Overwhelmed by the very idea of applying for a summer job, or a more permanent position post-graduation? Take it from myself and fellow graduating senior, Kaelyn Cochrane—we understand the panic and the stress. Entering the world of employment, even as a student worker, can be quite the transition, and quite a time consuming process. The purpose of this blog is to share with you a few tips on how to find those jobs to apply to, and how to make your application a stellar one once you find the position that’s right for you!
Steps to applying:
1) Do wide jobs searches on job websites:
Start big, and narrow down your choices from there. In order to get a feel for how many positions in your desired field are out there, you have to really search! Browse all of your options, network and talk to individuals already involved in your field of focus, and start creating a list of the positions you’d like to apply for. Here are a few useful websites that have job listings:
Be sure to talk to those around you and make sure people understand what type of job you’re interested in. You never know when networking could pay off!
2) Narrow down your choices:
Although choosing a field of interest while searching for jobs is important, you also need to develop other guidelines for your search. Know what job titles you’re looking for, what location(s) you’re limiting your search to, your desired salary, and whether or not you want/need benefits. These are all contributing factors, and can hugely assist you in narrowing down your search. Again, here are some limiting criteria to keep in mind:
3) Research the Company
Once you find a position(s) that’s right for you, be sure to research the company or organization a bit more. Not only is it important to know what the company’s philosophy is to determine whether or not you want to work there, but well-done research into a company’s structure and core values can help make you a competitive applicant.
-Visit the company/organization’s website
-Find their Core Values
-Research Company Structure
-Learn about the company’s in-office environment
-Read online reviews
-Talk to people who have worked their previously/currently work there
4) Be proud of your resume!
Writing a resume is not one-time activity, but rather something that’s meant to be carefully crafted into a representation of yourself on paper and it should be something you’re proud of when it’s finalized. I’d suggest writing down all of the involvement opportunities, leadership positions, job experiences etc. that you feel have provided you with the best skills over the years. In addition, the following sections of a resume should or can be included:
-GPA and honors (optional)
-Relevant Coursework (less than 8 classes, optional)
-Study Abroad (optional)
-Objective (highly recommended, especially when creating a position-specific resume)
-Skills section (use words from job description, optional)
-References (optional, most jobs will request them if they’d like)
I’d recommend printing a copy out (editing is often easier with a hardcopy), and have an employer, parent, advisor, or friend edit it! It can only improve!
Throughout the process of updating your resume, be sure to keep in mind the following things:
-Why would YOU be a good fit for the company
-Cater your resume to each company
-Have a distinct & focused objective
5) Conquer that cover letter!
There once was a time when we were completely daunted by the notion of having to write a cover letter, and quite honestly that time was just a few months ago. The best way to tackle a cover letter is just to start writing! It can always be cut down, edited and revamped over and over until you feel it’s perfect, but without a draft, there’s nothing to edit!
Again, I’d recommend having someone read cover your letter. Also, be sure that no matter who reads the letter it makes a case for why YOU and YOUR skills are best suited to help the company/organization etc. that you’re applying to. This is your chance to boast in more words than can be written on a resume, so take advantage!
6) Start applying!
Now you’re ready for the most important step of all– applying! Follow our steps, talk to your peers, advisors, parents etc. and jump right into the process. Be sure to keep the following things in mind throughout the application process:
-Take note of everything that is required for the application!
-Keep a notebook with all of your job applications you have submitted, including dates!
-Follow-up! (With the HR department)
Oregon State’s Career Services offers free drop-in resume workshops, mock interviews, and a huge amount of online resources (including guidelines for tackling that cover letter) on their website. Take advantage of Career Services and all that is made available to you as an OSU student!
OSU Career Services Main Webpage: http://oregonstate.edu/career/
OSU Career Services Handouts (including resume and cover letter templates): http://oregonstate.edu/career/handouts
OSU Career Services Job Search Preparation: http://oregonstate.edu/career/job-search-preparation