Being on the job hunt can be a real struggle, especially when you are in your 20s. Whether you just graduated, need a part-time job to pay for school, or are looking to make a full career change, we’ve got some helpful tips for finding a job that might make the experience a little less painful.
1. Spend the time, energy, and sometimes money, to get a good resume.
Have everyone you know read over and critique it. Get some graphic design up in there. And don’t make rookie mistakes. Your resume, and the ensuing 500 copies you will send out, is your ticket to the workforce.
Not just home to murderers and pimps, Craigslist provides a plethora of gig opportunities—if you know how to search. The more descriptive the listing is, the less likely you are going to show up for a porno shoot. Craigslist can help you float by with some meager freelancing or editing gigs while you search for the job you spent $80,000-plus in college tuition to acquire.
3. Don’t shy from nepotism.
Some call it your dad getting you a job, some call it networking. You hate those people now, but when the opportunity arises from that friend your uncle always talks about, give it a fair shot. Pimp yourself out to elderly relatives. Chances are you won’t necessarily find something in your field, but it will give you a feel for the market and what all you can be doing with your skills. And if you’re super strapped for cash, take it.
4. Hit up universities.
If you’re a college kid this makes sense, but even if you are post grad and live near a school they often have surprisingly decent jobs that don’t require you to be a student. Most kids don’t know about all the office assistant jobs available on campus. You can walk in there with your overqualifications and snag some quick and easy admin experiences.
5. Approach everything with an open mind.
Even if it’s not your dream job, or you don’t meet all qualifications, don’t let it dissuade you. You never know what could happen. Life can surprise you! Don’t shut yourself out of possibilities.
6. Dig deep.
Many really awesome job opportunities don’t wind up on Craigslist or other job boards. Places like colleges/universities, creative companies, etc. will list job openings on their webpages. They want to know that you sought them out. Think about what kind of company you want to work for and then start researching area companies to see what fits with your wants and needs.
7. Do your research.
When you apply for a job, do as much research as you possibly can about the company. Spend a lot of time going through their webpage. Look up employees on social media sites. See if you can find out who you should address your cover letter to. The more details about the company that you come prepared with, the more care you show your future employer.
8. Thank every single person you meet.
Send a snail mail thank you card to every person you interview with. Seriously. You will stand out among the masses when that HR rep opens your hand-written thank-you card. It can help bump you from the maybe pile to the second interview pile. If you can’t track down a mailing address, send an email. Whenever we’re on the job hunt, we keep a stash of stationary and stamps on hand.
9. Don’t give up.
Job hunting is daunting. You might find yourself applying to 50+ jobs and never getting a call back. That doesn’t mean you aren’t qualified (unless you took a huge leap and applied to a million jobs that require a Master’s degree when all you have is an Associate’s). Keep in mind that a lot of companies promote from within. Sometimes you will have to start at an entry level position (despite that degree) and work your way up to the job you actually want. Don’t get discouraged. Keep trying. Things will fall into place when they should. It’s a harsh world out there, y’all. Keep your head up and don’t let the lack of interviews cause you to think that you aren’t “worth it.”
10. Take time off from the job hunt.
When you spend all day every day applying for jobs and updating your resume and cover letter to personally fit every single job you apply for, eventually you’re going to hit a wall. It’s frustrating. It’s slow. And it seems like the best thing to do is just spend all of your time devoted to the job hunt. At this point, take a day off. Have a coffee with a friend, devote some time to that hobby you’ve been neglecting. The job boards will only be updated so frequently, taking some needed you-time will not hinder you in any way. It will actually make your job search more effective when you do return to it recharged and refreshed.
11. Get help from folks who have already graduated.
They’re out in the world and have a year or few on the job hunt already. They can tell you what’s worked and hasn’t worked for them, and if they’re in a job already, they’re in a position to put your resume on someone’s desk. Don’t demand they do so, because they’re still at the bottom of the career ladder too, but chances are they’d be the ones to hear about a new entry level position first. Often times, their bosses are even coming to them saying, “Do you know anyone?” You’re more likely to get your foot in the door that way than your parents hooking you up with the CEO.
Have any tips on how to find a job? Let us know by commenting below or tweet us @LitDarling!