Strategies and tips for getting a job
How should you plan for a job search? Where can you find job opportunities? What's the best way to approach an interview? Here you'll find some helpful hints for landing a job.
1. Plan and prepare
Start looking for a job before you graduate. Have a plan for after graduation, and make getting a job your full-time job until you have the job.
- Know what it takes. Different fields have different application expectations and requirements. Know what they are for your field(s).
- Internships can make a difference. If you're targeting certain companies or careers in your job search, an internship or two under your belt can be an important part of your overall strategy for landing a job after graduation.
- Keep your resume updated and on hand. You'll have the most recent resume in hand to fire off if anybody asks.
- Print business cards (25-100) to hand out, too. Ask a professor or mentor for an example, if needed.
- Get references. Have your favorite teachers write letters of recommendation.
- Keep tabs on your social media accounts. Potential employers might look at your pages when reviewing your application materials.
- Perfect your application materials. Always have someone who is a better editor than you are review your application materials.
2. Find job opportunities
Be patient and persistent. Set aside time every week to check for job postings, research on employers in your field, and send out a manageable number of applications.
How/where to look:
- Activate your network. Tell everyone you know what type of job you are looking for.
- Visit your university's career center. Career centers can provide resume building and interview tips.
- Attend career fairs. Visit career fairs at your local college and make an effort to meet prospective employers.
- Join a professional organization. Most occupations and interests have professional associations. Join one, like the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR), and start making connections.
- Leverage social media and the internet:
- Research potential employers yourself. Make a list of places you'd be interested in working, then check them out to see if they have job openings.
- Search NCFR's online Career Center.
- Try your state's online job bank, where you can review and apply for jobs statewide and nationally
- Want to look within the federal government? Register online.
- Other online job boards exist through many sources.
3. When you land an interview:
- Practice out loud. Try to anticipate the types of questions you will be asked, and practice your responses.
- Do more research.
- What does the organization do?
- Who does it serve?
- What does the job advertisement ask for?
- Why are you qualified on paper and in person?
- Think about answers to these questions:
- Why are you a good hire?
- Which of the organization's needs can you fulfill?
- Why do you want to work in this job?
- How are you a good fit for the position?
- Dress professionally.
- Be "on" from the start. In this age of security cameras, you could be recorded from the moment you hit the employer's parking lot.
- Make that first impression count. With everyone you meet at the employment site, but especially with the interviewer, you want to make your first impression count.
- Don't treat an interview as an interrogation. If you are fortunate enough to land an interview, treat it as an opportunity to establish a professional relationship with the interviewer.
- Be positive. Stay upbeat throughout the interview. Smile.
- In the interview:
- Provide a detailed resume for employers (or curriculum vitae (CV) in academic settings).
- Focus on the strengths your education gives you in working with and teaching families.
- Explain your volunteer and teaching experience.
- Tell potential employers what your degree entails: the degree courses, the electives, the internships.
- Emphasize being a Certified Family Life Educator and your affiliation with NCFR, if applicable.
And finally, if you're considering a job...
Be flexible. Be willing to relocate. Being flexible after you graduate from college gives you more opportunities.
Don't be discouraged by low pay. Choosing a job now does not mean that is what you'll be doing for the rest of your life, or even longer than a year or two.
Do what you love. Go for a job you like — something you'll be enthusiastic about and truly enjoy. But keep an open mind.
This list was adapted on May 8, 2014, from Utah Valley University's Behavioral Science Department's job strategies and tips.