Advice From the Other Side: Essential Job Search Tips

September 29, 2017

IMG_0838 (1)By Samatha Vigeant
Program Coordinator, Center for Career Development

If you’re anything like I was during my senior year of college, the prospect of finishing up your undergraduate education and having to start your career in the “real world” is, well, pretty scary. Some students are able to secure jobs before they graduate, and that’s great! However, that wasn’t my experience, and it’s perfectly okay if it’s not your experience either. Here are a few strategies to help you through the job search process.

  1. Perfect your resume and cover letter. Your resume and cover letter are often the first glimpse of you that an employer sees. Make it count! Remember that resumes and cover letters aren’t “one size fits all.” Be sure to tailor your documents to fit the description of each job you apply for by drawing on some of the key skills and qualifications needed for the job, and showcasing how your experiences make you a good candidate. It’s also important to get some feedback on your documents; as an alum, you can still take advantage of the resume and cover letter reviews at the Center for Career Development.
  2. Do your homework. Before you start applying to anything and everything, step back and reflect on who you want to work for and what workplace qualities are important to you. Before you apply for a job, read the job description thoroughly and do some background research on the company to make sure it’s a good fit for you.
  3. Build your social media presence. If you don’t have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile, you should. LinkedIn is a powerful job search tool that also allows you to build a professional network and social media presence. Check out the CCD’s guide to building and maintaining an effective LinkedIn profile here. Additionally, remember that many employers use social media as a screening tool, and they’ll likely check up on you before hiring you. You’ll want to be sure to clean up your personal social media accounts of any posts that may be seen in a negative light by recruiters.
  4. Tap into your network. While social media and online job boards are becoming increasingly more relevant to the job search, nothing can eliminate the importance of human connection. The old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” certainly carries some weight. Don’t be shy! Reach out to relatives, friends, former job and internship supervisors, professors, etc. to gain some connections. The BU Career Advisory Network is also a fantastic resource that you can use to connect with fellow BU alumni and gain insight into their own post-graduate journeys.
  5. Use CCD services. One of my biggest regrets is not taking advantage of my alma mater’s career office. As an alum, you still have access to our services, and you should take advantage of them! From workshops, to career fairs, to individual counseling appointments, the CCD is here to help you reach your career goals. Check out our complete list of services here.

Remember, the job search is a process, and landing your dream job doesn’t happen overnight. Put these tips into practice, be persistent, and be optimistic, and you’ll be employed before you know it.