PLANNING YOUR JOB SEARCH

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3 PLANNING YOUR JOB SEARCH Planning Your Job Search Pg. 2 Know Who You Are And Where You Are Going Pg. 3 Know Your Industry Pg. 4 Select Your Search Engines Pg. 4 Gather Your Tools Pg. 5 Network With Professionals Pg. 6 Create A System Pg. 7 Professional Etiquette Pg. 8 Applying, Interviewing And Accepting An Offer Pg. 9 Job Search 101 Pg. 10 Typical Day In The Life Of An Organized Job Seeker Pg. 11 Career Services Offers Pg. 12 Final Points To Consider Pg. 13

4 PLANNING YOUR JOB SEARCH Why organize your job search? Most people can say that they lead very full lives. A typical day in the life of a BSU student could include preparing for an exam, finishing a paper, working at a part-time job, attending three classes and finding time to eat lunch! For these reasons it is important to organize your job search. Organizing your job search means that you create a job search schedule that fits into your regular weekly to-do list. It also means that you will be less likely to miss job postings, opportunities to attend important Career Services programs and essential networking with professionals. How do you organize your job search? Think about a time when you had to write an important research paper for a class or when you planned your college application process. What methods worked best for you? Do you prefer to prepare an outline or create a plan before you begin? Or do you work better with a less structured system? Chances are the approach that produced a successful paper or got you into college will be similar to the method you should use for your job search. Over the next few pages, this guide will provide you with a series of steps for approaching your job search. These recommendations should help you to build your own plan for attaining your career goals. 2

5 KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WHERE YOU ARE GOING Do you know what careers interest you? Are you aware of the entry level jobs in your industry? Do you know what you can do with your major? Knowing who you are and where you are going is the first step in the job search process. Career Services has on-line resources available to help you answer these questions. The FOCUS on-line program matches your interests, values, personality, skills and also describes jobs and industries in detail. FOCUS is available at: Please contact Career Services at for the password. What Can You Do With This Major? Allows you select a major and explore what types of careers are associated with that major. Also included in each major are potential employers as well as strategies to prepare you for work in each field. This resource is located at majors/default.html. Vault has great guides that describe careers as well as jobs within industries, and offers insider information about companies across the U.S. The on-line O*Net website describes jobs. Using this program, you can match your skills to occupations, learn which occupations are in high demand, and see what specific tasks, tools and skills are needed in a specific job. O*Net can be accessed at 3

6 KNOW YOUR INDUSTRY Before you start your job search it is important to know what jobs you should be seeking. Several questions you should ask yourself may include: Question: Answer: Question: Answer: Question: Answer: What companies employ professionals in my field? Vault.com lists companies by industry and has great industry and career guides that can be downloaded. For the password to Vault, contact Career Services at What entry level positions are available? FOCUS gives you sample job titles within industries and includes salary ranges, skills needed and qualifications. FOCUS is accessible at: O*Net is another resource for understanding entry level jobs. O*Net is located at: What are the salary ranges for these jobs? Salary.com is a great site for reviewing salary ranges. SELECT YOUR SEARCH ENGINES Search the human resources page of company websites Google jobs in your field to find industry specific search engines. Example: Green jobs Google professional organizations or associations within your industry for job announcements Job Search Engines That Career Services Recommends BSU s online database of full-time professional jobs Simplyhired.com: A centralized search engine that provides alerts Indeed.com: Jobseekers can find positions posted on thousands of job boards Juju.com: Search by category, keyword, or company to find jobs across the U.S. Boston.com/jobs: Find job listings within the different regions of Massachusetts Idealist.org: Great search engine for positions at non-profit organizations Please go to to find further information on industry specific search engines. 4

7 GATHER YOUR TOOLS The following is a To-Do List for the tools you will need for your job search. Counselors in Career Services can discuss any and all of these necessary materials with you. To Do: Stop by Career Services to: Schedule a Senior Recruiting Appointment Review my resume Create my first cover letter Discuss my reference page Buy: Interviewing suit Professional folder Thank you cards 5

