Many consider finding the perfect job right out of college to be a pipe dream. Many also start off their professional career by saying; “I’ve graduated. now what?” Writing a job-specific resume, cover letter, nailing an interview, and selling yourself are most important when considering today’s competitive work environment.Finding a job after graduation can be a long and drawn out process. There is no such thing as applying for a position or internship too early. Most employers keep rsums on file for one year.
The first step in searching for a job is to find something that strikes a passion. According to MSNBC, approximately 85 percent of the working populations do not enjoy going to work every day. Studies have shown that people tend to spend most of their energy at work, and their families get what’s left.
No job is going to be perfect, however. With the way careers run today, it is not uncommon for a WCU graduate to have two or three different jobs within the first decade of employment. This rings true for a multitude of majors.
The first necessary step in dazzling a future employer is to write a solid rsum. Although some employers don’t put as much emphasis on rsums as others, having a job-specific rsum with highlights and personal qualifications won’t ever hurt.
A good rsum should include work experience, GPA if it is above 3.5, and other qualifications pertinent to the position being applied for. Many examples of good rsums are available online or at the Twardowski Career Development Center in Lawrence Hall.
The next step to getting an entry-level position is to create a cover letter that is short and to the point, but also conveys knowledge of the field and enthusiasm. The purpose of these letters are to display how personal talents will benefit the company from their perspective, ask for an interview, and show why the employer should take the time to read the professional rsum.
A cover letter is typically used to inquire about a job or to submit an application. If the job requires a rsum, the cover letter should accompany it. According to Dr. Edward Lordan, Associate Professor in the Communication Studies Department, “A cover letter is simply the wrapping on the package, and the package is your rsum.”
At the end of the cover letter, notify the person to whom the letter is directed that they will be contacted in the next week for a follow up. The most important part of this, however, is that the letter is followed up with a call. Not calling reflects very poorly on the applicant.
The final stage of getting a job is the interview process. This is often times the most important because it gives the applicant the chance to show their personality and not just skills on a piece of parchment paper. Kent Kirch, Global Director of Recruitment for Deloitte, divides the interview process into “the four p’s,” preparation, practice, personal presentation and pertinent questions.
First, preparation and practice go hand-in-hand. Find out exactly who will be conducting the interview and study their position. Next, personal presentation is often the deciding point in an interview. Not dressing correctly, or having a floppy handshake is detrimental to an applicant’s character. Maintain good posture, but don’t be uptight, smile, dress in proper attire, give a good firm handshake, and most importantly maintain eye contact.
In the latter stages of the interview, the employer might ask if there are any questions. Don’t say, “nope, you’ve answered everything for me.” If an applicant really wants to get a rise out of the employer, ask a difficult question about their company that has been researched fully. This will leave them with the impression that the applicant knows what they are talking about and have the integrity to ask questions back.
After the conclusion of the interview, have a written thank you card prepared with an envelope and stamp. Drop it in a mailbox closest to the building the interview took plane in. Getting a card the next day will be sure to impress any possible future employer.
Perhaps the single most important aspect in the entire job search process is networking. Making and maintaining business relationships is extremely important. Personal connections are very important in the business world.
For the first steps in job searching or help with cover letters and rsums, visit the Twardowski Career Development Center in 106 Lawrence Center.