Welcome to the real world: Job Search 101

By on November 7, 2006

Soon it will be time for this year’s seniors to put away their caps and gowns and bring out their business attire. Say goodbye to roommates, college keg parties, sleeping late, homework and classes and welcome yourselves to the real world. It’s time to put all those hours studying in the library to good use and find a (gasp) JOB!

Do your homework

Patricia Nielsen, the director of Career Services, says that seniors should be looking for a job now. She advises seniors to invest as much time in job searching as they would in a three-credit class.

“Use all resources available to you, network, join professional organizations, attend a conference, know the players in the industry you’re looking for.” Nielsen explained that it is crucial to spend the time looking for a good job because although “the job market has gotten better, it’s still competitive.”

Fine tune your resume

One of the most important aspects of the job search is the resume. Your resume should be flawless since it is the first impression you give to your potential employer. Nielsen suggested that students tailor their resumes wherever possible and include only relevant experience.

Censor yourself online

These days, potential employees are represented by more than just their resumes. It is crucial to censor yourself on the Internet as well. Employers may visit Web sites such as facebook.com and myspace.com to see how applicants represent themselves. Although you may create your profiles with only the intentions of friends seeing them, claiming that your blood alcohol level is higher than your GPA could cost you your dream job.

Marie Shanahan, senior online producer of ctnow.com, stressed, “If you’re on myspace, you might want to clean that up. If you have pictures of you with a beer bong, you might want to take that out.”

Attend job fairs

Next, with your proofread resume in hand, attend as many job fairs as possible. Many universities and companies sponsor regular job fairs that will allow you to get information on different job positions and face-to-face contact. Job fairs give you the chance to begin networking with representatives from various companies.

Build your contact list

Networking is crucial when finding a job. More often than not, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Friends, relatives, professors, and former co-workers can all play a part in networking yourself with the right people and getting your foot in the door.

Jessica Casarella, a graduate from Marist College with a degree in fashion design, knows how networking can come in handy. Casarella decided to send a message to a friend to see if she had found a job or if she knew of any positions available.

“She had told me she had a job for a men’s clothing company and said they were actually looking for an assistant designer. So I sent my friend my resume the next morning and she handed it over to the right hands, and next thing I knew… Later that day I got a phone call from a woman who is, today, my boss.” Casarella advises keeping a master list of contacts for possible future connections.

Get the internship

Another key aspect to finding a job is starting out as an intern. Doing the grunt work of picking up the coffee or making 500 copies a day can turn in to a job opportunity. Not only can the people you work with at your internship be a reference in your future, you also get the chance to get hands-on experience in your field. Casarella feels that completing an internship is beneficial for the college grad. “It gives you an insight to what the industry you’re about to enter is like.”

Ace the interview

Holly Jobbagy, a graduate of Lasell University, searched for two months applying to only a few jobs and said, “After a couple of months went by, I contacted my professors and they told me not to be discouraged and that I had only done one thing wrong. They told me to apply to everyone! I did, and I got a call back after checking out Craig’s List. I had two interviews, but I got the job and I’m very happy.”

When you finally get an interview, some tricks could better your chances of landing the job. Along with dressing professionally and being on time, you should come to your interview well prepared. Nielsen said it is always important to research your employers and come prepared with stories to tell the interviewers how you demonstrated some important skills, such as leadership and teamwork. It is not enough to say you know what it means to be a team player. You have to prove it.

Shanahan also stressed that applicants must come to the interview informed. “Definitely do your homework. I don’t think you can over prepare,” Shanahan said. She suggests Googling your interviewer or the company so you know background information.

Wherever you may be after that graduation cap hits the ground, remember that are thousands of students in your same position struggling to find a job. “It’s a frustrating and overwhelming process, but I knew I wasn’t alone,” Jobbagy said. “My friends are going through the same exact thing after college.”

Your best bets on the Web

While classified ads are helpful when looking for your dream job, you can find a greater variety of available jobs posted online. Here is a list of helpful sites:



About Erica DaSilva and Renee Trayno