Thursday, April 16, 2009

Grads, Before You Job Search Try This

For those of you in J school you are probably looking at your bleak prospects for landing a job and thinking ‘dang, why did I go into this?’ Never fear. You’ll land a job. You’ll find your way. In the weeks before you are officially pounding the pavement for a job here’s what you need to do:

  • Tweak your resume. Update it with your internships, freelance gigs, jobs on campus etc.. Make it crisp, clear, easy to read and only 1 page. Include all your contact information. SPELL CHECK IT! And if you can run it past someone who’s been in the biz awhile. Ask for suggestions to make it better.
  • Network like your life depended on it!! Hardly anyone gets a job through all those internet job sites. You get a job through connections. So call up your internship mentor and ask for an information interview. Stop by your favorite J prof’s office to talk. Call up former colleagues, upper classmen to pick their brains. You want to get your name out there. Ask each contact for three other contacts. Then call those people and go on informational interviews. Take your resume, look professional and don’t come off as desperate.
  • Start a blog. This is the easiest way to showcase your writing. A potential employer can skim your posts and get a feel for your voice. Obviously, you want to pick a safe and interesting topic. The additional bonus is this will prove to an employer that you are current.
  • Know your social media. You don’t have to be the King/Queen of twitter. Nor do you need 1,000 friends on facebook. But you should know how to tweet. You should know how to upload a picture to flickr, comment on a blog, Digg on an article, etc... With media moving further and further from traditional news sources, the new, hipster companies are looking for people who know the ins and outs of these sites.
  • Clean up your social media. Take off all those drunk pictures of you out at a Thirsty Thursday party. Remove anything that could come across as offensive and improper. Employers now check to see what dirt they can dig up on a potential hire. Don’t leave any dirt out there to be found. Google your name and see what comes up, fix what shouldn’t be out there!
  • Take on some freelance gigs! Even if they are unpaid, a freelance article for a reputable site or publication gives you another clip and shows your interviewer you’ve got diversity. Branch out. Try new things.
  • Read - a lot! What the J profs say is true - you need to be current on the news. Whether you are hoping to focus on the music industry or you want to be a news-breaking political reporter, you’ll need to know what’s up. Daily read the top stories as well as the big stories under the topic you’re interested in. Read books, magazines, blogs, etc... The more you read the better your writing will become.
  • Tell your family and friends you are job searching. ‘Duh, they already know that.’ True they probably do but you might not be fresh in their mind. Send an e-mail to everyone reminding them what you majored in, what you want to do, what you’re good at, etc... Ask for their help in identifying potential opportunities or contacts. Your Aunt will probably respond back with a ‘thinking of you’ but someone might have an idea.

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