Above all else, you have to be strategic, creative, and proactive in order to get the results you want…
Get clear about your goals for finding a job or internship.
- Do you need to earn a certain amount per month to cover your expenses? Do you need a flexible schedule, or a job that is only on weekends? How many hours do you want to work? Don’t aim to work more than 20 hours a week – your grades could suffer.
- How important is it that you gain work experience of a certain type or in a certain industry? How can you use a job during the school year to help you either figure out your career path, or build your resume? What types of industries / careers and job roles / functions are you interested in?
- How will you know when you’ve found a job that meets your criteria? Write your criteria down in ranked order of importance, then draw a line below the criteria that are your absolute minimal requirements. Just remember to be realistic, you can’t necessarily get everything you want, especially in a tough economy.
Now that you know your goals, be creative about how you find opportunities that match up to them.
- Have a favorite store or company? Call and ask if they have any openings. If they don’t at the moment, ask if they will be hiring seasonal employees for the quickly-approaching holiday season.
- Ask your professors if he/she knows of any student employment needs in their department. Having a connection with someone on the inside can be a really easy way to get a great referral for a job not a lot of other people know about!
- Got any skills that you can showcase as a freelancer? How about advertising as a tutor, babysitter, snow-shoveler, make-up artist, or dog walker?
- Go to the Career Center on campus. They have a wealth of resources for job seekers, and oftentimes, they have connections with employers who specifically want to employ students from your school!
- Check out job bulletin-posts on campus other than in the Career Center (buildings, class rooms, kiosk posts) and off campus (coffee shops, windows, unemployment offices, education centers).
- Check out online job sites! There are the obvious ones like Craig’s List, Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, but how about these others:
A job or internship doesn’t find you … you find it!
- Get the word out that you are looking for a job. Talk to friends, roommates, professors, past coworkers, family members, etc. to see if they know of any openings. You could even use your status on Facebook to get the word out!
- Call potential employers and ask to talk to a hiring manager. If they are not available, at least get a name so you can try them again later. This can make a huge difference in whether your application actually gets reviewed or just added to the pile.
- Tailor your resume to fit each job you apply for. To save some time, create a few resume templates that you can alter just slightly, like a ‘retail resume’ and an ‘office job resume’, that showcase your skills and abilities specific to each job type.
- Feel limited by not having a car? Take out your bike, skateboard, walking shoes, or rollerblades even and get some exercise! If you don’t want to sweat then figure out the public transportation in your area – you can access route maps online or call bus companies to talk to someone who can help you figure out a route…and while you’ve got them on the phone, ask if they are hiring!
Whether this is your first job search, or your umpteenth, it certainly won’t be your last. This experience will serve you well far into the future!