After you have defined your career interests and developed a realistic understanding about the job market, your attention should be focused on generating a list of potential employers and job possibilities. Unfortunately, employers probably won't find you, you must actively search for opportunities and available positions. This will be a time consuming effort, however, the time you invest now will reap benefits for years to come.
To begin, make sure you are prepared with all the relevant job search tools. The following is a list of items you may need:
A professional resume that has been reviewed by Career Services
Well-written, specific cover letters targeted to your intended career field
A list of references who have indicated a willingness to recommend you
Resume-quality paper for in-person interviews, job fairs, thank you letters and mail-in applications
A date book or online calendar to keep track of deadlines, job fairs and interview dates
Lists of companies and positions which you have researched and submitted applications
An appropriate e-mail address and professional-sounding voicemail message
A well-tailored suit, good shoes and other professional interview attire
When it comes to the job search, many folks respond to job postings and advertisements but will not take initiative in identifying potential job leads. If you employ this strategy and do not attempt to personally identify employers with whom you would like to work, you are limiting your success. A proactive job seeker will generate many more leads and will, more likely, be able to secure a position upon graduation.
Listed below are methods you may pursue, both reactive and proactive, to identify possible employment leads. Successful job searches involve careful preparation, multiple strategies, and, most importantly, good follow-through.
Career Services provides you with numerous resources for contacting employers. Briefly, Career Services offers: the on-campus interview program, targeted job listings in office binders, online job postings, Career Expo and much, much more. To take full advantage of these services, it is important to meet with a career counselor to discuss your goals and plans. A career counselor can help direct you to resources that will be most helpful for your specific interests. Remember: the responsibility of securing a job rests with you - no one else can do it for you. The Career Services staff will provide support, guidance, and information to help you with this important task.
One of the most effective means of locating a job is through networking.
To begin, develop a list of people who would be willing to assist you: relatives, friends, faculty, Rollins alumni, former employers, high school teachers, and other professionals.
Provide each of these individuals with a copy of your resume and make sure they are aware of your career goals.
Ask the people in your network for ideas, guidance and advice on job searching in your field of interest.
Be sure to contact former employers at part-time jobs and internships to update them on your current job search status. Since you have already proven yourself to be a valuable employee, they may be interested in re-hiring you for a full-time position or recommending you to a colleague.
Follow up on all leads; make changes to your resume, call or e-mail recommended employers and contacts, and check out suggested Web sites.
When contacting prospective employers, be sure to mention the name of the person who provided the lead, as this information may cause the employer to consider you more favorably. An excellent way to grow your network is by using the Rollins alumni Career Connections database in R-CareerLink. Be sure to keep your network informed of your progress and send thank you notes or letters to everyone who has assisted you.
Employment and job search Web sites of all different kinds exist on the Internet. In R-CareerLink is Rollins' own job (and internship) posting site called "Jobs for Tars". All positions in Central Florida, the U.S. and around the world that are known to the Career Services staff (coming through mail, fax, e-mail, calls from alumni, etc) are posted in this system. In addition to Jobs for Tars, there are many sites offering advice on conducting an effective job search for a particular field and others offering job listings and resume drops. For a list of job search Web sites, visit the Career Resources Online-Job Search Sites page.
A job fair can be an efficient method of quickly talking with many employers all under one roof. When preparing for a job fair, it is helpful to have a list of employers registered for the event. (See Rollins' Career Expo Registered Employer List here). Review the list and identify 5-10 employers that you would like to meet. On the day of the event, dress professionally and be prepared to distribute your resume. You should prepare a list of questions to ask the employers. When greeting the employer, smile, extend your hand and state your name clearly.
Conversations at a job fair are very brief, but that first impression is still very important. Be sure you know what you want to ask or tell the employer. At the end of your conversation, as the employer for a business card and leave a copy of your resume with him/her. After talking with all of your targeted employers, spend some time meeting other employers; you may be pleasantly surprised by their opportunities. You should follow up on all job fair leads within a week; be sure to mail or e-mail the employer another copy of your resume in case it was misplaced during the job fair. Local and regional job fairs are listed in the Career Quest e-newsletter and on the Calendar page as they become known to Career Services. The annual Rollins College Career Expo is held in March.
If you have identified employers for whom you would like to work, you should consider sending targeted cover letters accompanied by your resume. Do not try to shortcut the system by sending generic cover letters; the employer will easily identify a form letter and will assume that your interest is not sincere. This proactive method is especially important in today's challenging job market, as many employers do not widely publicize job openings. Rather than post a job on a large Internet site and receive thousands of applications, many employers tend to post openings only on their own corporate Web site, if at all.
To increase your effectiveness, try to identify an internal contact with whom you can conduct an informal informational interview. Not only does this demonstrate an ability to take initiative, but you will also be able to incorporate information you learn into your cover letter. Be sure to follow up on all letters. If you are planning a long distance job search, keep in mind that for most positions, employers have access to qualified candidates in their immediate geographical vicinity. To improve your chances of being considered, try to identify an internal contact. Another effective approach is to plan a time that you can visit the area and inform the employer of your plans to visit and your availability. Do not be surprised if you do not hear back from employers; many do not send responses unless they have an opening and feel that you are qualified.
Employment agencies may be contacted by various businesses to find part-time and full-time candidates for their vacant positions. If you decide to work with an employment agency, you may want to check with the Better Business Bureau regarding the agency's reputation. Know that reputable employment agencies charge all related fees to the employers, therefore you, the job seeker, should not be charged a fee for service.
In meeting with an employment agency representative, be sure to have a clear career goal; some job seekers feel that they have been persuaded to take a position in which they had no real interest. However, do keep your mind open to considering various positions, as temporary or entry-level employment can be an excellent way to "get your foot in the door" and offer the opportunity to demonstrate your skill set, leading to more advanced positions. Always be sure to read all contracts carefully before signing.
The Office of Career Services subscribes to several fee-based employment bulletins and makes these materials available in hard copy format in the Career Resource Library. Bulletins are updated monthly and contain national and international full-time job and post-graduate internship opportunities. Stop by Career Services and check out the following binders:
Current Jobs in Management & Business
Current Jobs International: Foreign Language and International Affairs Positions
Current Jobs in Writing, Editing & Communications
Current Jobs in Liberal Arts
Current Jobs in Performing Arts
Current Jobs in the Visual Arts
The Job Seeker - Environmental Professions including Biology, Forestry, Conservation, Action/Policy, Administration, Education and Parks/Outdoor Recreation