We’re only in the middle of the school year, why would you need to start your job search now? Whether you are looking for a summer job, or a permanent position upon graduation, the competition for jobs is greater than ever. This is even more true at the university level. Universities are turning out many thousands of graduates, with the majority of them competing for the same limited number of jobs.
By beginning your job search now, you are getting in before the herd, many of whom are comfortable that they still have plenty of time before they need to get busy. But while other students are delaying the search, you can use this time to get a head start.
Putting Out FeelersUnfortunately, many employers are advertising jobs that might not be available for several months. There are different reasons why they do this, but it is a reality of the job market, and a major reason why jobs “don’t come through”.
Sometimes the employer is just testing the waters to see who is out there, and if they may be a good fit for the job that they have envisioned. Only when they find the right candidate will they actually fill the position.
You may have to apply for many of these jobs in order to find the real opportunities buried in the mix. Think of now as an opportunity to be putting your feelers out into the job market, in search of possibilities that may be available by the time graduation arrives.
Building A Network Of Contacts
The job search is like any other business venture, you have to do a lot of sifting in order to find the right opportunities. By building a network of contacts you’ll find it easier to know where the real opportunities are.
A network can help you in several ways:
- It can enable you to find potential employers.
- It to help you connect with people who may be able to help you find potential employers.
- It will allow you to exchange ideas with other job seekers, to find who’s hiring and who’s not, and what strategies are working and which aren’t.
- It can help you build a list of possible references – and you can never have too many of those.
Transitioning from a network of university contacts (most of which are typically friends) to an employment-based network takes time. You have a few months between now and graduation to make that happen.
Creating A “Portfolio” Of Potential Jobs
It can often take months for an employer to go from an interview to a job offer. By interviewing with many employers, you increase the chances that at least some of them will be in a position to make you a job offer by the time you graduate.
For better or worse, the business world doesn’t wait for university students to reach “the right time” to be in a job search. The time to start building up a portfolio of potential employers is well before you need them. You may have to interview and apply with dozens of employers just to get two or three reasonable job offers. That can take several months, and that’s time that you have right now.
Having Some Practice Interviews
In a few months, the hunt for a job will become real. Right now, it’s far enough away that you can make a few mistakes and still have time to recover. Some of the biggest mistakes happen in job interviews. You have time to master that skill right now by taking some interviews, even if they’re for jobs you don’t intend to take.
Job interviews really are a career skill, and most people are not particularly good at them. In fact, fear of interviewing is one of the primary reasons why many people don’t want to change jobs. That fear is often fed by the fact that interview avoidance gives the person very little exposure to the process.
Start going on some job interviews right now, that way you’ll have time to assess what works and what doesn’t. More important, you’ll have time to sharpen your interview skills. This is especially important because as a university student, you are light on relevant work experience. A strong interview capability sets you above the competition, and invites more job offers.
Start Working On Your Social Media Profile
Social media is becoming more important in the job search process. At this point, you may want to begin shifting your social media away from sites such as Facebook and Tumbler, and toward more professional sites like Linked In. It will probably take you several months to build a credible profile on Linked In which is why you want to get started now. It is also an excellent site to begin networking and building contacts. By the time spring comes, you may be able use the site for direct job searches.
This is also a valuable time to begin reviewing and critically assessing the social media profile that you have maintained so far. Employers are investigating social media profiles; take a good long look at yours and see if there’s anything in it that employers may consider to be objectionable. Now is your time to begin clearing up that kind of material.
A successful job hunt isn’t just about presenting yourself in the most positive way to an employer. It’s also a matter of removing any obstacles that might interfere with a job offer. The social media is where that material may appear. Now’s your chance to clean it up.
Have you begun the search for a job yet? Can you see how it would be a benefit?