Narrowing Your Job Hunt

Where to begin? Looking for a job or an internship often feels like looking for a needle in a haystack. Unfortunately, there is no formula for the best way to look for a job. That being said, taking a brute force approach and applying for anything and everything you can find that relates to your education or your previous experience will most likely not get you the job of your dreams.

Instead, consider taking a little time to reflect on a few things and develop a plan that will give you a leg up on your competition and prevent you from moving back in with Mom and Dad. (Love you, mean it, Mom)

Step 1: Decide what you want and what you don’t want.

Now, you don’t have to decide who you want to be for the rest of your life or know exactly what job title you want to have. Rather, consider what kinds of things you would be interested in doing. For example, if you don’t like reading all that much, you shouldn’t apply to work at a publishing company. If you can’t get enough of staying on top of current events, then maybe working for a news station is a good starting place. Don’t spend too much time developing a list. Instead, take one thing on your list and one day at a time to look for jobs that relate to your interest. It won’t take you long to figure out what will really keep you coming back day after day.

Step 2: Decide where you’re willing to go and where you’re not willing to go.

Sure dropping everything and moving to Australia sounds exciting, but are you really willing to leave what you know for the unknown? Do you want to stay in your college town or do you want to move away? These too are hard questions, but deciding on a location or locations can be a great help in narrowing your overall search. Just like you did with your interests, take it one place at a time. Look for what is available in one place one day and then look at another place the next day. Taking things one step or piece at a time can keep you from getting overwhelmed.

Step 3: Figure out whom you know.

One of the best ways to get a foot in the door of a place you want to work is to know someone on the inside. Having an inside man or woman can be the difference between getting an interview and your resume disappearing into the ether. Create a basic list of whom you know and look for jobs you are interested in at their companies or at their partner companies. Exercise your contacts and always be in the process of developing more. Even if you decide to move across the country, there is always a chance that someone you have encountered in a professional setting knows someone else within your field. As you build on your list, stay organized so that you can quickly discover connections. Think six degrees of separation (or Kevin Bacon, whichever works).

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. I bet you just thought “Sure it is…” I know this guide might seem like an oversimplification, but that’s kinda the point. In order to narrow your job hunt, you have to know the basics about yourself so that when you are rifling through all that hay you can separate the flimsy pieces of straw from that solid needle pointing you in the right direction.

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