Your first stop, the Career Development Center.
The Career Development Center teaches students that career success is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Preparation before beginning a job search is the key to being successful. Visit the Career Development Center to learn how you can successfully transition from a college student to a professional:
- EMPLOYOLA: 24/7 job board for employers that purposefully want to recruit Loyola students.
- On-Campus Interviews: Routinely check the campus interview schedule through EMPLOYOLA.
- MGI Career Invitational & Fall Career Expo: Career Fairs can be an effective and efficient use of your time and give you an opportunity to meet face-to-face with organizations that are hiring. Take resumes and prepare an introduction of your skills and interest in the organization. The Career Development Center at Loyola University New Orleans co-coordinates at least two Career Fairs a year!
- Individual Appointment: Work with your career coach to develop a strategic job search plan and target the industries and employers of greatest interest to you.
- Take advantage of the programs and services provided in the career development center such as resume/cover letter critiques, mock interviews, career panels and meet with a career coach to assess your career interests, values, skills and use them as criteria to identify work that will be satisfying.
Start early…be open…be mobile.
The typical job search can take six to nine months, but in this economy it’s smart to start even earlier. While it’s wise to seek opportunities that you’re interested in, be cautious of limiting yourself by searching for your ‘dream job.’ Remember, this is your first job, and no job is perfect. Be willing to try something new and be aware that job descriptions often aren’t all-encompassing. You’re young, fresh out of college, and likely able to move, so go for it!
Perfect your marketing materials.
Different fields have different application requirements, and you need to know what those are for the field you are in interested in. Do you need a resume, a cover letter, a writing sample, an e-portfolio? Always have your application materials reviewed by someone in the Career Development Center. After polishing and massaging your resume countless times, you are probably too close to see the nits that need to be picked. Create a resume that clearly conveys your professional goals and accomplishments. Generate correspondence that is personalized and focused.
Leverage your network.
Developing professional contacts in the field can help you turn your career plans into reality. If you want to know where the opportunities are in an industry, the people you want to talk to are the ones already working in it. Don’t think you have one? Think again:
- Informational Interviews are one of the best ways to gather career information and to get your name, resume and face in front of a potential employer. Schedule appointments to meet with professionals and ask them about their careers.
- Network with family, friends, alumni, neighbors, church/synagogue members, professors, advisors, internship supervisor, co-workers, etc. Be sure to tell each person your qualifications and what type of work you are seeking.
- Find a mentor, a professional who is recognized and respected as a leader in your field, who may provide you with job search advice and alert you to vacancies.
- Professional organizations are the ideal place to research opportunities in your industry. Look for local, state or national association (event student branches on campus). Students typically receive a discounted student membership rate. Check the organization website for job listings and get involved in conferences and networking events. Leverage this group of professionals into a network to help you land the position you want.
Build and manage your brand identity with social media.
If you aren’t already on LinkedIn, you need to be. LinkedIn allows you to connect to people and organizations you know thus reducing the six degrees of separation to two or three. Use LinkedIn to conduct company searches, review job postings, send mass emails and link your blog(s) and twitter account. The best part of Twitter is that it allows you to connect with people you don’t know, based on common interests. What a great way to do some networking!
Be patient and persistent.
Set aside time every week to check for job postings, to do research on employers in your field and to send out a manageable number of applications. It is probably not realistic to try to send out 20, letter-perfect, individual tailored applications in a weekend, so pace yourself. It is better to send five high-quality applications than 20 generic ones. Treat the job search as a marathon rather than a sprint. When you work on the job search regularly, rather than in fits and starts, it is easier to stay focused and to combat that stress that inevitable accompanies the job search.
Don’t treat an interview as an interrogation.
If you are fortunate enough to land an interview, treat it as an opportunity to establish a professional relationship with the interviewer. Know the employer, and be prepared to ask intelligent questions. Engage with the interviewer and do not be shy in letting the interviewer know how much you want to work there. Be enthusiastic, not desperate.
Practice out loud.
Try to anticipate the types of questions you will be asked, and practice your responses. If you are uncomfortable in interviews, find someone to do a mock interview with. Like any other skills, communication skills get better with practice and though you may think you have a perfect answer in your head, you won’t know it until you actually articulate it.
Make that first impression count.
With everyone you meet at the employer, but especially with the interviewer, you want to make your first impression count. Stand up straight. Look the interviewer in the eye. Smile, and extend your hand for a firm handshake. Always dress to impress by wearing a suit to your interview. Conservative, polished attire will demonstrate your respect for the interview process and let them know you’re a serious candidate.
Stay upbeat throughout the interview. Smile – it will register in your voice. Do not let the interviewer’s facial expression and tone of voice throw you off your game. Do not assume that a particular answer is “wrong” or that you have “blown it”. Stay confident when asked about a perceived negative, do not make excuses or provide elaborate explanations. Give it one sentence, and move on. Remember that there is no “perfect” candidate; just be the best you can be.