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Don’t let the Job Search Scare You – Spooktakular tips to get started!

By Jessica Zlotnicki, ICC Senior Career Advisor

Searching for a job can feel overwhelming for any student, but it doesn’t have to be! Knowing what steps to take and how to execute them can minimize the nerve-wracking aspects of a job hunt. We have broken down the process into five easy steps.

Step 1: Ask initial clarifying questions.

Students can ask themselves, “What kind of job am I looking for?” Is it an internship, transitional, international, or career-track position? Second, they can ask, “What requirements do I have of this job?” Priorities can include health care, flexible schedule, working alone or in teams, remote work, location-based, opportunities for advancement, and more.  Considering important factors can help your student find a job that fits short- and long-term needs and goals.

Step 2: Research opportunities on job boards.

Not all job boards are created equal; it is important to search multiple. For example, UC Davis students should utilize Handshake, where employers have posted positions because they specifically want UCD-quality candidates. Is your student interested in non-profit jobs? Try Idealist.org or Americorps.  Do they want to work in government? Try USAJobs for federal or CalCareers for California. Engineers can look on NSPE; planners can search the APA; foodies can sample positions on FoodGrads; those interested in biotech can peruse BioSpace; and, well, you get the picture!

Step 3: Network to find hidden opportunities.

Connecting with and expanding one’s existing personal and professional networks is a key, albeit intimidating, step in the job hunt. Students can always attend a career fair, join professional organizations, conduct informational interviews with professionals in positions of interest, update LinkedIn, and generally let people know they are on the market.

Step 4: Update and tailor the resume and other materials.  

By now your student should have a list of job postings or invitations to submit application materials. Congrats!  Now, they need to tailor all materials: every time they submit a job application, the resume or CV, cover letter, and list of references need to be customized to the specifics of that job posting.  

Step 5: Build resilience for the job search.

We know the job search can be scary, and that feeling is perfectly normal. Being reflective before and during the process, proactively utilizing available resources, and seeking support throughout the process will help students navigate the job search scaries!

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