Through past generations, it’s almost like embedded within our roots that the moment we graduate from college, that's when we should starting finding suitable jobs. While nowadays, in a world full of competition and unstable economic transitions, finding a job, especially during a pandemic, is hard. If you’re not have yet graduated from college, then you’re in luck. Yes, you still have a lot of time to figure out your next path before you graduated, not after you graduated. And you may come up with a question, "Why should I start finding jobs before graduation?"
We know that every sector globally was still struggling due to the Covid-19 impact back in 2020. Finding a job during this kind of pandemic is hard. Let’s just admit to that ugly truth. With the economic downturn and companies financially strained, many job seekers now feel powerless. At the same time, the competition has also increased because your competitor may come from various generations. They could be someone from the millennials or even Gen Xs who have lost their jobs. So, for you, undergrads, finding a job these days need that extra effort. Perhaps you need two or three steps ahead of the “usual” idea of finding a job before Covid-19 happened. But don't worry; it means that you have the opportunity to start your engine before your actual race begins. For that reason, here's a practical five-week strategy that you can try to fast-track your job search.
Week 1: Update your resume or CV to highlight your transferable job
In your first week, you must get grounded with your strengths or start recognizing which potential job skills can help you get a job. One of the essential skills you need to highlight in your resume or CV is your transferable skills. Transferable skills are all of the things you’re good at and can apply to various roles in general industries—for example, strong writing, time management, and problem-solving. At the same time, nontransferable skills are often called “hard skills,” which refer to specific and certain industries, like coding, animation, or graphic design.
Starting in 2021, the strategy of tailoring your resume and CV for each role that you apply for doesn't wholly work anymore. Many companies are now searching for more adaptable, generalize skills on your resume because we'll never know what the business landscape can look like after the pandemic, right? Therefore, we categorize those skills into three main areas: systems-oriented, people-oriented, and self-oriented.
Systems-oriented skills are associated with your areas of expertise. For example, if you've worked as a content creator at a creative agency, highlight “business writing” on your resume and specify what you mean by including more distinct tasks — like creating blog posts or writing marketing emails — under your role.
People-oriented skills highlight your ability to communicate with colleagues. These days recruiters are searching for candidates who can collaborate remotely and have the potential to lead virtual teams. So, include keywords like performance management, virtual training, or task delegation, either under a particular role or a separate “skills” section at the bottom of your resume to demonstrate your ability to collaborate and lead.
Self-oriented skills tell your potential employer that you can work diligently, learn quickly, and apply new solutions to existing problems (e.g., decreasing productivity, burnout, etc.).
Week 2: Improve your personal brand and make your profile visible.
In this digital era, there’s no better way to find jobs than to improve your personal brand on LinkedIn. It is no doubt that hiring managers now use social media to seek for their candidates, and enhance your LinkedIn profile may provide you some opportunity. You can also think of LinkedIn as a way to show off your expertise. Engage with your network by liking and commenting on posts that are related to trends in your favored industry, publish and share whenever you've achieved something on your timeline, and regularly add connections. Increasing your activity on LinkedIn might fasten your way to elevate your social selling index, leading to increased visibility to your future employers.
Week 3: Conduct informational interviews with potential
co-workers or professionals.
This step of the week is when you begin to set your foot out to the door. Finding jobs may seem more challenging if you don't have the network, and the secret sauce to your networking strategy is by conducting an informational interview. Unlike any interviews, your goal in an informational interview is to help you educate yourself. Meaning, it allows you to gather intel on hiring and enables you to form broader connections with employees at those companies. As a bonus, you might even gain referrals to roles you’re interested in pursuing.
Start reaching out to your existing networks such as school alumni, family members, LinkedIn contacts, or friends you know are working in your interested organization or company. And don't stop the networking chain from there. After you've done the interview, you might also want to ask whether there's anyone else who they might suggest you contact to learn more. Taking this kind of action will show that you care enough about the position you're interested in and places you ahead of passive candidates.
Week 4: Ask for job search referrals from your connections.
Suppose you feel like you’ve gained enough information from your informational interviews. In that case, you can start to ask your contact for a referral before you apply to the role at their organization. It's important because getting a referral shows that you're confident in your skills and abilities and are usually seriously considered by an employer. It’s best to follow up with your referrer no sooner than one week after your informational interview to avoid bombarding them.
A recommended honest approach may sound like this, “Thanks again for talking with me about *company*. Learning about *topic* during our conversation made me realize how much I’d like to work for your company. I’m interested in applying for the position of *title and link to job description*, and I wanted to ask whether you could refer me or if you’d be willing to pass my resume to your hiring manager.”
Week 5: Prepare for your job interview.
Last but not least, prepare for your job interview in the best condition. Make sure that you conduct plenty of research so that you are up to date on recent news surrounding the company you’re applying to, as well as trends happening in your industry. Also, you might even gather information about the person that will interview you and the key ingredients in having a job interview, such as questions to ask in an interview and using the STAR method.
When it comes to your physical presence, there are several tips that you can also try in a common virtual interview. For example, you need to download the right tech (e.g., Zoom, Google Meet), have an appropriate environment (e.g., plain background, good enough lighting, and quiet spot), and make eye contact with the camera to appear confident! The point is, treat your virtual interview as if you're conducting a face-to-face interview. Even if you wear boxers during the interview, make sure to use a business casual outfit for your upper body. 😂
In conclusion, you can begin your job application journey way before you graduate because it'll give you better opportunities ahead. The sooner you can follow this five weeks strategy, the better prepared you'll be in the long run. So, take your time to give thoughts to your future career by following this strategy, and wish you the best of luck! If you're interested in reading more self-development topics, stay tuned to our blog every week. Follow our Instagram to gain some extra insights too! @baikgp @ayureadypodcast 💡