Please know you are not alone if you are dreading the next time someone asks you what your plans are for after graduation. While it may seem like everyone you know already has a job or graduate school lined up, I can assure you that is not the case, and there are seniors from Dolan to the beach freaking out about their futures. Now that you are confident it isn’t just you, the next step is to break up something as scary as a job search into smaller goals you can knock off in the next 75 days.
Repeat after me: You start when you start.
This may sound obvious but there is no sense in beating yourself up for not thinking about what you’re going to do after Fairfield earlier – it literally won’t do an ounce of good and will likely keep you from doing anything at all. What you need is a little forward momentum and then suddenly you’ll be the one giving tips to your friends about how to job search. So let’s talk about small things you can start doing RIGHT NOW that will help you feel like you’re making progress on the whole “being an adult” thing. By the way, I totally stole this mantra from Lindsey Pollak’s amazing book, “Getting From College to Career”. I know you have a lot of textbooks to read but I highly suggest you shell out $12 and set aside some time to read it.
1. Start doing some research about possible careers
If your main source of panic regarding the job search is, “I don’t even know what I want to do with my life! What kind of jobs are out there for people with my major?” then this is definitely where you want to begin. You will want to first think about your interests, skills, and personality and what type of entry-level positions would be a good fit for you. You should consider taking the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Strong Interest Inventory to get a clear sense of your personality type and interests.
If you’re more interested to know what jobs people typically get with your major then you should check out “What Can I Do With this Major?” You can also use the Alumni search function in LinkedIn to see where Fairfield alums with your major have gotten hired.
2.Research industries and companies.
Once you get a sense your interests your next step is finding particular industries and companies that interest you. You can start on our website and you can also use the Company profile pages on LinkedIn. One thing I love about those pages is there is a section called “People Also Viewed” which tends to give you the top 6 competitors for the company you are currently viewing. For the most part, you just found 6 other companies you should be considering applying to. See, this isn’t so hard!
3. Polish your resume and LinkedIn profile
Your resume is the cornerstone of your job search so you want to make sure that it is flawless and in the digital age we live in that goes for your LinkedIn profile as well. If you’re starting from scratch, I would suggest coming in to drop-in hours (Tues-Fri, 1:30-4pm) to meet with a Career Peer Adviser who has been extensively trained on resume development. Once you have a good foundation, make an appointment with a career counselor to make sure everything is perfect and to learn the ins and outs of LinkedIn.
4. Develop relationships with professionals. Informational interviews are your new best friend.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70% of all jobs are found through networking. This is exactly why we suggest investing a significant amount of your job search to developing relationships with professionals in your industry and not simply submitting your resume to every job you find online. You can start connecting with the people you already know: family, friends, friend’s parents, professors, former teachers, etc. Remember, no one can help you unless they know what type of job you are looking for and why. Then you can move on to people you don’t know but have something in common with like Fairfield alumni. Finding alums on LinkedIn, connecting with them, and setting up informational interviews will certainly lead you to some great advice and potentially to some job opportunities. Don’t know how to find alums on LinkedIn? We’ll show you!
5. Create something.
Never in the history of humankind has it been easier to publish your own thoughts and have them be seen by millions of people in an instant. It’s called, wait for it, the internet. You live there already so why not contribute something? Start a blog. Too daunting? How about a Tumblr? Whatever you do, create something that showcases your personality, writing skills, etc. Extra brownie points for content that’s related to your future industry.
6. Either clean up your social media or put your privacy settings on Def Con 5.
If you have any interest in entering fields such as marketing, public relations, advertising, etc. then having an active social media presence is in your best interest. However, this presence needs to be a completely positive representation of who you are which means thinking twice before posting anything that might be considered inappropriate. According to a survey conducted by Reppler, 69% of employers rejected a candidate because of what they saw about them on a social networking site. Don’t let that be you.
If your future career has nothing to do with social media then you can certainly just try to make it impossible for strangers to see your posts, tweets, etc. Please note that even the highest privacy settings will not prevent an off-color comment from going viral so do not post anything you wouldn’t want to see on Gawker.com the next day. See here and here.
7. Come see us.
Now it is time for the shameless plug: for the love of everything good in this world, please pick up the phone and call 203-254-4081 to schedule an appointment with one of us in Career Planning. We chose our professions because we love helping students but we can’t help you if you avoid us like the plague. We look forward to meeting you!
Meredith Tornabene, Associate Director