Staying Sane While Applying to Jobs in College

Today we’re doing things a little bit different on the blog today! I’m collaborating with Samanathability.com to talk about all about the job search process. Today, she is guest writing on my blog, and I went over and wrote on her blog. How cool is that?! So keep on reading to hear what she has to say about keeping your cool during the dreaded job search. Don’t forget to head to her page when you’re done to read what I wrote. 🙂

Collaboration with Samantha Tetrault

Applying to “real” jobs was probably the scariest part of my senior year of college. It felt like an actual race against the clock to have a job lined up by graduation, and I always felt like I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. I ended up not having the job I wanted when I graduated, but I did have a job lined up. This was a horrible fit for me, and I only lasted about a month in my new job before I decided to keep looking.

 

Spending more time looking the second time around made all the difference. Without the pressure of needing to get a job ASAP, I was able to actually reflect on what I wanted to do and find something that works better for me. Whether you plan to apply to jobs during your senior year or you’re going to wait until after graduation, here are some tips for applying to “real” jobs.

Acing the Application

Job applications can be tricky. Today, almost every application is processed online. While this makes it easier to apply to a lot of jobs quickly, it’s harder than ever to actually get noticed. Understanding how these computer programs scan applications is the first step in helping your application actually get read by a hiring manager.

 

Most applications for bigger companies are scanned through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) which handles a large recruitment process. When you submit an application through an ATS, the system will scan your documents and entries to look for certain keywords or terms submitted by the hiring manager.

 

This might feel a bit unfair, since how it a machine going to see all the little details you put into your application? I mean, the computer isn’t going to care about your summer spent volunteering or your babysitting job. It can feel frustrating to know you need the computer’s approval before your application will get the actual human attention it deserves. If you want your application to get noticed, here are some tips:

 

  • Tailor your resume and application answers for each specific job description. Word things similarly in your resume and on the application as they’re listed in the job listing. Pay attention to special skills, programs, or experience they’re looking for, and try to similarly format your application.
  • The optimal word count for resumes is around 750 words, so aim for this.
  • Focus on measurable results when listing your experience. That means writing “managed 5 projects per month” rather than “assisted with monthly projects.” Computers love numbers!
  • Avoid fluff and unnecessary words.

Starting Your Search: Where to Find Jobs

 

If you’re just getting ready to graduate, it can be horribly confusing to find the best place to search for jobs. It seems like there are endless amounts of job search websites, and you can’t figure out which ones are actually good and which ones are filled with creepy scams.

 

Different websites are simply better for different industries. When you first are getting started with job search sites, try a few different ones to see which ones have more options and give you better results. Here are some of the most popular ones to get you started!

 

  • Indeed – This is the classic job search tool. It seems like every job in the world is on here, from entry level to super advanced. To avoid getting hopelessly overwhelmed on Indeed, create a customized search. I also highly suggest setting up email alerts see any new jobs with your search terms are emailed to you daily!
  • ZipRecruiter – I love the idea of ZipRecruiter, I just haven’t had much luck with it personally. It makes it easy to search jobs and import your resume, but it’s definitely more popular in different areas. I live in Orlando, and there just aren’t many options here for ZipRecruiter jobs. If you live in a larger city, this might be different.
  • Linkedin – If you’re tired of weeding through scammy looking jobs, go right to LinkedIn. These are (for the most part) all professional gigs. LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool, so get on there ASAP.
  • Internships – When I graduated, I didn’t have much professional experience. That’s why I’m currently doing a paid internship locally to fill in the gaps on my resume. There’s nothing wrong with taking an internship after you graduate, and it’s a great way to try different industries while you’re still young. Internship.com is a great search tool for finding positions.

Staying Positive

The hardest part of applying to “real” jobs, isn’t the applications or the resumes or the interviews. It’s staying positive while sorting through seemingly endless rejections. I got so so so many rejections. I envied my classmates who miraculously landed dream jobs seemingly by accident. I joked about how big of a failure I was that I couldn’t even get through a single phone interview.

 

I did everything right. I graduated with a 3.9 GPA, I led several groups on campus, I worked my way through early years of school, I graduated early, I visited the career center regularly, I was a tutor, but still I couldn’t land any of the jobs I wanted when I graduated.

 

It wasn’t until months later, after quitting my first nightmare of a post-grad job that I realized I was worried about nothing this whole time. I was so busy stressing about everything, I didn’t stop to enjoy my final year of college. I realized what I needed this whole time wasn’t the perfect job, but a break.

 

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be prepared. You should. Do everything you can to improve your skills while in college, and try your hardest when applying to jobs. But remember you’re going to be just fine, no matter what. You’re young and you literally have so many options. Don’t let your CV define you, and you’re going to do great!

 

Samantha Tetrault is a full-time writer and blogger from Orlando, FL. She blogs about post-grad lifestyle at Samanthability.com. When not writing (which isn’t often!), she’s planning her latest weekend getaway or walking her dog, Barbie.

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