For most graduating seniors the fun of football season brings with it the frustration of job-search season. For most business-oriented folks the search is well underway and for others the search is just beginning.

As I see it, the job search has three general stages that generally start at this time of year. The first step is researching employers, which includes attending job fairs, checking online job boards and using social connections (i.e. networking) to find out what jobs are available. There are many resources online and on-campus—check out the Career Center Connecter at www.careercenter.umich.edu to start—that you can use to begin this part of the search.

After that comes the preparation and submission of resumes, cover letters and interviews. Finally, accept offers and head to your favorite campus establishment to celebrate.

Here are a few tips to think about while starting, continuing and finishing the search for a full-time job (or internship).

1. Get started early and use all the resources that are available. Websites such as www.idealist.org, www.indeed.com, and www.usajobs.gov are three general sites that have hundreds of postings. Also consider industry-specific career resources, which useful to get a rundown of the types of jobs that are available.

In addition, many companies have an “about us” or “careers” section on their website that you can use to explore opportunities. Talk to every aunt, neighbor and alumnus you can about career opportunities in fields that you are interested in. Even if they do not have a job to offer, they can offer valuable insight into their industry. For finding opportunities for informational interviewing try visiting the Alumni Association’s website and using InCircle, a Facebook for the Wolverine Nation.

2. Job postings contain valuable information. This may seem obvious, but the job posting will contain precise language about the employer’s application process so be sure to follow the instructions fully and accurately. More importantly though, read them carefully to find the essence of what an employer is looking for in candidates. More than likely, the posting will have a theme that can be matched in resumes, cover letters and interviews.

For example, if a job posting mentions “analysis” 4-5 times, be sure to emphasize that summer internship which required writing weekly research reports. Wondering about what an employer wants? The first place to look is their posting.

3. Interacting directly with employers is an opportunity to make a good impression. When communicating with employers be sure to be professional in language and dress. Indeed, prospective job searchers who do not maintain professional conduct severely hurt their chances at landing a job. So be sure to practice your 30-second “elevator speech”, dress professionally, be excited and use office-appropriate language.

This idea also extends to written correspondence with employers. Proofread before sending any e-mails and make sure that any communication you have with employers is brief and relevant. Don’t forget to send an e-mail following up if you have a nice conversation at the job fair or after an interview. Handwritten thank-you notes go a long way, too. Good impressions at the job-fair and at corporate presentations start with a good handshake.

4. For most job seekers, resumes are the first order of business.
Use relevant details that extend your achievements beyond day-to-day duties. Try to include information about how you accomplished something in your student-organization or what impact you had on the company.

Think of it like a fruit basket. The “basket” is the story that holds your accomplishments together; the “fruit” is the relevant details that show something really interesting about you or what you have achieved.

For example: “Wrote reports after analyzing survey data and interviewing experts, decreasing costs by 10%”. The “wrote articles” part is the basket and the “analyzing survey data” part is the fruit. Embrace the fruit on your resume while minimizing the basket.

5. Remember that the job search can be long and frustrating, but keep with it. With enough time and effort, something is bound to happen. If you need help seek it out.

Also, be sure to contact the campus Career Center or the career services office of your college and speak with an adviser about any career related topics.

—LSA senior Neil Tambe is a Career Center Peer Adviser.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *