Job Hunting 101: How to Navigate the 2010 Job Market

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BY Nicole Eisenberg > Freshman > Business > University of Maryland

When you’re a little fish in a big job-hunting ocean, it might seem daunting to put your name out there like a letter in a bottle. You always hope that someone somewhere is going to pick your resume up off the shore and hire you on the spot, but unfortunately, it’s normally not that easy. To score your dream job, you need to put in effort. Here’s the best way to start.

Step 1. Meet your own people (again). Every single person you meet, whether it’s your mailman, your economics professor or a past employer, could be connected to your future employer. In The First 30 Days, a book on surviving your first 30 days out of college, author Ariane de Bonvoisin explains that you need to “treat every single person you know as if they have a piece to the puzzle.”

Step 2. Network to professional people in your field. Talk to professors in your field of interest to find out about possible opportunities. “In this dismal job market, personal contacts are key,” says Joseph J. Karlesky, professor at Franklin & Marshall College. “We live in a world of sophisticated and instantaneous electronic information, but students looking for jobs should never underestimate the power of the personal touch and face-to-face contacts.” At the very least, your professor may give you contact information for someone else that can help you more.

Alumni of your alma mater are also usually willing to help you with your job search, as they can better relate to you. Kirsten Lavin, the senior associate director of marketing and membership for the alumni association at Johns Hopkins University, explains that alumni associations help students connect with alumni through “networking events…a student alumni society, and more.” Professors can also offer contact information for former students. “I try to give students the names of alumni who might be helpful and recommend that they follow up e-mail contacts with a personal phone message,” says Karlesky.

Step 3. Attend an information meeting. It is important to learn about the company you could work for in the future. Informational interviews allow you to learn about the company, meet personnel and express your interest, leaving you with a leg-up to the rest of the applicants that may have overlooked this step of the job-hunting process. Arrive to the information session with a small list of questions and a general knowledge of characteristics that you are looking for in your future employer.

Although the process may be, at times, frustrating with bumps in the road, just push through it because these three steps will click together, and you’ll be running down the street with the best golden ticket of all time: a job!

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College Magazine Staff

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