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College Students Guide to Job Search And Internships

student-career-resourcesWhether you’re still in school or a recent grad, we know how hard it can be to get your career off the ground. However discouraging the news reports may make it seem, remember that college graduates always fare better in the job market than non-college graduates. In February 2014, the college graduate unemployment rate was 3.4%.

Check out our Guide of Resources below for tips and advice on internships, jobs, resumes, cover letters and the interview that closes the deal.

Find an Internship: Tips and Tricks

Job Search

  • KeyboardFindJob[1]Best Part-Time Jobs for College Students: Check out this list of 15 part-time jobs that give you valuable experience and help you off-set your college expenses.
  • USA Jobs: This federal program helps get students and recent graduates on track for a career in the federal government. The search allows you to choose an internship or an entry level position.
  • 10 Tips for College Students in a Tough Market: This U.S. News & World Report article was written by two professors with tips for “finding a job in an economic wasteland.”
  • 7 College Jobs to “Turbocharge” Your Resume: You don’t always need to get a job directly related to your field while you’re still in college. Some seemingly unrelated jobs will provide you with great skills that employers are seeking.
  • Top 24 Companies for Entry Level College Grads: Sometimes your best strategy is to find the top hiring companies and apply for a position that fits your skills.
  • Monster College: If you’ve ever gotten frustrated looking for entry level jobs on Monster.com, try their College edition.

Resumes and Cover Letters

  • kelly-weihs-created-a-resume-made-to-look-like-a-wild-west-wanted-poster[1]Choosing a Resume Type: Resumes can be organized in several different ways. Learn which type is best for you and your career goals.
  • Resume Keywords: Some companies rely on scanning resumes for specific buzzwords. This can be done by computer, so if you don’t know the words to use, your resume might get skipped over entirely.
  • 22 Common Resume Mistakes: From Business Insider, this compilation gives you an idea of what not to do when you’re writing your resume.
  • Resume Examples: Look at some resume samples to get an idea of the formatting and use of color you may want to use on your own resume.
  • Why You Need a Cover Letter: From the famous “For Dummies” series, this is a concise list of reasons you need to include a cover letter with your resume.
  • 6 Cover Letter Tips: Learn from Forbes how to perfect your cover letter with tips more helpful than the typical “Make sure you use good grammar.”
  • 50 Cover Letter Examples: This website breaks down cover letter examples by category. Examples include writing to a company where you don’t know anyone, writing cover letters for an e-mail, etc.

The Interview

  • job-interview[1]11 Tips for a Successful Interview: This is a basic overview of things you need to keep in mind at your interview, like being prepared, polite, and on time.
  • 23 Common Interview Questions: If you’re not prepared, these common interview questions could really throw you off. Look over the questions and learn some good ways to answer them.
  • 99 Interview Tips: This extensive article will have you reworking your entire career strategy. It’s even broken down into phone interview tips, second interview tips, negotiating salary, and what questions to ask.
  • Phone Interview Tips: If you’re applying for a job outside of your college area, you might need to interview by phone. This article has some useful tips for this kind of interview.
  • Interviewing New Grads: Learn the strategy behind the interviewer’s questions. If you know what they’re looking for, you’ll be better able to adapt.
  • 5 Ways to Negotiate Salary: Although your bargaining power will be stronger when you have more experience, it’s still possible to negotiate your salary after you’ve spent about 6-12 months on the job.

Let’s summarize some of the basic information from all of the resources above.

For recent college grads, the number employed is always consistently higher than those in the same age bracket with no college degree. So don’t let the statistics scare you.

entrepreneurship-networking-advice-1[1]With that in mind, it is important to begin setting yourself up for success while you’re still in school. Internships help you network, build your skill set, and boost your resume credentials. Some companies are specifically hoping that their interns can prove themselves worthy enough for a full-time job after graduation. If you’re a recent or soon-to-be graduate, you’ll want to keep your goals reasonable. Consider looking for entry level work, even if the pay is less than you were expecting. You’ll probably be able to negotiate healthy raises as you prove yourself on the job.

Network: You’ll hear this word a lot, because its importance cannot be stressed enough. If you can help it, you want to avoid being one of the hundreds, if not thousands, applying for every job posting online. Many jobs are filled without ever being advertised on job searches, because someone knows someone (who knows someone) who would be great for the job. That’s all networking is: getting your foot in the door before everyone else based on who you know and how well they know your talents and skills.

Presentation: Your presentation will include not only your in-person appearance and professionalism, but your online and document presentation as well. That means you need to have professional apparel (including keeping makeup, jewelry and perfume tasteful). You also need to make sure that your online presence is professional. Try searching for your name on Google to see if anything undesirable comes up. Finally, make sure your resume and cover letter are perfected and shaped for each individual job for which you apply.

Seek a Second Pair of Eyes: Run your resume and cover letter by a trusted friend or family member. Better yet, take your documents to your college’s career office. Their on-site experts can not only look for typos, but they can also help you with improving formatting, choosing the correct “buzzwords,” and making the best case for yourself.

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