1. Don’t Wait to Start Your Job Search
If you haven’t started your job search yet, don’t delay; start now! It might be tempting to take some time off after graduating, but you might not realize how long a job search can take. The process can take months even in a good market, so start actively searching now.
2. Identity Your Job Target
Increase your chances of job search success by starting with a clear focus and job target. This includes knowing what you offer — your skills, interests, abilities and strengths as well as knowing what type position you are seeking. Consider:
- What function/type of work you find interesting
- What setting/environment you want to work in
- What client/ type of people you would like to work with.
If you have not taken the time to identify your focus, consider going back to the Career Exploration section of CareerBeam, our virtual career center. There you will find many self-assessments to help clarify your interests, strengths and preferences. I also love Candid Career for learning about career options. It features short videos with people working in different jobs. It gives you a good feel for the work. Access it through the career center web page to be automatically logged in. If you don’t have a job search target, you may find yourself just applying to all advertised jobs. You might feel like you’re accomplishing something by sending out lots of resumes but this isn’t a very effective approach. It can feel random and because about 80% of job openings are never advertised (this is called the hidden job market) using this strategy alone limits your options.
3. Develop Your Company List
Once you have a job target, you can develop a list of companies for whom you would love to work. Having a company list expands your options. You can use the internet to discover information about the company, search the company web site for open positions and find connections via LinkedIn or other resources who can help you apply for employment and possibly get an interview.
Resources for Identifying Companies
- CareerBeam, accessed through the Career Center’s web site has an excellent Research Tools section that includes US and world-wide company directories, industry reports, top rated cities lists, business industry resources and much more.
- Your local Chamber of Commerce is an ideal resource for finding local companies. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a directory you can search to find your local Chamber of Commerce. Then visit the Chamber’s web site to see if there is a directory of local companies.
- The San Francisco Business Times Book of Lists provides you with listings of hundreds of the hottest area companies in their fields, by ranking. You’ll also receive the names of key decision makers, along with their titles and complete contact information. You can find this resource in the career center.
4. Use Your Network
Now that you have a job target and a list of potential companies, it’s time to start talking to people or networking. Networking is a way to gain insight about different jobs and companies and it’s also the key to tapping into the “hidden job market,” the 80% of jobs that are never advertised. LinkedIn is an excellent tool for developing and utilizing your network of contacts. You can learn more about getting started with LinkedIn here.
While it shouldn’t be your only strategy, you’ll still want to check out online job listings. Here are a few that might be helpful to you.
- CareerBeam – job listings are under the “getting the job” heading on the menu bar.
- Indeed.com – this site aggregates listings from thousands of web sites including job boards, company web sites, professional associations and more.
- Bay Area Careers – Searchable by 8 Bay Area regions (including Sacramento). Linked to jobs on company home pages