Tuesday, July 12, 2011

4 Steps To Job Hunting Success

Guest Post Written By: John from Home Loan Finder.

When you are a graduate searching for your first real job -- you are on the threshold of opportunity. You are taking the first step into the rest of your life, the world is your oyster...and you're sick of all of the motivational cliches. While to your parents, teachers and mentors this stage of your life is an exciting and momentous one, for you this is just the next day, the next week, the next year of your life and turning point or not, you need to get out there and start earning some real money.
Following are comprehensive tips which will help you with your job hunting if you are a graduate, minus the cliches.
Before You Start the Job Hunt
Before you start looking for the right job for you, you need to be prepared and have the right mind set. For example, there is so much bad news out there about the job market that it can be easy to give up your search before you've even begun. However, rather than being worried about how the state of the economy and the world has affected the job market, and letting that stop you from applying, take a look at what really is out there, before assuming that there really are no jobs available.
Also make sure not to burn any bridges as you commence your job search, and keep your position in the workplace, even if it is only in part time work as an intern. Even work experience which isn't directly related to your field of study can help you with your job search, because it can demonstrate your reliability and work ethic. This includes volunteer work and unpaid internships which can look good on your resume.
To make your search more successful, it will help to know what you're looking for, so before you begin work out what you're looking for in a job opportunity, and what aspects are the priority; for example is a high salary or flexible hours more important, would you take a lower salary for better benefits and do you want to work near your home or in the city? When you've worked out the type of work you want you'll be able to target your resume to highlight relevant skills, and you can start researching companies you're interested in working for.
Before you Finish Studying
You don't have to wait until after you graduate to start looking for a job. In fact if you start looking for a job while you're studying you can be putting yourself out in front of the competition who are still planning their graduation parties. While you're still studying you can also take advantage of the campus career centre, attend job fairs held on campus and participate in interviews on campus which have been set up by companies looking to recruit graduates.
Plus, when you start looking early you will be in a better position to be picky about the jobs on offer, and can turn down offers which don't meet all of your needs. While you're out in front in the job search, you can plan to stay there by looking ahead in your career. Graduates are not the only ones who have to endure the job hunting process, many people seek a new career opportunity when they want a higher salary, better conditions, a promotion or more responsibility. However, you are in the position to avoid all of that by looking for a job at a company which promotes from within and has the structure to provide career advancement opportunities.
The Job Search
Searching for a job as a graduate can be time consuming, but to make sure you are conducting the most effective and comprehensive search of the market:
Network. You may not think you have much of a network as a graduate, but you can start by canvassing the relationships you have with family friends, relatives, lecturers and even your current boss. You never know who knows who. Then start by talking to people who are in the field you want to work in and who work for the companies you admire. You can start this process by building a LinkedIn profile where you can use social media to build a professional network, and find out more about the industry, and opportunities. When you network you can't simply approach your contacts and ask for a job; networking is about building relationships and getting to know your contacts better, and letting them get to know you. In this way you can continue to gather information which can help with applications and presentation, while staying the forefront of your contacts minds without being imposing.

Know your niche. If you have graduated from a diverse course such as social sciences or humanities, then you need to spend a bit more time clarifying the industry and the role you want to work in. Look at your skills and what you enjoy doing and when you have clear goals and a projected career path you're able to make better use of other job searching tools.

Face to face. Online job sites and social networking can help you with your search, but to expand your search, and often close the deal, you may have to get out there in the real world. Once you have applied for a job, don't just sit back and wait for a response, instead, put on your best office attire and get out there to meet people and follow up. If you've applied to 100 jobs from your favorite online job site and gotten no response, then your strategy isn't working and you need to adjust your approach.

Presentation and CV
The way you present yourself in the job market will also be a measure of your success and while you may think you don't have the knowledge or experience to compete with those already in the field, it can be all about presentation:
 Highlight industry experience. If you have industry experience you will put yourself far out in front of the other applicants, so think about whether you can highlight any work experience you completed as part of your studies, a relevant summer job or internship or a work-study program.

Take up internships. One of the best ways for students to improve their chances in the job hunt is to do internships in their field. Without experience in the industry you will find it hard to compete, so get that experience any way you can, and while you may have to put off the dreams of a new car for a while, you'll be positioning yourself to apply for even better positions.

Include your soft skills. Soft skills are things like leadership and team work and can be easily overlooked when you are writing your resume. However, potential employers will be looking at your industry skills as well as your interpersonal skills, and how you will fit into their team, so give examples of developing and using your communication skills, leadership skills and interpersonal skills. Employers recognize that it is much harder to learn interpersonal skills than it is to learn technical skills, and you can show you're the whole package.

When it comes to polishing up your resume, don't forget how it important this tool is. Your resume goes out there, where you have yet to be invited, and sells your skills and experience to a potential employer. Therefore, make sure you have someone else look over your application before sending it off, as many campuses offer resume review and critique services and tips on how to write an effective CV and covering letter.
The Interviews
No doubt one of the most daunting parts of the application process, especially for a graduate, who has had little experience in the interviewee chair. However, the only way to master interview techniques and project real confidence is through practice, so take every opportunity to practice interviews with family, friends or your spouse until you feel confident in your answers and can speak easily and naturally about your skills.
Before an interview, make sure to research the company you are interviewing with, because they will inevitably ask you what do you know about us? Or if they are not quite as direct as that, they'll ask how you see yourself fitting into the company, and the more you know about the structure and culture of the company, the better you can show how your skills and experience will help the company reach their goals. Also make sure you follow up any interview with a brief hand written note of thanks, reiterating your interest in the position and showing that you know what the company is looking for in a successful candidate.
The post-study job hunt can be stressful, least of all because you do have all eyes on you, waiting to see what you do with the opportunities presented to you. However, don't worry if the job search takes some time because there are always new jobs being advertised and if you have the right tools and attitude for the search, one of them will be yours.
This article was written by John from Home Loan Finder.