Thursday, June 30, 2011

Reevaluating

I’ve been on the job hunt for about 6 weeks now, give or take a few days. I would be lying if I said that it’s my number one focus and priority because truthfully, some days it falls to the wayside. I wish I could spend 8 hours a day searching for jobs, perfecting my resume, working on my Linked-In profile, etc. Fact is, I work a high-energy job for 5-6 hours in the morning, come home and spend my afternoons job searching, using the evenings to work out and have a little downtime.

At best, I get in 2-3 hours of job searching a day. In this economy with so many people out of work and searching for jobs, that is not nearly enough time.

Aside from quitting my part-time job (not an option), there isn’t a whole lot I can do. I’ve taken on the brunt of the house cleaning and dinner duties because I feel bad enough as it is that I’m a 23-year-old college graduate who still needs money from her mom. I feel awful when I don’t have enough money to pay a bill. I know I could never be one of those people who sits around at home, doing nothing to challenge themselves by furthering their education or finding a job.

The job search isn’t going so well. I know I shouldn’t really expect anything so soon out of college but it’s still hard to still be at my minimum wage part-time job. It’s hard to submit resume after resume and the only people who seem to be calling me are for sales positions. (Aside from one job involving market research, which I was passed over for. Boohiss.)

For the past 6 weeks, I’ve been using Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com as my main sources for job searching. And as great and wide-reaching as those jobs are, they are also the places everyone is going to. I don’t even want to imagine the amount of resumes some jobs receive on a daily basis. My resume? A recent college graduate with barely any professional work experience? I know it’s getting sifted through the system easily, passed over without a second glance.

I need to take action. I need something better than a job search engine that everyone and their brother is using.

I need to seek out smaller lesser-known job search engines that are more centered on my interests (communications, marketing, public relations, etc.). I need to have my resume critiqued and rewritten. I need to learn how to write an impressive cover letter. And I need to begin to go after those jobs I want with more hunger and determination.

(All things I believe I should have learned during my exit course, but that’s a blog topic for another day.)

For now, all job searching has yielded me was frustration and disappointment. But I imagine those emotions are nothing new to people who have searched or are searching for a job. It also scares me that there are so many people searching for jobs, people with incredible internships and job experiences that I could not even begin to touch. But I do know that there is a job out there for me. I just have to be patient, keep searching, and keep working on my job search tactics.

For those of you with job search experience, what tips and advice can you give to a new college graduate? (And I’ll just go full throttle: anyone willing to look over my resume and/or a sample cover letter of mine and give me help/critiques/advice? Pretty please?)

31 comments:

  1. Absolutely, send anything my way for a looksee.

    It's so old, but true - a lot of it is who you know. Leverage any contacts, any work experience or internships, companies you've had anything to do with. Cold calling/approaching places you'd like to work for, irregardless of whether they have advertised positions, could help. Or if you can afford to perhaps intern or volunteer for free at your dream company for a few hours a week, that can provide a foot in the door.

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  2. Find a small business you like, like a coffee shop, a restaurant, a store, a non-profit, anything, and offer to do their social media marketing for them. It's such a huge way of advertising these days that it's really beneficial for companies to be out there. Even if you start off freelancing/very part time/volunteering for them, it's excellent to be able to add to your portfolio, get some professional experience, and start networking.

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  3. Indeed.com is also a really great site. But the best place to find job openings are on companys websites. Determine the type of companies you'd ideally like to work for, and look them up.

    Also, joining a local young professionals group will get you some face time with other people your age who are already starting their careers. Make friends, make contacts, and that's really your best way to get the job you want! :)

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  4. The main thing I can tell you that has helped me, is do some volunteer work in your field. I do a lot of writing about music on a freelance basis and that gets me more writing on a freelance basis that gets me known by the right people in the industry. Can you look into taking an internship position with a company that you could see yourself having a career with? You need to find a way to start getting to know people that can give you an 'in'. Nowadays, that's is honestly the best way into any job. Good luck girl!! 

