Regardless of your education level, your preferred field or your chosen employment search zone, there are tactics you can adopt to increase chances of landing a job, according to those who help students get where they want to go.
Consider personal expansion for starters. “Go to another place, another state,” urged Carolyn Yencharis Corcoran of the Insalaco Center for Career Development at Misericordia University. “I’m not talking about Barbados for spring break, I’m talking about taking on experiences abroad, a volunteer experience, an internship that might be out of state.”
And if you can’t get that, mingle with outsiders in your own school or community as much as you can, she added. “Interact with foreign students, work with something like adult training and literacy programs, attend those speakers that are on your campus talking about their experiences.
“If you have those items on a resume, when an employer looks at them they will say ‘Oh, look, this student didn’t spend every waking moment studying,” Corcoran said. “Many companies require great interpersonal skills, people who strive working with other people.”
Be “proactive in seeing the demands and exceeding expectations,” King’s College Office of Career Planning Director Chris Sutzko advised. “Every organization has become significantly more lean and got use to that culture. They only add to the payroll when it can show proven benefits.”
So volunteer, seek internships, agree to lead student efforts and otherwise do things that show you have the extra skills, he said. Job candidates “have to show they have proven industry related experience, leadership potential. They have to show they are engaged.”
And never assume you know it all. Sutzko said many students these days come in overconfident about their skills and their expertise in job hunting techniques. “You don’t want to knock someone down, but you want them to have realistic expectations.”
“Be persistent,” Wilkes University Career Services Director Carol Bosack Kosek added. “Some people just shudder at the prospect of putting themselves out there. The more you can get out there and tell people you are looking for a job, the more you build connections.”
And don’t be afraid to step out of your chosen field for a bit. You may find a side door letting you in, Kosek said.
“I tell students if you need to do that customer service job but your heart is in theatre, keep volunteering a night, a week or on Saturday” in theatre-related venues, she added. “Try to keep yourself in that context, so when an opening does come up, they know you.”
Network in person and on line, Kosek added. Many companies don’t advertise positions in traditional ways, opting for online sites. Use sites like LinkedIn with your goals in mind. If you have an interview at a company coming up, see if you have contacts that already work there who may share advice.
“I get this question from parents: ‘Can you guarantee that my student is going to get a job when he or she graduates’,” Kosek said. “I say, if you can guarantee me that your son or daughter will maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average, get involved in community service, take on some sort of leadership role and get themselves connected through networks and part-time jobs or internships that work in their fields before they graduate those are the folks who get jobs.”