The Way to Work


Post-Graduation Job Search: Taking Action

May 18, 2010
by Erin Harris
You know what industry you’d like to work in and you’re ready to start looking for job openings. FindingDulcinea helps you take the next step, with tips on focusing your search, where to find the best job search engines, cover letter etiquette, how to market yourself and how to nail an interview.

Directing Your Search

The “Job Search Engines” section of findingDulcinea’s Job Hunting Web Guide offers a comprehensive list of online databases with job postings. Target your job search by using industry-specific or geographically specific search engines rather than huge aggregate sites; for example, begin by checking classifieds at local newspapers, local Web sites and your city’s Craigslist.

Don’t lose touch with your university. The Quintessential Careers Web site explains that many colleges grant alumni access to career center resources long after graduation. This can be an invaluable means to expand your network of professional contacts and receive alerts about job opportunities that may not surface in mainstream job search engines like Check into your own school to see if you can benefit from its career development center’s continued support.

Consider looking for opportunities in a wide range of industries. Just because you want to advise clients does not mean that you have to work at a consulting firm. See how those skills could be applied to, say, a job with an engineering company, like human resources manager.

Land the Job

Coming across a job you want can bring a rush of excitement, but it also introduces a whole new set of questions, like “But how do I stand out from all of the other candidates?” With so many people on the hunt for jobs in today’s economy, you’re probably in direct competition with hundreds of other applicants for your dream job.

In PricewaterhouseCoopers Career Advice video, “Recession Tactics,” Lindsay Pollak stresses how important it is to differentiate yourself from other candidates by creating a personal brand and showing how much you know about the industry and company. Researching the company that you are interested in will allow you to explain “in their terms” why you are the perfect fit for the job.

The New York Times recently addressed the issue of cover letter etiquette in “A Cover Letter Is Not Expendable,” which provides tips on length, organization and whether or not to include your letter as an attachment. Katy Piotrowski, career counselor, suggests snail-mailing a hard copy of your cover letter and resume after sending the electronic version; she says, “I’ve had clients double their rate of interviews simply from doing that.”

Once you’ve gotten in the door, use the resources in findingDulcinea’s feature, “The Way to Work: Interviews,” to score the job. We run through the best Web sites to help you prepare for an interview, from making a good first impression to asking the right questions at the end of the meeting.

Stay Positive

This is the beginning of the rest of your life, and if you don’t have a job lined up by the time you walk across the stage to get your diploma, fear not. The job search is an ongoing, lifelong process. Employees are always changing jobs or relocating, creating new openings. So, take some time to travel, visit friends and family, decompress from the past 16 years of hard work; you deserve it.

When you do get back into the job search, don’t be discouraged by rejection. Lindsey Pollak, the job advice guru at Price Waterhouse Coopers, says that if you aren’t experiencing any failure, then you aren’t taking enough risk in your job search.

A New York Times column entitled "All Is Not Lost for the Class of 2009" suggests taking an unpaid internship to get your foot in the door and build connections and skills in the industry you’re interested in. That will make you a more attractive candidate when paid opportunities become available.

Even if you spend the summer working at your local Starbucks, don’t worry. Pollak explains that working an hourly job can work to your benefit when the economy turns around because it showcases “how you made the best of a difficult situation.” Pollak continues, “I don’t think any recruiter will hold against you what you did to get through the recession.”

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