I recently read an astonishing statistic provided by NACE (National Association for Colleges and Employers),
"As of April 2009, 59 percent of graduating college seniors, had NOT started applying for jobs ."
WHAT ? Even in a "good" economic climate this demonstrates a lack of preparation. Student's should be applying for jobs towards the BEGINNING of each semester. The job search process can be a very LONG one and it's key to get started as early as possible.
- Students graduating December 2009 should start their job search process mid-September.
- Students graduating May/June 2010 should start their job search mid -January.
Prepare For the Job Search
1. Keep a Calendar. This your time to really get organized. While you hang around and have summer "lazy days" or fun time on the weekend, take a moment to create a calendar. Use your IPhone, Blackberry, Microsoft OutLook, Google Calendar, or even a planner to choose days that you will accomplish certain tasks. You've been through the back-to-school a few times by now and should know what you will have to do. I suggest marking down the following days on your calendar:
- 2 days where you can sit down and start applying for Fall internships.
- 1 day where you can take a last look at your Fall 2009 classes and make sure you are meeting all of your requirements.
- 1 day to write Thank You Notes and log contacts from your current internship and any career-related events you may have attended.
- 3 days (after your semester starts) to start researching job possibilities in your location of interest.
- 1 day to compile your job application materials and put together any sort of portfolio, letters of reference that you might need.
- 1 day to set up informational interviews with any of your contacts that are already in place.
- 2 days to start your job reachout and start sending in application materials (clearly stating your graduation date) and requesting interviews for October (ish).
2. Organize Your Contacts. If I had to go back in time, I would have starting organizing my contacts much earlier. Go through your piles of business cards and random papers and start really keeping track of the people you meet. If your email system provides a great way to store contacts, go for it. Do you need to save everyone's number in your cell phone ? No. I like to use Excel documents that are always saved on my computer and that I can import into other programs to organize when necessary. Organize your contacts list with the following columns so that you can view the document in many different formats on an 'as needed' basis.
- Contact First and Last Name (Make sure to spell it correctly).
- Contact Direct Number and Office Line (You want to have the office line just in case the person leaves their position).
- Contact Email Address
- Company Address (If you don't feel like typing in the entire address, just write the city and state the person is located in for time zone reasons and if you are ever in that city you can contact them).
- Status/Notes (This column is for you to keep track of how and where you met this person and when you last spoke to them. If you put in a call or email to them, track it).
- Category (Try to categorize your contacts by field or industry so that if you want to search all of your contacts in a specific field - you can).