8 NETWORK WITH PROFESSIONALS Networking with professionals is an essential part of your job search that may lead to job opportunities as well as improve your knowledge of the field. The following resources will help you to build your first career network. BSU Alumni Mentor Program Career Services has recruited over 150 BSU alumni who are interested in mentoring you through your job search. You can contact these Mentors through at: LinkedIn is a free professional networking site that helps you network with people from all over the country. Be sure to join the Bridgewater State University alumni group to interact with alumni in numerous career fields. ReferenceUSA ReferenceUSA is an on-line business and consumer research database. You can locate and research over 14 million U.S. businesses and 3 million international businesses that you may want to work for. This database is located at: indatabase.cfm. Proceed by selecting ReferenceUSA from the drop down menu under the alphabetical database list. Professional Associations Attending or volunteering for professional associations events and conferences will put you in contact with professionals from your field. is a website that allows you to search for professional associations by industry and location. Want to Learn How to Network? For more detailed information about networking, pick up the Networking 101 guide from Career Services. 6

9 CREATE A SYSTEM It is important to keep your job search engines, application materials, and professional contacts organized through a system. Career Services recommends one of the two methods below. The Paper System 1. Go to the bookstore or Staples and purchase an expandable file or portable file box to hold all your materials. Purchase file folders. 2. Create folders for every position to which you apply. The folder can contain the resume, cover letter and reference sheet you used to apply for the position, as well as the job description and company research. 3. Be sure to label each folder by the company name and/ or job title so you can easily find and refer to your folders if an employer calls. The Electronic System 1. Save your favorite job search engines and company websites as bookmarks on your Internet server. Now you can easily check every day! 2. Sign up for announcements on your favorite job search engines when jobs that match your criteria are posted. 3. Create a spreadsheet to track the company name, job title and contact information for each job you apply to. 4. Create a spreadsheet to keep track of your weekly networking contacts. 5. Save all of your job search documents in one folder on your hard drive. 7

10 In order to be viewed as a reputable candidate it is essential to maintain professionalism in all interactions with employers whether you are at a job fair, presenting your information on a job application, sending an to schedule an interview or attending an actual interview. Some recruiters WILL dismiss an applicant s candidacy altogether if they find spelling mistakes, abbreviations or inappropriate language in or conversation. Follow the guidelines below and you will save yourself from being cut. Use a professional address such as Use a descriptive subject line such as Marketing Assistant Application. Use proper salutations: Mr., Ms., or Dr. DO NOT use slang words, texting or IM language such as cuz, btw, or 4. Write in complete sentences. Spell out every word. Do not abbreviate. Be concise and to the point. Do not leave the employer with questions. Always thank the employer at the end of an . Use spell-check and reread your message before sending. Know to whom you re sending a Forward or Reply All . Phone Provide the employer with the phone number you will most likely be available to answer. Do not give your landline if you are rarely home. Update your voic message to an appropriate and professional response such as, Hello, you have reached, I m sorry that I have missed your call, but if you leave your name and number I will respond as soon as I can. Thank you. Turn your cell phone OFF during an interview or meeting with an employer, or leave the cell phone in your car. Use discretion when on personal/business calls. Other people CAN hear you! In Person Always greet the employer with a firm handshake, introduce yourself (first and last name) and express interest in meeting him or her. Start a conversation about the employer s work. Try to establish a genuine connection so the employer will remember you. If the conversation goes well, mention your career objectives and ask the employer for a business card to keep in touch. Social Networks Almost everyone has a Facebook or other social media account. Employers may view these accounts. Nothing online is private, so keep the following points in mind: PROFESSIONAL ETIQUETTE Maintain strict privacy settings and monitor these on a regular basis (the rules change constantly). Everyone can generally see your profile photo, so be sure it is an appropriate image. Check other photos as well and if you question it, it is best to just delete or untag it. Examine all the information you have online, Google yourself and delete/update inappropriate information (at the very least during your job search). 8

