Monday, November 23, 2009

Starting the Job Search

This week I am "officially" starting the search for a job for after I graduate. I know this may seem early to you all but thinking about it, I'm actually really late. See, unemployment for '09 grads rose to 4.7 percent so I not only have other '10 grads to contend with, I have to be hired over grads from last year who still haven't landed positions. So starting my search as early as possible was necessary. I have sat in on a million and a half (really more like 15 or so) sessions on the job search but it has never been real to me before right now. So what am I doing to get my search started? I'll show you.

Step 1. Update Resume
The last time I updated my resume was August 2009, when I was applying for an internship for this fall. I try to tailor each resume I send to the organization that I am sending it to. This can be tedious, particularly if you have several copies of your resume floating around your computer. I keep it simple by having a master document with my resume in one un-changing layout. Everything I have done since being in college is on it, including descriptions of positions held, summer jobs my first objective statement (which I leave off my resume now) and my skills. This way, I can just copy and paste relevant elements of my overall resume onto a blank document when I've determined what the company wishes to see. This makes it much easier to keep my resume to one page and if I need to add more to it, I have extra info in my master document.

Step 2. Determine Targets
This may be difficult depending on where you want to work. The only thing that should disqualify a company/ agency is if you simply do not wish to work somethere. To start, Crain's does an excellent job of providing lists.

Step 3. Research Targets
Learn everything you can about the companies you're targeting. I plan to build company profiles, similar to what the FBI does on each and every one of us (blog post for another time). But seriously, company name pronounciation, executive leadership, employee twitter handles, recent client acquisitions, last new hires, etc. Anything I can think of to make me more knowledgeable about the place I want to work, I plan to put in these company profiles. This is also how you know what to put in your tailored resume and cover letter.

Step 4. Announce Availability to Network
Send an e-mail to those in your network announcing your availability for employement. I would never suggest a general blast though, instead send targeted notes to groups of contacts, be it by how you know them, industry (tech, non-profit, etc.), where you met or common interests. Be sure that everyone who knows you knows that you're looking for a job. You never know where that crucial connection to your dream job will emerge.

Step 5. Post Resume on Generic Job Sites
Most companies post open positions on their own sites but do not count out sites like, and even These sites provide you with a wider reach than you might other wise have, and they also offer online resume hosting and provide similar jobs to ones in which you might be interested. And most jobs don't have "public relations" in the title. Search "communications" or "marketing" or combinations of the three.

With each new look, start at step 3 and repeat. Like Ryan Hines noted from National Conference, "It's a job getting a job." I'm doing everything I can think of to give myself a fighting chance. What are you doing?

[Spell Check: There are four (4) planted errors in this post. First commentor with a correction gets to guest post here!]


Anonymous said...

First: spelling error in Step 2: "somethere"

Second: That is an amazing plan! Working in HR, those steps will be helpful. However, the cover letter is just as important as the resume. Make sure to have one of those and to personalize it to each company. Keep the letter to a page and tell them everything that they can't get from your resume (I bet you already know all this, but it's going to help you a ton when you're competeing with the '09 grads). Good luck on your job search! I wish more people would start this early; the latest people should start is December, because a hiring process can take up to 3-4 months, that's a long time to be unemployed if you apply to a job after you graduate.

Evan E. Roberts said...

Congrats Nicole!! You've won the inaugural SpellCheck contest! I'll contact you through e-mail about your prize and when we can get your post up.

Also great advice about cover letters. A lot of times people disregard tailoring resumes so i focused on that but tailoring the cover letter should be done for sure! That comment makes me really excited for your guest post lol Well done!