Freaking out about finding a job after you graduate? Transitioning into the professional world in the middle of a pandemic has only heightened our frustrations. But, we've got you. Follow the PIF guide by being proactive, intentional, flexible, and kickstart your career like a boss!
It is not uncommon for job searches to make us feel overwhelmed as we feel like we are not making any strides forward. As a result, we feel discouraged from seeking out opportunities. To counter this, you can be proactive through a few simple ways. First and foremost, network! Beyond leveraging your current social network, reach out to people on LinkedIn and ask for an informational interview. More often than not, you will find that people are willing to take 15 minutes to chat and share their experiences with you. In addition to enhancing your network, this gives you the opportunity to leverage information you learned during an interview and potentially gain an internal application endorsement! Aside from networking, you can be proactive by up-skilling. This can be as simple as reading books and articles related to your career interests. Alternatively, you can teach yourself or take courses to enhance your skill set in areas of hot demand (data analytics, for example). Last but not least, you can be proactive by working on your resume and cover letter. People underestimate the power of a strong resume and cover letter. Take the time to make sure your resume follows the STAR method or ask a friend to do a resume review swap.
The second element to the PIF approach stresses being intentional. More often than not, recent graduates fail to see progress in landing a job because they lack genuine intention in the opportunities they pursue. As a person who has been on the recruiting side themselves, it is very easy to weave out candidates who put very little effort into their application. With that said, you can avoid this by taking the time to research companies and consider whether or not their mission aligns with your career goals. Again, this is why informational interviews are great; as professionals shed light on their experiences and the company, you receive greater insight on the company that is not readily available. But, be careful! It is just as important to be intentional with who you network with - you never want to put yourself in a position where your lack of genuine interest in the person and or their career is evident, causing you to force a conversation. One helpful practice that prevents awkward conversations is networking with people who share your alma mater - this immediately establishes a common ground between you and the professional. Furthermore, build stronger practices and act with intention by organizing and prioritizing! Create an excel sheet and track a variety of items: professionals you want to connect with (and their associated companies), companies you want to or have already applied to, application opening, closing, and personal submission dates, and everything in between.
To complete the PIF approach, the third and final component is to be flexible. We all tend to envision what our ideal first job would be. Speaking from personal experience, it can be harmful to purely set your sights on one company or position. While it is good to have a sense of direction for your career, locking yourself in too tightly can prevent you from exposure to opportunities that align with your interests and goals that exceed your original expectations.
There you have it. Guide yourself through the PIF approach and kickstart your career in no time!