11 APPLYING, INTERVIEWING, AND ACCEPTING OFFERS Application Materials Ensure that your resume and cover letter are updated and error-free prior to sending them out to an employer. Career Services can critique these documents and offer feedback for improvements. Your resume and cover letter should be targeted and personalized for each new job you apply to in order for you to stand out to the employer. Professional References During your job search, it is essential that you request assistance from your professional references in advance. Previous coworkers, supervisors, or colleagues who can speak to your work ethic and accomplishments should serve as your references. Be sure to ask these individuals to serve as a POSITIVE reference for you and provide them with a copy of your resume and the job description. Always thank your references. We suggest that you either ask in person or by phone. Please do not ask via . Interview Preparation For help practicing your interviewing technique, call the Career Services Office to schedule an appointment for a mock interview. Additionally, make sure that you have the following items: Professional Business Suit Notepad with paper and pen Extra copies of your resume, cover letter, and references Questions to ask the employer at the end of the interview Personalized business cards (optional) Post Interview Follow-Up After each interview, it is essential that you send a professional thank you note to the employer within 48 hours. If possible, send an individualized note to each person you interviewed with. In the note, make sure to mention something discussed in conversation during the interview to help the employer remember you. Reiterate your excitement and interest in the position. Accepting an Offer/Salary Negotiation If you are about to accept an offer, be sure that you have seriously weighed the pros and cons of the job. Feel free to ask the employer for a day or two to think about the offer and make an informed decision. Before you receive an offer, you should research the typical salary expectations for someone in that field with your qualifications and experience. With this information, you can compare your research to the offer they provide you and negotiate if necessary. Please visit salary.com or payscale.com for more information 9

12 JOB SEARCH WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE OUT OF WORK? Use your Time Effectively The job search process can take a considerable amount of time. Throughout your search, it is essential to continue building upon your skills and experiences. For example, seniors can still acquire internships, volunteer work, or part-time jobs in their last year at Bridgewater to boost their resume with relevant experience. Do not feel like it is too late to pursue experiences that will assist in your job search even after you graduate! Below are a few ways you can spend extra time and become a better candidate once you find a job you re really interested in. Find a Post-Graduate Internship Volunteer Conduct Informational Interviews with People in your Field Attend Professional Association Events to Network Spruce up on Computer Skills with Software Training Classes Renew your Certifications (First Aid, CPR, etc.) Work for a Temp Agency Find a Part-Time Job with Benefits 10 Things to do After a Layoff In today s world, the job market heavily depends on the economic trends of the country. It is not uncommon for individuals to experience lay-offs or unemployment during their working years. The best thing one can do to prepare for unemployment is to know his or her options and stay positive. If you are laid off, consider the following suggestions below. 1. Apply for Layoff Benefits 2. Consider Post-Layoff Careers 3. Stock up on Necessities 4. Determine how Much Money you have 5. Adjust Layoff Cost of Living 6. Raise Money 7. Revamp your Resume and Get it Critiqued 8. Start Searching for New Jobs 9. Create Layoff Goals 10. Write Down your Weekly Time Management, Job Search and Resume Submission Goals 10

13 A TYPICAL DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN ORGANIZED JOB SEEKER Now that you learned all of the steps to planning your job search, it s time to take charge on a weekly basis. You may choose to use the following steps to develop your own schedule for your job hunt. 1. Job hunt on your saved job search sites. 2. Customize and send out your resume and cover letters for new jobs. 3. Make contact with 1-2 new people from your field. 4. Call companies to verify that last week s job application materials were received. 5. Follow-up with professionals you have met through networking. 6. Practice 1-3 interview questions. 7. Make a cold call to 1-2 companies to request an informational interview. 8. Check Career Services calendar and register to attend relevant workshops. 9. Check online for upcoming career fairs. 10. Update your LinkedIn profile. 11

14 CAREER SERVICES OFFERS... One Hour Senior Recruiting Appointment Registration On-Campus Interviews Resume Referral Program Employer In Residence Program Fall Internship & Job Fair Workplace Protocol Program Job Shadow Program During Winter Break Practice Interview Program Interview Makeover Contest Senior Job Search Boot Camp Annual Job Fair Experiential Learning Expo Education Career Fair 12

15 FINAL POINTS TO CONSIDER Work on Your Job Search Plans Every Day - Don't Procrastinate! Stay organized and keep track of your progress Incorporate a Variety of Approaches to Reach Potential Employers: Network, Network, Network! Attend Job Fairs (On and Off Campus) Search Company Websites and a variety of job databases Utilize the Senior Recruiting Program Research and Utilize Professional Organizations in Your Field Set-up Informational Interviews Keep Informed of Business and Employment Trends in Your Area Consider Temping, Working Part-Time or Find a Post-Graduate Internship Accept Rejection as Part of the Process; Learn from it Develop a Network of Supportive People Consider all Opportunities and Alternatives Keep a Positive Attitude! COME TO CAREER SERVICES FOR GUIDES ON THE FOLLOWING TOPICS: Choosing a Major Resume Writing Writing an Effective Cover Letter Internships Networking 101 Effective Interviewing Dress for Success Preparing for Graduate School 13

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