Leaving your collegiette days behind can be a real bummer, especially when your first rent check comes in the mail and you realize just how badly you need a job! Of course, being ambitious, well-educated collegiettes, we’d rather not be filling out applications for jobs that make you ask, “do you want fries with that?” So a professional job search will soon be underway, complete with resumes, networking, and all that other fun stuff you read about in pamphlets at your school’s career center. But how exactly do you find a job in The Real World? The best place to start is with these simple but crucial tips for any former collegiette’s budding job search.
1. Update your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn may not be quite as fun as Facebook, but that’s no reason to ignore it, especially when you’re looking for a job. Don’t be shy about asking your connections to introduce you to other connections they have who you might be interested in working for. It could pay off (literally)!
Of course, your profile won’t do you much good if you haven’t updated it since you answered phones in your mom’s office freshman year. Make sure all of your listed achievements are recent, concise, and impressive, just like they are on your resume. In addition to all your past jobs and volunteer positions, update your contact info if you’ve gotten a new e-mail or mailing address since you graduated. No one can offer you a job interview if they don’t know how to get in touch with you! Still need to get a professional email address? Outlook.com is free and easy to use, and it can sync contacts and updates from all of your social networks (including LinkedIn!).
2. Save your resume and other important files to the cloud.
Since your resume is super critical to your job search, you’ll want to make sure nothing happens to it—there are few things more frustrating than losing that precious document file to the abyss of your computer’s trash bin. The best way to keep this crucial document safe is to keep it backed up online, along with any cover letters or portfolio items you might need for your job search. SkyDrive is a great way to back up, edit, and share your files online to keep them safe. It’s free to use and comes complete with seven gigabytes of storage space that can be accessed anytime, anywhere – just in case you happen to run into a hiring manager in an elevator. And, the integrated Office Web Apps automatically format your files into a Word doc!
3. Be open to opportunities that aren’t your dream job.
A lot of soon-to-be-former-collegiettes panic about finding The Perfect Job. This singular, ideal position will supposedly put you on the career ladder of success, allowing you to skyrocket to the top of your chosen industry, earning you not only complete personal fulfillment but also (hopefully) millions of dollars. Unfortunately, this job will be pretty difficult to obtain right out of college (if it even exists). And, even if you think you know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life, there are probably hundreds of other amazing career opportunities that you haven’t even considered because you’ve been fixating on The Perfect Job. So make sure you have a lot of paper in your printer tray, because you’re about to print out a TON of different resumes.
If you’re not sure where to start with your job search, ask around with friends, family, and former supervisors, and explore online job boards. If you see a job that looks at all interesting, figure out which of your skills and experiences are applicable to that job, tailor your resume to that position, and send it along to the hiring manager. Windows 8 even lets you “pin” the job boards and social networks for companies you’re interested in right to your computer’s Start screen, so you can quickly check real-time updates and job opportunities. Remember that you have your whole life ahead of you, which means you could have multiple careers throughout your lifetime—why restrict yourself to just one now?