Now with COVID-19, graduating seniors are facing even more uncertainty about the chances of getting a job. Even with quarantine and the stay-at-home order, you can still take some steps to maximize your job search and the application process.
Starting the process
When applying for jobs, one thing to keep in mind is the type of industry you want to enter since the application and interview process will vary. For example, most job interviews usually ask behavioral questions to assess your fit in the company, but you may also have technical interviews to assess your skills. This is common for industries such as finance or software engineering. It’s important to get informed about the general interview process for the type of position or industry you want to enter.
Searching for jobs
Now, you can’t start applying to jobs without actually searching for them! Some good platforms to start with are LinkedIn and Handshake. Create a strong LinkedIn profile with your skills, past projects, and work experience. The goal is to market yourself to potential recruiters as well as people within your LinkedIn network. Handshake is a good website for college students to find a job; most universities have a Handshake website where recruiters target their specific campus for potential interviews.
Another way to find out about jobs is through your network of friends and university clubs. Ask people who have worked at companies you are interested in about their experience and who their recruiter was. You can email recruiters directly asking for more information about a specific position. Don’t forget about your college’s career services center since they can help put you in contact with companies that normally visit your school.
Resumes & Interviews
Once you think about the industries and jobs you would be interested in, make sure your resume is up to date and geared towards those industries. You may have to create multiple versions if you apply to different sectors or even for different jobs within the same general category. A good tip to make your resume fit the position is looking at the job description and seeing what skills they require. This will give you an idea of how to word your skills and experiences to fit what they are looking for.
After applying and hearing back about interviews, you should know whether you will have technical interviews. You can often expect to be asked about your past experiences, why you want that position and to work for that company, and a round of behavioral questions. Interviews can be nerve-wracking, so make sure to research and think about the potential questions they may ask you and practice your answers (make sure to look natural during the actual interview!). You should be able to talk about your resume experiences and how they tie back to skills needed for the job you’ve applied for.
Behavioral questions assess how you handled past situations to learn about how you will perform in the current position, so it would be good to research these questions and brainstorm some past experiences that can be applied to various of these questions. When answering, try to use the STAR (situation, task, action, response) method. This stands for framing the situational scene, describing the task at hand, explaining the actions and steps you took, addressing it, share the results of your actions and what you achieved.
Waiting to hear back…
Lastly, be patient when waiting to hear back, but it also doesn’t hurt to send an email to your recruiter asking for an update on the status after a week or two. There is a lot of information to keep track of, so a good tip is to keep a spreadsheet of all the positions you have applied to and tracking any progress or updates on that file. Applying for jobs is stressful and can be a long journey, so make sure to take care of yourself and have methods for handling stress.