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The Senior Files: Job Hunting Time

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Another week has passed and we’re all one more week closer to graduating. This simple fact may send some of you into a depressed-chasing-shots-with-pints-of-ice-cream-alone-in-your-bedroom sorta funk. But put down the ladle, take a deep breath, concentrate on the hotness of Taylor Lautner and relax.  (Usually that helps me anyways…)

As we leave our colleges we’re generally expected to do one of the following steps after graduation: get a job, go to grad school, or travel the world to find ourselves.

Most of us will fall into the first category: the job. Just saying the word makes me shudder. The only thing scarier than a 9-5 job to a soon-to-be-grad is actually getting one.

The job hunt can be intimidating, frustrating, and downright difficult. In today’s market, jobs are hard to come by and a degree from a top university no longer guarantees that you’ll instantly land your dream job or that you’ll even be the best candidate for it. But there are steps we can all take and advice we can all use that will better prepare us for the job hunt and make it seem a lot less intimidating.

Will you be getting this job hunt advice and tips from yours truly? No. Why not? Because I don’t have a job and things could get real awkward if you found out you were following the advice of a fellow unemployed senior. (Hint to all prospective employers: Hire me. Do it. I dare you!)

So instead, I’ve compiled a list of great resources about everything and anything the job hunt entails from people who’ve actually had real jobs and are professionals at more things than beer pong. Summarized with advice and points from powerhouse President of Hearst Magazines, Cathie Black, here are a list of tips and advice about resumes, cover letters, networking, interviewing and more! You’ll definitely want to bookmark this post for later!

Networking
1. Calling cards. Get them. Just because you don’t have a title to put on a business card doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have one. These are vital for any and all networking opportunities.
2. Be aggressive. Introduce yourself to any potential contacts. Gaining contacts in your industries no matter how high or how low will help you in the long run. When you meet someone and have a conversation, make sure to give them your card and follow up with an email saying how much you enjoyed meeting them.

LOTUS&ASH Calling cards: This exquisite, intimate paper company by paper genius Ashling Loh-Doyle makes the best calling cards and stationery around. Her fine and warm touches can transform the personality of every client into the most classic yet eccentric paper products, whether that be greeting cards, calling cards, or stationery.

Cover Letter
1. Don’t forget the cover letter. Without one, it just says you’re lazy. Don’t know how to put one together? Take a gander at this handy guide or visit your school’s career development center. It’s there for a reason, people!
2. The best cover letters express three things: why you’re good at what you do, how you’ll help the company, and your enthusiasm for the job.
3. Close your cover letter by saying you’ll call them and then actually call them.

Resume
1. Keep it simple. One page, simple font, no crazy graphics, and keep it focused, including just the information that will show an employer your relevant skills and qualities.
2. Spell check. Spell check. Spell check.
3. Tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for. This is key! Have several versions of your resume, tailored to different types of job that will match your skills with the different employer’s needs.
4. Don’t exaggerate – and never lie. This could lead to disaster, especially in today’s world when we’re all Google-able.

Never written a resume? Try these resources on for size:
The Resume Handbook
:
This is the ultimate resume how-to guide stacked with tips, advice, and formats.
Career Perfect: These people make a business out of knowing how to get people jobs.

Landing and Preparing for an Interview
1. Be persistent. Show initiative and be aggressive. Don’t hound potential employers with tons of calls, but it is okay to call them and ask if the company is in its hiring process or whether there’s anything you can do to help move it along.
2. Do research on the company and the person interviewing you. Interviewers want to know that you want this job, not just any job. Show your interest by learning about the company so you can both ask and answer questions. Think about your ideals, what you want out of this job, and why you are simply the best for this position.
3. Explain all of your weaknesses as strengths. For example, when asked what your weakness is, say something like “I sometimes overwork myself” or “I spend too much time trying to perfect my work.”
4. Look great. Dress appropriately for the job you’re applying for. Even if most people dress casually in your industry (this is the case in advertising, marketing and journalism), dress up. Ladies, no cleavage. Look presentable and respectable.
5. Bring resume, cover letter, list of references, paper and pen.
6. Make sure you ask questions. Most employers at the end of the interview will ask if you have any questions. Have some things prepared. This is not the time to ask how much money you’ll be making but it is the time to ask questions about the company as a whole, where you will fit into the organization, and what all of your duties will be.
7. Be yourself. Actually though, be yourself. Be the best version of yourself. Obviously your behavior will be more refined as you’re in an interview, but still be yourself.
8. Follow up by sending a thank you note or letter. On nice stationery!

Want to brush up on those interview questions so you’re not blindsided? Here are a few of the more common things you’ll be asked in interviews.

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  • COLLEGECANDY Writer
    I'm a teenybopper at heart. I can't get enough of Disney Channel Original Movies, cheesy romantic comedies, Jason Segel, anything neon or zebra print, and hair flair. Amanda Bynes and I would totally be best friends if we met. I plan to move to New York City after graduation in June 2010 and pursue a career in magazine journalism and media entertainment. Follow me at @kimmieanderson on twitter!