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4 Steps to Landing a Job this Holiday Season

Monday, November 15, 2010

by Brad Karsh: President and Founder of JobBound

Midterms are over and before you know it you'll be headed home for Thanksgiving Break. It's just starting to get cold, summer is a long way off right? Wrong. While getting a job or internship for next summer may be the last thing on your mind right now, it shouldn't be. The truth is, what separates successful job hunting students from the unsuccessful is what they do right now, before the holidays.

As a former recruiting director and as a current job search expert, I know how students can plan for career success. Here are four simple steps for the fall that can help you land a job this spring.

1. Get your resume in order. More than anything else, this one piece of paper determines whether or not you will get the job you want. As you can imagine, that piece of paper needs to be great. On your resume, you need to focus on accomplishments instead of job descriptions. Most recruiters will tell you that the majority of resumes don't sell a student hard enough because they simply list the activities that anyone holding that position has ever done. If what is written on your resume can be written by the person who had the job before you, after you, or next to you, then you haven't done yourself justice.

2. Network, network, network. The single best way to get a job is to know somebody. Yes, it should be based on merit alone, but unfortunately that isn't how it works. Tap into as many connections as you can. Reaching out to your school's alumni is a great place to start, and they usually love to hear from current students about life on campus. If you don't know many alumni in positions to make a difference for you, start emailing the graduates highlighted in your school's alumni newsletter, or check out the career center. They often have lists of alums looking to help students.

Don't forget you can network with your neighbors, your dentist, your parents' friends, older siblings' friends, etc. Remember roughly sixty percent of job seekers get a job through networking!

3. Become involved. Grades alone won't get you the job. Most employers want smart, well-rounded, involved students. There's still time to gain the experience that companies are looking for in new hires. Join a club, get a part-time job, and volunteer for a charity. It's even more impressive, if you get involved in a big way. It's one thing to have, "Member, Student Activities Council" on your resume. It's quite another to have "President, Student Activities Council." Obviously, companies want to hire leaders and accomplished candidates. If you prove that you have those skills, when it comes time to make the hiring decision, you'll be the obvious choice.

4. Visit your career center. If you want a job or internship this summer, the career center is going to be your best friend. Guess where companies go when they want to hire students from your school? The Career Center. Guess where you can get someone to help you with resume writing and job interviewing? The Career Center. And guess where you can go to find out whether you should be a lumberjack or a management consultant when you grow up? The Career Center. The fact is, your Career Center is an amazing resource for the job search. And it's all free! Go early, go often, and you can't go wrong.

The new school year holds countless, bright possibilities and great opportunities. If you get started on these four, simple steps, you are setting yourself up for career and future success!

Brad Karsh travels to college campuses as a keynote speaker on the topic of landing a job. He's also President of JobBound, a career-consulting company that advises students and professionals on resume writing, interviewing, and everything related to the job search. Author of How To Say It on Your Resume (Prentice Hall Press, 2009) and Confessions of a Recruiting Director: The Insider's Guide to Landing Your First Job (Prentice Hall Press, 2006), Brad is considered the nation's leading expert on the job search. He's been featured on CNN, Dr. Phil, and CNBC and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, NY Times, Fortune, and many others.


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