Summer isn’t the only thing heating up this month. College graduates and young professionals will be on the prowl for a job this summer.
Although the job market proves to be a scary place for most college graduates, there is some good news for young professionals. According to a recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers plan to hire 7.8 percent more of Class of 2014 graduates than Class of 2013 graduates.
Whether you’ve spent the last six months applying for jobs or you’re just in the beginning stages of your search, there is no reason why you can’t land a job this summer.
To help you get on track with your summer job search, here is a timeline to get you organized and on top of your job search game:
June: Prepare for your job search.
1. Create your career goal.
It’s important to set a goal for your job search because it helps you identify what you need to accomplish and the steps you need to take to get there.
Try to make your goal as specific as possible. While it’s obvious it’s your goal to land a job, you should focus on the type of job you want to land or where you want to work. This will help you narrow down opportunities and improve your networking efforts.
2. Research companies.
After you create your goal, spend time researching companies. These companies should align with the type of skills you have to offer and your interests, and should meet your personal needs.
As you search for companies, start building a list of contacts who will be useful during your search. In addition, focus on what different companies look for in candidates and how you can differentiate yourself.
3. Build your personal brand.
If you haven’t already, spend some time this month working on your personal brand. Start by updating your LinkedIn account, building an online portfolio, and improving your online image. These efforts will get you noticed by more recruiters and hiring managers during your search.
Once you’ve built your brand and have an idea of where to look for jobs, it’s time to start networking. Reach out to people who’d have connections in your industry or could provide you with job search advice. Any connection you make during your job search can be extremely helpful; you just have to know how to use those connections to your advantage.
July: Apply for jobs.
1. Get your resume and cover letter critiqued.
Before you apply for jobs, make sure your resume and cover letter are flawless. According to an Accountemps survey, 46 percent of employers said it takes only two resume typos to eliminate a candidate from their hiring process.
Ask a friend or colleague to proofread your cover letter and resume. Even if you think both documents are perfect, a second pair of eyes can catch what you overlooked.
2. Make a list of employers you want to work for.
Hopefully from the research you completed in June, you have an idea of where to look for employers. To help you narrow down your job search, make a list of employers you actually want to work for. This will make it easier to tailor your resume and cover letter to job openings and market yourself to employers.
3. Apply for jobs you truly want.
Now that you have a list of employers created, it’s time to start applying for job openings. An important rule to remember during your job search is to apply for jobs you can imagine yourself working in.
Many job seekers make the mistake of blindly applying for jobs. When this happens, they miss out on the opportunity to tailor their resume and cover letter, and employers often overlook these applications. If you’re applying for jobs you truly want, you’ll want to spend more time creating an application that gets noticed by employers.
August: Stay persistent and follow up.
1. Continue to apply for jobs.
Just because you’ve spent the last three weeks or so applying for jobs doesn’t mean it’s time to sit back and relax. Throughout your entire job search, it’s absolutely necessary that you remain proactive.
Continue researching employers, networking with employers, and applying for jobs until you start landing interviews. Employers will take some time to get back to you, but that doesn’t mean you should stop applying for jobs. Keep chomping at the bit with your applications because you’ll thank yourself once employers begin contacting you for interviews.
2. Follow up with employers.
If it’s been seven to 10 days since you applied for a job and you haven’t heard anything, it’s time to start following up. This gives employers an adequate amount of time to review your application and get back to you. If employers haven’t contacted you, then it’s perfectly acceptable to get in touch with them about your application.
3. Prepare for interviews.
If you’ve remained persistent throughout your entire job search, employers should start asking you for job interviews. Landing job interviews is a slow process, but if you’re patient, you’ll soon discover employers taking notice of your application.
To prepare for interviews, do some research on the employer and practice common (and difficult) interview questions. You should also reach out to a friend who’d be willing to do a mock interview with you, too. This is a great way to get some practice in before your big day.
If you’re hoping to land a job by the end of the summer, do your best to follow this timeline. Remember, landing a job is allow about the effort and time you invest in your search. Even if it takes you the entire summer to land a job, do your best to be consistent in your search and you’ll land a job before September arrives.
What are your best summer job search tips?