Looking for your first professional job after college takes time and commitment, but you’re ready to take that step. It’s best to begin searching for a job at least six to nine months prior to graduation, and you should plan on setting aside three hours a week for the process.
To help you get started, we have outlined the steps to increase your chances of a successful job search. Once you identify your general career aspirations and understand the knowledge, skills, and abilities required, you can get ahead to the process of developing a successful job search.
12 Steps of the Job Search Process
- Get in the right mindset. Finding a job can be difficult, but it’s worth it in the end.
- Develop your resumes and cover letters, and have them reviewed by a career counselor.
- Upload your documents to Handshake, and begin searching applicable job postings.
- Make social media work for you, not against you. Potential employers like to connect with candidates via social media, so be selective in what you tweet.
- Utilize other online resources, such as CareerShift (access code: wvsenior) and LinkedIn. Don’t overlook individual company career pages.
- Leverage your network. Talk to classmates, alumni, professors, family, and friends to learn about potential opportunities.
- Join professional associations. To find groups in your industry, visit What Can I Do With This Major?, select your major(s) of interest, and scroll to the bottom for a listing.
- Stay organized! Track the jobs you’ve applied to, adhere to deadlines and dates, as well as follow-up details.
- Schedule a practice interview with a career development specialist.
- Participate in career fairs and other professional development events.
- Follow up with employers after every interview.
- Do your homework to decide if you will accept an offer or not, and be prepared to negotiate if necessary.
Your first job offer may not be for the dream job that you have imagined. But with determination and a good career plan, you can often leverage the accomplishments of your first job to prepare you for bigger and better opportunities.