We all have that friend who always brings up how “hard” he or she is looking for a job. That friend is always insisting he or she needs a job and is trying hard to find one, but end up scrolling through Facebook and sending out three emails with copied and pasted resumes and cover letters.
As a college student, the ability to job hunt correctly and successfully is a necessary tool for your future. Understanding the aspects of a good job search and the ability to not only impress others with your resume, but effectively reach out to get a job can trump even the best of degrees and GPAs.
Cover letters and emails today are all about specificity — something hard to achieve when you send out a cover letter that could fit for any position. You should be writing just enough to make your case of why you’re a good candidate and how you take it seriously, according to Forbes’ article “Cover Letters in the Age of Email.”
The article stresses to write to a specific person in your cover letter or email; tell that person in the first sentence why you’re writing; give examples on ways you’ve contributed to projects in the past; and of course, spell check.
Let’s say you’ve done all this and responded to all the job openings that fit your skill set, editing each email and cover letter to fit for the position. Is that it? For some of us, that’s all it takes to get a job. But as we get older it’s not that easy, since we branch off from filling random positions at large organizations and into a specific field. What’s left to do?
First of all, double check the job listings. Don’t just respond to ones you completely match, but go for ones that you think are interesting and that you have more than half the qualifications for (can’t hurt!).
Network and cold call. Sounds like no fun, but if you haven’t gotten any answers yet, it’s time to start branching out your network. Use your buddies on LinkedIn and Facebook to see who works where and if they know if any openings or can connect you with anyone with similar interests or areas of work as you.
Start cold calling and emailing companies. This works well when you find someone with a connection to someone you know, so you can mention you know said mutual friend in the email or even ask your friend to introduce you. Reach out and ask advice about applying for a job at the company. Ask if there are positions available. Reach out anyway and ask for leads for finding jobs in the field. If there are no jobs yet, but one pops up, building a relationship via email could help you pop into their mind when something opens.
Overall, the art of getting a job is being persistent. If you only send out a handful of resumes and never follow up, it’s easy to get lost in the pile of a thousand other college students and grads doing the exact same thing. You should always mention in a cover letter or email when you plan to follow up with your job application, and actually do so when the date or week specified comes around. You should also be persistent in continuing to apply for positions; don’t just fill out the Target and Peet’s application and sit around waiting to hear back. Keep chasing positions and following up, and you’ll land that job.