“Where do I start?” is the most common question asked by new and soon-to-be graduates. Beginning the search for your first post-graduate job is a daunting and frustrating process that thousands of graduates face each year. There are times you will not get feedback from companies filling out endless application forms becomes redundant, and it can seem like you’re navigating through the process against what employers want.
Fortunately, there are helpful resources available to help fresh graduates (and soon-to-be graduates) with their job searches. From your campus career office to talent attraction and retention programs like VISTA+, to graduates and students’ job boards, you’ll find a variety of resources available to aid in your job search.
But, Are You Prepared for Teleworking?
Since March 2020, there have been numerous changes to the worldwide economy. For instance, the job market moved from record-low unemployment levels to an economy shedding jobs by the millions as COVID-19 spread across the globe. These economic changes have led to many companies embracing teleworking as the new normal.
While the number of people working remotely on a part-time or full-time basis has been gradually increasing over the years, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of a teleworking model by most companies. Remote work will have lasting impacts on how individuals, organizations, and governments work, recruit and utilize workspaces. To employees, teleworking means financial savings, reduced commutes, and more time to improve skills, among many benefits. It also expands your job prospects far outside the USVI. You can live in St. Croix, St. Thomas, or St. John and work for a company based elsewhere.
But what other changes will we see in the coming future? Working in offices could become a status symbol. Most meetings will shift to virtual, and job interviews are not an exception. So, the interviews might take longer than before. As a graduate and a job seeker, it takes more than searching for open jobs and sending in a resume or cover letter. You have to stand out from the crowd.
What Are the Tips for a Successful Job Search and Interview Process?
You can make the job search easier and enjoyable if you use proactive approaches. Here are the top tips to help with the job search and interview process:
Figure Out What You Want
Do not go into the job market blind. You need to think about what you would like to be doing and where you want to do it. Come up with a list of the types of jobs you are searching for and the companies where you wish to apply. Include company and culture characteristics in your list. Finding a purpose helps to concentrate on goals and desires that lead to vision and growth. Every step during the job search process will require thinking ahead and proper planning.
Consider an Internship
Are you a fresh graduate or in college about to graduate? Bear in mind that your first job doesn’t have to be a permanent or professional position. There are several opportunities available for graduates, including internships, volunteering, and contract assignments. Look for roles that offer room for growth.
Capitalize on Your Networking Connections
Make an effort to build professional relationships and stay connected. Your professors, peers, alumni, career service offices, and other people you know are essential in your job search. Discuss with your professors about your job search, conduct informational interviews, keep up with the job events on your campus or even online. Network extensively as you never know which connection will lead to a job.
Collect and Create a List of References
Before you graduate, make sure to find a list of references who can attest to your skills and abilities. These can be professors, internship supervisors, or even athletic coaches. Don’t forget to ask them to serve as references and keep a list of their contacts for use when you start applying for jobs.
Create Your Online Career Brand
What will the employers see when they search your name online? Consider how you can build your brand online to showcase your expertise and passion. Search tools like LinkedIn are an excellent platform for connecting with hiring managers at companies that interest you. You can position yourself to be found by recruiters with relevant openings. Do a thorough check to ensure you are using social media effectively in your job search.
Optimize Your Resume
Large companies or those that outsource HR services use automated tracking systems to search for keywords that match the roles they’re aiming to fill. So, the best thing is to integrate the words that stand out to you into your resume. Make sure to highlight the positions of responsibility you’ve held and the results you’ve achieved before.
Create a personalized resume format that stands out from other applicants. Remember that your strengths and expertise, if any, can add weight to your application. Always tailor your resume to meet the specifications of each job before you apply.
If you’re finding it challenging to secure a job, it may be time to consider more options. Since you’re new to the job market, it’s a good idea to broaden the number of fields you’re considering. Don’t be overly selective about the exact role. Focus on working with a company or organization that you connect with and can see yourself growing within. Your first job can lead to positions you’ve never imagined.
Prepare for the Interview
When you get an invite for an interview, whether in-person or virtual, take the time to prepare. Practice sample interview questions and answers, research the company, make sure you can easily and confidently explain what you’ve included on your resume. You can ask a friend or your mentor to do a practice interview with you. Putting in some time to practice will help you to be more confident and comfortable during the interview.
After the interview, make sure to leave a good impression. Request your interviewer’s business card or contact information to make it easier for you to follow up. It is always best practice to send a thank-you note to the person who interviewed you. Follow up with a phone call or an email if you have not heard back from them after a week. Be sure to show your enthusiasm and interest in the job when doing so. As you wait for a response, keep on searching for and applying to jobs that interest you.
Searching for jobs is not always easy and can feel like a daunting task. VISTA+ aims to help you streamline your process and connect you with companies doing tech-forward, meaningful work with Virgin Islanders growing their careers.