For many, finding a job or even the thought of searching for the right career can be daunting. We apply ourselves everyday towards success, whether through a test, presentation or performance, but navigating through the job recruitment system takes particular strategy. These other experiences can help you prepare, but when it comes to connecting to a career, there are a few key steps to help you focus and light the fuse.
1. Assess your assets. Between your resume and your personal talents, you have a leg up on your competition in some way or another. It’s time to start thinking about what your propellers are. Think about three major things you can bring to the table, and make sure these key words are visible in your resumes, applications and informational interviews.
If you’re having trouble picking out industries you may enjoy working in, make a list of things you enjoy, and things that you explicitly are not interested in. This creates your pool of interests and your boundary lines. Your major may not necessarily correlate with your interests, and that’s okay. Do you like traveling? If so, look for positions that allow you to move beyond the desk. It’s these simple personal tendencies that can make a big difference in your search.
2. Navigate before driving. Unfortunately, there isn’t a GPS system to acquire the perfect job or internship. So, it’s important to map out your plan of attack. This involves brainstorming and researching. Ask yourself a few questions with a long-term perspective. What do you want out of it? Why do you want this? Do you know enough about the industries you are interested in? Is there anyone in the industry who can give you insight? Dream big and act upon it. It’s scientifically proven that those who approach situations with a can-do attitude actually…can do it!
3. Branch out. While career fairs and career expos are helpful and encourage interpersonal interaction with campus recruiters, it’s also important to take a few paths that aren’t as mass marketed. By funneling through the same channels as everyone else you are increasing your competition, and decreasing your chances of being noticed. Accompany this by finding a unique avenue.
4. Have confidence and keep talking. Once you have researched, planned and taken action, don’t be afraid to peacock your distinctive qualities. The best way to do this and leverage your job candidacy is to network. Networking is valuable at a social, professional and virtual level. You never know the windows that can be opened by just talking to people and sharing stories. Be sure to slip in your career goals, and stay authentic.
Attend networking events and join social networking groups online (Ning, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, InternCircle, etc.) Cultivating a personal network will be key to your future career support. You never know when you are going to need to lean back on your network, so don’t be shy about reaching out and sharing bits and pieces of your professional self.
Article written by Chelsea Prince the founder and Editor-in-Chief of InternCircle.com, the first social networking site for interns and employers, which also serves as a central clearinghouse for internship recruitment. Chelsea operates an advice column for interns at Intern Circle, and contributes weekly advice.