A few more job search tips February 27th, 2008
Hi All- I hope this post finds you all well. I’m just returned to campus from NWACUHO, the Northwest Association of College and University Housing Officers annual conference in Vancouver, WA. It was a great opportunity to network with housing folks from across the Northwest, including Alaska, Alberta, and British Columbia. I was also excited to catch up with several of my OSU and CSSA colleagues while at the conference. I’m sure Jill or I can come up with a post explaining the importance of professional associations (joining them is very important!), but this post is about job searching, so I’ll stick to that:
- I was offered my position on August 24th, more than 2 months after graduation. It was a sometimes anxious waiting process, but it was also important to me that I find a position that fit me well and where I could learn. I also wanted to stay in the Northwest, so I kept a pretty narrow focus in my job search. Patience is definitely key, so trust that things will work out.
- Tailor your resume and cover letter to each position. I know when going through a placement process this can be time consuming, especially for those of you finishing up your legal memos and portfolios/theses, but this really is the way to get your foot in the door.
- If possible, get a copy of the position description and a formal job announcement. Be sure to address required and preferred qualifications in your application materials. Most institutions score resumes and cover letters using language straight from the position description and job announcement, so the more you can tailor your own materials to that, the better your chances of an interview (in other words, they’re telling you exactly what they’re looking for, so be sure you give them what they’re looking for).
- I would disagree with Jill’s tip about keeping a narrow focus in your search in regards to geography or functional area. My advice would be to apply for positions you feel passionate about in places you may want to live. For some people, this will mean a broad search and for others a more narrow search. If you have a narrow range of locations, you may have to sacrifice your priority functional areas, and vice versa, but if you see a position you’re passionate about in a place you wouldn’t mind living, apply! (even if it is outside your intended parameters). Don’t be afraid to let the search lead you somewhere unexpected.
- Use your connections in the field. If you have mentors or contacts at other institutions, ask them if they know of any job openings you might be suited to. This is definitely “networking” at its finest, but sometimes we forget that we already have networks (though it never hurts to build them even more).
This is a pretty good list of things that I found helpful, but I’d be happy to chat further with anyone who has questions or thoughts. Good luck to everyone at placement and in your job searches in general. Happy Hunting!