As you use these resources, you may want to implement strategies that will provide for your immediate employment needs, while taking steps toward your longer-term career goals.
We highly recommend subscribing to Mac’s List to receive excellent (weekly and monthly) job search insights by email. Scroll to the bottom of the Mac’s List website and look for the “Connect With Us” section.
- Commit to doing 1-2 “high impact practices” every day. You can always do more, of course! Think of steps like: researching an employer, creating a strong LinkedIn profile, sending a networking email, improving your resume, reviewing job postings, applying for a job, finding a free online course to develop a new skill, reading an article related to your career interests, preparing for interviews, etc.
- Consider both your need for immediate employment and your longer-term career goals. You may need to find a job now that provides financial support, while you continue to take steps (networking, skill development, etc.) toward your preferred career fields.
- When you review job postings, look for the types of industries and employers who seem to be hiring, so you can target your networking and resumes to those types of organizations.
- Look at the skills that employers are seeking in applicants. Make sure your resume shows evidence of those skills and be ready to demonstrate those skills in job interviews. If you need to improve those skills, find ways to develop them through free online classes, teaching yourself, gaining experience, etc.
Networking and Informational Interviews
- Networking is critical and the most important strategy you can use. Think of networking as “connecting with people who share your interests.”
- Start with doing “informational interviews,” where YOU are the interviewer and asking questions to get advice and insight about that career field and organization, as well as referrals to others. Ask people you already know (family, friends, teachers, advisors, neighbors, etc.) to help you find people to contact. You can also connect with people on LinkedIn, and find people on organizations’ websites. Present yourself as a “Lane Community College student who is exploring <insert career field> and looking for advice, suggestions, and next steps” (NOT a job). We are happy to help you with this strategy.
- As you network, ask about opportunities for volunteering, internships, and ways to “get your foot in the door” in entry-level positions.
Resumes and Applications
- DO NOT simply send your generic resume out to 100s of companies “hoping” to find a job. Instead, your time is better spent researching employers and creating different versions of your resume targeted to specific types of positions and skills required. Focus your skills and experiences to the employer’s needs and the skills/qualifications each is looking for.
- Have a “master application” that has well defined skill statements, outcomes, and accomplishments, as well as dates of employment, employers, addresses, wages, hours, supervisors, etc., so you can copy and paste into applications instead of trying to remember details and re-create each time.
- Before any job interviews, thoroughly research the organization. You can get lots of good insight from their websites, but also look for articles, find staff on LinkedIn, etc., that uncover the organization’s culture, mission, and vision. This research will help you develop questions you want to ask in an interview, and, more importantly, showing that you’ve “done your homework” will set you apart from other job applicants.
- Be prepared to “tell stories” that show you have the skills employers are looking for. Start by creating a list of your accomplishments and significant experiences. Include work, volunteer, school/community activities, hobbies, times you overcame challenges, class projects, contributions to family, etc. Practice out loud so you get comfortable describing these examples and experiences of where and how you have demonstrated your strengths and skills.
- If you’ve had periods of unemployment or life challenges, be ready to talk about “what you did during those times” in your job interviews. Show that you are flexible; you can overcome obstacles; you take initiative to learn new skills and technologies, you practice good self-care; you manage yourself, your time, your schedule effectively, etc. This shows employers that, when future challenges or changes occur, you’re the type of person who can be productive, resilient, and adaptable in a changing workplace.
- Prepare for “remote” interviews: practice with a friend; get familiar with the technology; make sure there’s nothing distracting in your background; adjust the lighting (you want light in front of you, no shadows); eliminate background noise; get comfortable looking into the camera; dress professionally.
- Contact your possible references now and let them know you are looking for work. Confirm that they are willing to be strong references and make sure you have their correct contact information (job title, organization, phone number, email address).
- Tell your references why you’re asking them to be a reference; be specific about the skills, qualities, and observations you’d like them to share with employers.
- When an employer asks you to provide references, make sure to let your references know, so they can expect to be contacted. Provide your references with your resume and a copy of the job posting/description.
- WorkSource Lane - Connect with local career advisors for job search assistance, resources, and services; register with their “iMatchSkills” system to connect with job postings.
- Goodwill Industries – Get assistance with all aspects of the job search by online appointment, phone, and email, plus access local job postings.
- LinkedIn - Make connections in the world's largest professional network; creating an online professional presence here is a MUST for students and job seekers.
- LinkedIn's Job Search Guide - Insights on career assessments, networking, optimizing your LinkedIn profile, finding jobs, interviewing, and more.
- Indeed's Career Guide - Articles and advice on finding a job, resumes, cover letters, interviewing, starting a new job, and more.
- Mac's List Job Search Guide - Browse podcasts, videos, and articles on networking, resumes, cover letters, interviewing, salary negotiation, successful job searches, and more.
- The Muse – Get advice on all aspects of your job search, as well as research company cultures and browse job postings.
- Resume Worksheet - Here's a starting place to build your resume! After completing this worksheet, we'll help you turn your content into a strong, targeted resume!
- Action Verb List - Use action verb phrases to describe your skills, experiences, and accomplishments on your resume. Here's our list of powerful action verbs.
- CareerOneStop’s Resume Guide – Provides a step-by-step plan for creating your résumé, including professional tips for print and online formats, résumé samples, and résumé templates.
- Career Coach’s Resume Builder – We recommend using this tool to see specific tasks associated with different occupational titles, which will help you write effective “skill statements” in your résumé.
- Jobscan’s Guide to Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) – This article teaches you 8 things you need to know about ATS, including what they are, how they work, and how to create an ATS-formatted résumé.
- Jobscan – Use their résumé scanning tool to compare your résumé with a specific job posting to see how well your résumé matches the job requirements; the initial scan looks FREE; there are fees for additional services.