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  5. I know the frustrations and disappointments, very well. Job searching is not for the weary. Its really hard and challenging. Keep at it though, something will happen for you. Try indeed.com or check out the online paper of a town you may want to relocate in, look at their classified and then visit the company website. Not sure what field you want to be in, but higheredjobs.com is a great site that colleges and universities use and they certainly need communications/journalism majors.

    If you want me to take a look at your resume/cover letter I'll be happy to do so.

    Stay positive (which, I know, is hard). Rejection letters happen, but one of these days someone is going to read your resume and say YES!

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  6. I should have done this earlier, but just consider that you have a blanket approval to always send me anything that you want edited/looked over. I'll always do it. Just shoot things to me in an email as you have time.

    In the music industry - everything is about who you know. All students want reference families, businesses want to know you work well with others, etc. We were told on entering college that our classmates would be our networking opportunities. Straight out of grad school, with no experience in a tough job market, I landed two fabulous part time jobs (that more than paid all my expenses between them) fully due to knowing people already on the inside.

    My question to you is - do you know anyone from while you were at school - any contact no matter how tenuous - that can help you out? Professors? Fellow classmates? Contacts from internships? Those are the people to be reaching out to for help. With the classmates, clearly you'll need the ones who were a bit ahead of you and therefore already have a foothold in the industry. They can help you get in touch with companies from the inside, provide references, and just put you as an "inside" person.

    Best of luck.

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  7. Well, I don't have any job searching experience whatsoever (and I don't know if this is good or bad, because I never had to do what you're doing right now).... my job "fell into my lab", so to speak. Well, that is not completely true... I sought it out and conquered it with persistence. If you have any chance at all to go and do - what we call in German - an "unsolicited application" at a place that you would like to work at, then just be persistent and show up and call and follow up and you might just get lucky. I know, it doesn't work like that for everybody, but it worked like this for me.... and I was told that my initiative and persistence landed me the job.
    Good luck!

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  8. I used Idealist.org a lot in my job search - very helpful if you're interested in working for a non-profit - everything from religious organizations to the Red Cross to environmental groups to tech start-ups. And I'd be happy to look over your resume, if you'd like. I'm no expert, but I've helped a few friends with them...

    As far as cover letters, the best advice I got was from Alana at Good Girl Gone Blog, whose cover letter was so dynamic & fun that I couldn't help but love it - and employers felt the same. I started using a modified version of hers & got three calls within 24 hours! It was, by some standards, an "unprofessional" cover letter - it involved an exclamation point or two, lots of adjectives, & almost no reference to her past experience. But it made her sound like a real person instead of a faceless name in a sea of white-paper resumes...

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  9. Sending you a big hug.
    That's the best I've got today.
    <3

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  10. Have you started asking friends and family? Especially in this job market, having a connection makes things a LOT easier. Other than that, just be patient and keep applying! I'm sure you'll find something! Good luck

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  11. I used Craigslist and was able to find receptionist type jobs in various companies just to have SOMETHING. I suggest searching USF's job board you might have luck there! I also used indeed.com for the majority of my searching. I also went to every event facility's site (like the Forum, Ruth Eckerd, etc.) and applied there. Try CBS Radio -- they are hiring part time promotions people. I just saw it today!

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  12. First off, I'm more than willing to read anything you want to send me. Although we're in different fields, I help in hiring our interns so have done my share of writing sample/cover letter/resume critiquing. 
    I just have to echo what everybody else has said. I know it is not easy. I know it downright sucks and is awkward and nerve-inducing sometimes. But networking is where it's at. Does your college have a jobs board or a career development office? Most do. They usually have counselors who can help you with your materials and they tend to have jobs brought in by alumni, who may be more willing to look at a fellow alum's app than a "stranger's." In addition, putting yourself on their radar might be helpful if they get a lead you might be right for. You're an alum now, so if you have young alumni or regional/career focused groups see if you can get on their list and go to a few events. As far as search engines, etc. online I don't really know anything about them because the legal field is so different. I would also recommend making some business cards for yourself if you don't have them already. Something simple and professional that has your name, phone and email. Maybe a website you'd want them to have (or not). Maybe your degree & school. I can't tell you the times that I have been meeting with more seasoned attorneys and swapping cards has led to a follow-up thank you email or meeting for coffee. Then, if they hear of an opportunity (because their network is bigger than yours) they remember that bright girl they met, and oh yes - they have your card. I don't know if the "culture" in your field is different so that they would find cards pretentious, but I think they can be really valuable. Especially if you're not walking around with your resume on you.
    (sorry this is so long!)

