How to Start your Job Hunt

Image courtesy of CNBC

BY LAUREN CHAMBERS                                        ONLINE CONTRIBUTOR

There’s everyday stress… and then there’s being a 4th year being faced with adult life and finding a job stress. The indescribable, “what am I supposed to be doing with my life”, overwhelming kind of stress. For those of us facing the great unknown come May 1st, this one’s for you.

 

Now, I’m no expert at job hunting. But, I’m going to share some generally good advice which anyone could apply to the process that I’ve learned through networking and my experience in the commerce program. Here it goes:

Beginning a job search is a very reflective process. Even if you don’t know what you want to do with the rest of your life, it’s best to have an idea of a type of entry level role you’re looking for. It’ll help you refine your search and allow others to help you as well. Moral of the story: you have to know what you want before you ask for it.

Starting off, do some research and build a list of 15-20 companies you would like to work for. Think of places where you see yourself fitting in, or you want to be a part of the work they’re doing. Glassdoor is a great website for scouting out potential workplaces, as it lets employees anonymously review companies and their management. Also, never think too small on this list- if you want to work at Google or Facebook write it down and see what happens. Never doubt yourself, if you never ask, the answer will always be no.

Next, for each company you’ve identified use LinkedIn or company websites to target 2-3 employees with whom you’d like to reach out to. Keep in mind that 80% of the job market is not posted online, and creating these connections is a great way to be on the company’s radar. Doing coffee chats and informational interviews with current employees is one of the best ways to get your resume in the door, or create a relationship with the company.

Begin the initial outreach to these identified contacts. Whether it’s a LinkedIn message, or an attempt to find their company email just keep in mind that while you need to be attention grabbing, they don’t owe you anything. Be polite and ask for only a brief moment of their valuable time. Try this email heading: “Queen’s student seeking informational interview”. In the email be very brief (2-3 sentences) and ask for 5-10 minutes of their time as this is an easy thing to say yes to. An old sales trick – if you get someone to say yes to smaller questions or favours early on, they’ll be more likely to say yes to bigger asks in the future.

See where these interviews take you. There’s a ton more information online on how to conduct informational interviews/coffee chats online you can research. My biggest piece of advice is that this isn’t a job interview so don’t ask for a job from them! This is purely for information on the company. Second, have a goal for the coffee chat and make the individual aware of how they’re helping you achieve this goal. That way, they can feel as though they’ve helped you and it wasn’t a waste of their time. Think about this question: how are you going to add value for them in this process?

At the end of the day keep in mind that your first job isn’t going to be your last job. The future may be scary at times, but action is always better than inaction. Take the first steps and see where they take you. Life’s a journey and this is really just the beginning.