This question was recently brought up to me by my best friend, who just graduated from school as an Industrial Designer. She said “Give me tips on how to find a job… I have no idea how to start” so, Aliana my love, this one is for you (an all of you trying to find a great job!).
I must say, I don’t have everything figured out so these tips are out of personal experience. Things I would do again and things I wouldn’t.
- Clear your mind of ant expectations you may have. Whether it’s a salary you heard or benefits you should receive from a company… delete them from your brain.
- Research all of your work. Yes, even if you have never had a real job before… think and write down all the activities and projects you have been involved with. Summer camp, community service, church, babysitting? One of my projects in college was creating different outfits for each month out of magazine editorials. I would buy magazines, go through their featured pages and cut out my favorite pieces.Then, I would mix and match pieces and paste them on a white piece of paper. I have a binder full of those “collages”.
- Once you have all your activities and projects written down, write down the skills you used or developed during them. Going back to my magazine/outfit project – Having that project helped me in a creative way – I was able to build outfits from different magazines, different ideas that each editorial director had. I don’t work in fashion now but a couple of years ago, I worked at LOFT Ann Taylor and those outfit creations came in very handy; not only for customers but also with the stores visuals. I could quickly asses the shops’ necessities and fill in with any other style that wasn’t part of the “brand directives”.
- Based on the skills you wrote down, along with your degree, search the web for possible jobs. I used to type of google “career path of a fashion management major”. Seriously, the web has a million ideas for you.
- Figure out if you are willing to move. This one is BIG. Would you move to Arizona? Would you move to Europe? Write down the countries, states, cities you would move to.
- Now that you have the career path down, search for “dream” companies or companies you think you’d like to work for. Write them down.
- Now, on to the job search. One of the mistakes I have previously made was being in such desperation that I clicked “apply” to every.single job offered in the “Marketing Department” of a company. WRONG! First off, Human Resources can see that you took 10 minutes to apply to 20 jobs and secondly, you are not putting the right energy out there.
- That’s right. Energy. What you put out into the world, you receive. Choose very carefully which jobs you apply to and give them your all. I used to hate writing cover letters until I realized they are a great entry point to the job. Do you enjoy writing about your experience and how you can help the brand/company? Or are just forcing your way to saying the “right things”? Invest time in writing your cover letter.
- Invest time in your email to hiring manager. Take your time to learn who your boss would be. Use LinkedIN!! You can learn so much about your hiring manager or your potential supervisor on social media. Do not write an email directed to “To whom it may concern”. Direct your email to whom you want it be read by. Be formal, be professional but be yourself. You will eventually need to speak to your hiring manager and you want to make sure your email person connects with your real-life person.
- Follow up!! This is a big one. I think you can sometimes get afraid of calling or following up on a job application; don’t be. Most of the time, no one has even opened your email or your online application. Make yourself known; show interest. I would say, a week after you sent in the application is the right time to follow-up.
- If you get a call back for an interview, be yourself! Read the job application first – know what skills the job asks for. If there’s something you don’t know, look it up. If it’s a computer system you have never heard of before, watch a youtube video. Learn as much about the company as you possibly can. Prepare 3-5 questions you want to ask during the interview – always ask questions!!
- During the interview, I wouldn’t say lie about things you don’t know but… you should a little bit. You can say something like ” I know about that program and used it a couple of times; I’m not an expert but I’m sure I can learn how to use it quickly”. Always make sure to turn something potentially negative into a positive. A lot of times when you are asked to know a “program” is because you will be supervising someone using it so, no need to little yourself before you find out more about your duties.
- After the interview, send a quick thank you email to the person who interviewed you and make sure you express interest in knowing “Next Steps”.
- And then… wait for a call back.
As far as where to find jobs… honestly, I love LinkedIn. I think the LinkedIn community is much more serious and there’s always opportunities popping up. Be active on LinkedIn – Don’t just add people, start conversations with them, post updates on things that interest you; this will help you be in people’s radar. Opportunities might come thru people or just go to the “jobs” tab and select the filters that suit you.
I truly believe there’s an opportunity for everyone, you just have to look for it and be persistent. I also think, sometimes college graduates are too picky with where they want to work at and they get stuck with being unemployed for a while because they are too “entitled” to work at a smaller company before they get a better salary or position. In my experience, all roads will lead you to where you have to be. I’m not saying to take any job, but I would say… don’t be too picky. What you need is to learn and trust me, every job will teach you and give you experience. TAKE IT!! (and keep applying to other ones at night).
I hope this post helps you get a little more aligned on how to start looking for a job. I know it can get frustrating but I promise, you will find your way. This post, can help you figure out which way to go; large corporation or small business?
Thanks so much for reading!! Let me know how your job search goes 🙂
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