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  13. You should check out Craigslist. My friend found an awesome job at a law firm, it was a full-time job but temporary for 6 months but they ended up loving her and hiring her own. Check out actual companies websites too. I never had any luck with Monster or those places but when I applied online for the actual company, I got calls then.

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  14. After my move, I would def look at your resume & cover letter! 

    Have you thought about into contract work or temp work?  I know that is not ideal, but it couild get your foot in the door!  That is how I got in with mhy current employer, actually.  I started as a temp and was hired on full time once they saw that I could perform!

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  15. Thanks so much. I'm definitely looking into internships for the time being. Networking is so key, especially now. It's a new venture that feels a little scary, but I know I need to tackle it. (Sending you my resume right away!)

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  16. Good suggestion! I never even thought of that but I'll have to look around and see if I can find a business to help out.

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  17. I've used Indeed before, but it seems like it's just a mish-mash of CB and Monster jobs, at least in my area. And I think my new plan of attack is what you mentioned: seeking out specific company websites and applying through there. And stalking them, hehe! :) Thanks so much for the advice.

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  18. I'm starting to look more into internships, because it's a good way to add to my resume and gain experience I don't yet have. Thanks so much for you advice, Melissa!

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  19. I may or may not be checking Craigslist every day for nursing jobs :)

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  20. The problem with colleges/universities is that they require either Master's degrees or lots of experience. :( But I'm going to keep searching there because it is something that interests me.

    I'm sending you my resume NOW! :)

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  21. If there is one thing I'm learning through this entire process, it's that I need to network, network, network. With the way the job market is looking now, it's one of the most important pieces of the puzzle.

    Resume is on its way!

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  22. Way to go on showing initiative and having lots of persistence! It's a really good suggestion that I'll definitely take into consideration. Thanks!

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  23. I would love to hear more on that "unprofessional" cover letter! I'm trying to make mine stand out more, especially as I use Craigslist to look for new jobs.

    Sending you my resume NOW!

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  24. Sometimes, a huge is all you need. Means a lot. <3

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  25. Honestly, it wouldn't do much good because the jobs are all in areas that I don't have the *right* expertise for (real estate, sales, insurance, etc.) so I can't make a connection that way. So sad! :) Thanks for the suggestion, though!

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  26. I *just* found out about USF's job board this week! It was never mentioned in any of my classes, which I found totally weird. It was hidden in the Career Center website and was just approved today. Sigh. 

    I have been using Craigslist more lately & now will use USF's job board.

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  27. I *just* found out about the job board at my school. It was never mentioned in my exit course, which I think it should have been! So weird. I'm definitely going to check it out and also contact some former supervisors/professors to network with. Fingers are crossed I find something soon!

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  28. Craigslist is the main place I'm searching right now and I think it's going to yield better results than huge career sites.

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  29. I'm not adverse to part-time work for now or temp work, as long as it's longer than a month or two. Honestly, I'm open to everything but it's still hard. 

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  30. Ha! I'm furiously checking Craigslist as well. :)

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  31. lisasyarns7/3/11, 6:26 PM

    Yah I would not want to accept a part time job. Luckily when I got my temp job it was full time... I have 2 other friends who started as contract employees and both got hired on. They went thru a company called creatis. It was for communications/marketing contract jobs. Not sure if that is a national company? Maybe try googling it?

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