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The Job Hunt: Tips from Feld Career Center Expert

Job seekers should use friends and community

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Justin McCummings says students should use their personal network: “Let everyone you encounter know that you are looking for a job.” Photo courtesy of Justin McCummings

In part three of our four-part series on how to find a job, BU Today talks with Justin McCummings, associate director of the School of Management’s Feld Career Center. Tomorrow, in part four, we touch base with graduating senior Natalie Swenson (ENG’11), who has found a job in her field.

BU Today: What’s your most important advice for students looking for a job?
McCummings: The best advice I can give is to stay proactive. Don’t just rely on jobboards for your search. Utilize your BU community (alums, faculty, and staff) as well as your personal network. Let everyone you encounter know that you are looking for a job. You don’t necessarily have to ask them for a job, but letting people know you are in the job hunt allows more people to be your eyes and ears when it comes to potential job opportunities.

What are the biggest mistakes job hunters make?
The biggest mistake I see students make is not tailoring their cover letters and résumés to the job they are applying for. Students need to use keys words from the job description or on the company website to highlight their fit with the company and the position.

How can social media help in finding a job? How can it hurt?
I always encourage students to use LinkedIn to network or learn about other professionals’ career paths. Also, blogging has been helpful, especially for students interested in marketing and advertising. There have been a few students who have been recruited by companies based on their web presence on blogs. However, if your Facebook page is not fully secured, you may have images or comments by you or your friends that may not put you in the best light, which can be a turnoff for most employers—and, yes, some employers do check Facebook pages.

What are some guaranteed job interview deal breakers?
Not knowing what the company does or not having or showing a real interest in the position. Whether it is true or not, companies don’t want to hear that you are interviewing with them to see if you might be interested in them.

Read part one, an interview with H. Scott Smith (LAW’96), author of Find Your Perfect Job: The Inside Guide for Young Professionals, and part two, an interview with Lorri Zelman (GRS’90) of executive search firm Solomon Page Group.

1 Comments

One Comment on The Job Hunt: Tips from Feld Career Center Expert

  • Anonymous on 05.07.2011 at 12:00 am

    Thanks for the great advice! I didn’t realize that tailoring your resume could be that helpful. How much work would you put into tailoring your resume? Just change the words around or doing an overhaul? For the coverletter, would you recommend we write a different one for every job we apply, or write a generic one and make adjustments to it?
    I want to make sure each of my applications is as good as possible, but I also don’t want to spend too much time applying for each job and not have time to apply for other opportunities.

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