new job gets posted that is relevant to you, you receive an alert.
To set up an IFTTT alert based on a Craigslist search, do the following:
- Go to www.craigslist.org. The site will redirect to the local version of Craigslist for your city.
- Navigate to the Jobs section and drill down to find the types of jobs you like.
- When you see the results you like, copy the URL from your browser.
- Go to www.ifttt.com and either create an account or log in.
- Go to www.ifttt.com/search and search for Craigslist.
- Select the first result that says Get an Email Whenever a New Craigslist Post Matches Your Search. You’ll see the applet page.
- Turn on the switch that says Receive Notifications When This Applet Runs, and below that, enter the Craigslist search URL you copied.
- Click Save.
You can discontinue your IFTTT notifications and edit them at any time.