31 May 2016 | Grads Corner | Guest Author
For graduates fresh out of college and students nearing their graduation day, it can be tempting to wholeheartedly embrace your freedom from academia and put off the job search until later. However it may not be in your best interest to leave job-hunting out of your day-to-day activities altogether. Actually landing a job will take some time, so it’s best to get started sooner rather than later.
Before you delve into the world of job hunting, have an idea of what you’re looking for and what areas are flexible. Consider whether you’d prefer full-time or part-time work, whether you’d be willing to relocate for it, and how it aligns with any long-term career goals. You can set smaller goals, too, such as submitting a certain number of applications per week, or landing an interview. Keep in mind that it’s okay if you don’t meet your goals. If that happens, reevaluate your strategy or broaden your scope.
Maintain a relatively normal schedule
This may be a little tricky if you aren’t done with classes yet, but if you can, try to operate on a standard working hours schedule. Wake up early and get dressed as you would if you had a job. And despite any inclinations to spend this free time partying late and sleeping until the afternoon, try your best to go to sleep at a decent hour.
Tackle the big things first
When it comes to job hunting, there are two parts that will take up the majority of your initial time: searching and applying. With all the technology available to help you conduct your job search, it’s understandable to not know where to begin or where to focus. A good rule of thumb is to go where the people are. This means checking out social media (especially LinkedIn), or large dedicated job boards like Gumtree. Once you find some suitable jobs to apply for, you’ll need to gather the pieces of your application. The most important part of this is tailoring each resume and cover letter to be relevant to the job. Employers aren’t keen on applications with little thought behind them, so be sure to take the time to do it right.
Prevent holes from peppering your resume
Use your unemployed time to your advantage in the mean time. Lengthy unemployment can be a red flag for employers, as it may demonstrate a hiring liability for them in some way. Filling your employment gaps with equally valuable experience such as volunteer work, extra education, or a skill-based hobby will compensate for the time you’ve been out of the workforce while strengthening your credentials. If you still want to defer the job search, you can even opt for a gap year program. This way you can get some “real world” experience before you make any big decisions.
Take care of yourself
Job hunting is a job in and of itself, and it can be easy to neglect your personal life while you kick start your career. While you may have less time for things like exercise and social outings, don’t write them out of your schedule entirely. They are just as important to your overall well being as having a job is. Plus, you never know where you’ll run into a job lead!
Keep in mind that your routine doesn’t need to be rigid. Don’t feel like you need to spend 40 hours per week finding a job. Rather, recognize the areas that require your attention and try to anticipate what percentage of your time will be adequate to address them. Everyone works at a different pace, after all.
Hannah Dickins is part of the team behind DirectorStats.co.uk. With a huge interest in writing and digital media, she works as a Community Manager. She’s keen on new helpful online tools and productivity hacks.