Welcome to the Workforce
by Nathaniel Sillin
It’s time to roll up your sleeves and put that lifetime of education to work for you. Finding the right job isn’t easy—it takes motivation to go after the industry or company you want, effort to ace the application and interview process and a bit of luck to land the job. Read on for tips, advice and tools that will help ensure a successful search.
Your school career center is an excellent place to start when looking for work. As a resource provided to students, the point of a career center is to find jobs that relate to specific fields of study. Check in with a career counselor for advice on resume building or to sign up for on-campus interviews. Recruiters often come to schools and universities looking for future prospects. Many campuses hold job fairs and career events year-round. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door of an otherwise out-of-reach company.
The Internet has made job hunting more convenient. Specifically, job search sites like Indeed, Career Builder and Monster allow you to apply for jobs and/or post your resume for potential employers to come find you. Craigslist is another resource to find part-time or full-time positions. Submitting a cover letter and resume online is often the preferred method these days.
Headhunters and employment services can also be a good source for job leads. One of the major benefits of working with placement agencies is that they already have established relationships within the industries they service and know exactly who to put you in front of. The downside is that some may charge you a fee for their services or require a percentage of your pay from the company that has hired you.
Networking is a great way to get your foot in the door. Many of the best jobs out there are never advertised. The key to landing them is a lucky combination of being in the right place at the right time and talking to the right person. Don’t be afraid to go to social events and advertise yourself or talk about your goals. Or share your plans with friends and family. If they can’t immediately connect you with a job, they can often provide valuable advice on where to look and who the best contacts might be. It’s also important to join online networking circles. Post a profile on LinkedIn and join groups to connect with relevant professionals.
Know What You’re Looking For
Think about the big picture and not just the job you want now. Beyond earning a paycheck, what skills and experiences do you want to take away from your new job? Look to the next step of your career and think about which job will get you closer to that goal. Also, look at the associated benefits. A high-paying job with no benefits may not be as advantageous as a lower-paying position with a complete benefits package.
Consider cost of living and your expenses before you relocate for a job. Every city is different, so a starting salary in one area may not be enough to support you in a new location. Moving costs are another factor to take into consideration. If your prospective employer isn’t going to pay your moving costs, make sure the salary will make up for these costs in the long run, or that you have additional funds to cover the expenses.
Nathaniel Sillin directs Visa’s financial education programs. To follow Practical Money Skills on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PracticalMoney.