[This blog post is written by Naveen, a MS Student in Industrial Engineering from Arizona State University (ASU), graduating in Spring 2010. He started his serious job hunt from end of Fall 2009 and landed up with a full time job by second week of March 2010. Here he shares his experience about the job search in this tough economy. Hope this post will be useful for hundreds of students looking for job.]
Finally I got a job. What a relief!! Most importantly the job profile matches my career aspirations. I would like to share how I did the job search so that some of you who might have got their hopes down during these tough times can get their hopes high and search for jobs positively.
I began the job search by the end of the penultimate semester. I used to look up at the job postings at Career Services website of our University, and apply for jobs that fit my qualifications. I went for Career Fairs. I even applied to jobs which were not accepting applications from Foreign students. I did that just to ensure the continuity of applications. I made it a routine to apply for at least 5 jobs a week.
In the beginning I used to apply for any job with the same resume, and almost the same cover letter. There was no response for such applications. Later, after I applied for around 10 jobs, and when my last semester in school started, I began to worry, and started losing hope. I went to resume critique sessions organized by Career Services of my University. It helped me a lot. I was able to understand why my resume was not worth of any interest for any employer. My resume lacked information of achievements during my previous work and Masters, a good structure, and it did not convey exactly what kind of position I am looking for, and what my passion was. My cover-letters too lacked this information.
Taking the advice from the resume critique sessions, I changed my resume and applied again. I also continued to go for resume critiques whenever they were organized even after that. There was some changes required every time after the critique. It helped me make my resume better.
It is also important to update your profile in Social Networking Websites like LinkedIn. I got my profile updated with all the details that I could give regarding my strengths. I also got recommendation from my supervisor. The more recommendations you have in your profile, the higher the chances of attracting the recruiter to you.
I did not try networking much. I was lucky to get a job without doing that, especially in such testing times. But this is a very important thing to do to get job nowadays. It increases the chances for you to be called for an interview. If you try really hard, you can get email id's of recruiters of most companies if you use google search. I was able to get some email id's that were not provided in the Career Services Website, or company websites where jobs were posted just by using google search. It might be available in career services website of other universities. Contacting the recruiter directly and conveying your interest to them is a good tool to boost your chances.
“Do not worry, when you dont get called for an interview after many applications.” I know its a very easy thing to say. I worried a lot. But, I also analyzed why I was not getting called. You would get answers to it. For my case, my resume was'nt good for the job profile, cover-letter was not very informative about my achievements, and I did not follow up with recruiters regarding applications. Perseverance and learning from mistakes are really important for job search.
I had the chance of attending an interview last semester. I was not selected for it. But I could learn from that experience. Even though I felt like I should have been selected for it, what I could understand from the failure is I could put more effort in preparation for interviews next time, so that I have better answers, especially for behavioral ones.
This time, when I got the interview call, I made it sure that I was prepared for any kind of questions asked in the interview. I wrote down possible questions, and also wrote down good answers to it. The answers should contain descriptions of Situation, Action, and Results. The employer would want to know how we handle different types of situations in work environment, and would be happy to hear good examples from your past experiences.
I took a notepad along with me for the interview, so that I could write down important points when the interviewer explains about the work, or describes a problem. I could also write down questions that I might have, that I can ask the interviewer later, when it is my turn to ask. This would impress the interviewer. It would make them feel that you are an organized person, and you have great interest in the job that you are interviewing for.
It is important to be cheerful throughout the interview, and never show any signs of nervousness. It is also important to behave in a professional way. If there was a question to which I did not know a answer, I never hesitated to say “I do not know”. I would say “I am keen to learn about it”, or “I am not sure, I can give it a try.”
It is important to ask for business cards from each and every interviewer. You would need it to follow up with them later. I sent a thank you mail to all the interviewers after I came back from interview.
All my efforts payed off, and now I have a job that I really want to do. But, I am not stopping here. I will keep applying for jobs till I start working for this job.
So as a summary what I would suggest for job search and interview processes are:
For Job Search
- Keep updating resume; use different resumes for different job profiles; keep getting critiques for resume and coverletter.
- Have your profile in all important job boards like Monster, Career Builder, Indeed, SimplyHired, Dice etc. Update it whenever required.
- Get recommendations in LinkedIn profile.
- Follow up with recruiters after application.
- Make sure you know about the company and job description thoroughly. Have questions prepared to ask interviewer.
- Prepare well: Focus on only those skills that are required for the job. Write down and practice answers to behavioral questions
- Take notepad to note down questions you need to ask
- Dress up well: Good Suit and Tie.
- Ask for business cards from interviewers
- Follow up, and send thank you notes to all interviewers.
Hope this will help some of you to get a job. There are a lot of websites that would give you more information about job search strategies. Try them. Persevere, and don't give up. Good luck to all!!