By: Zahra Khuwaja, Peer Career Coach
Spooky season is here and nothing is more terrifying than the impending deadlines students have to meet as far as job searching and securing full-time jobs/internships go. Searching for a job or internship position that will be the best fit for you, hoping for a response after uploading your resume online, and getting nervous for interviews can all transpire into a prolonged, sinister experience, where you can end up feeling that you’ve fallen back into a dark hole and reached a point of no return.
This is why it is important to take a step back and come face to face with these ‘ghosts’ that loom about. The following tips are some approaches that can be taken into consideration so as to not ‘bump’ and fall during your job and internship search this Halloween:
1. ‘I don’t know where to start!’
It is very important to take the whole process of job searching one step at a time. First thing’s first, you need to prepare your resume. Career Services at IIT has extremely helpful resources to help get you started and you can find them HERE: https://web.iit.edu/career-services/resources.
Resumes are a requirement for every job/internship that you apply for. Some companies may even ask for Cover Letters so make sure to have a Cover Letter ready as well. Cover Letters can be personalized and adjusted according to the different companies/positions you are applying for.
2. ‘How do I know what positions to apply for? There are too many options!!’
Self-reflection is essential in order to follow through with this step. You need to understand what activities or ventures excite you. This is easier said than done, but is not impossible. Getting involved with campus organizations, working on personal projects, and partaking in collegiate competitions, are just a few of the ways to take on opportunities that you want to explore. These experiences will essentially help you figure out what you would want to pursue as a career. Once you have a general idea as to what industry you would like to work within, it is important to start looking up companies that do the work you wish to do. LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Handshake have a wide plethora of job openings and are just a few of the platforms you can use to narrow down your company list.
Once you have a list prepared, research about the companies by looking at their mission/values. This will allow you to see if what the company values what is important to you. It is also very important to look at past and current projects to give yourself a general idea of the kind of work the company does. All of this information is readily available on a company’s website. It is also helpful to reach out to current employees via LinkedIn or the Bridge, which is an app used to connect current IIT students with IIT alum. This will give you a better understanding about what you would potentially be going into.
3. ‘I have applied for a thousand positions but have not heard back from any!’
Getting ghosted? No surprise there, cause hello Halloween! Jokes aside- more often than not you will apply for jobs online and not hear back from anywhere. It is important to remember that this is NOT a reflection of your abilities and your merit. It is merely attributed to the fact that there are tens of thousands of people applying for the same job and most of the time your application is scanned via an automated process which determines whether your resume will reach a recruiter or not. What this means is that you must ensure that your resume and/or cover letter contains KEYWORDS that are specified on the job description for the position you are applying for. It is also very important to proofread your resume to account for spelling or grammatical errors. Many employers reject resumes immediately if they see any typos.
The best way to battle this ‘ghost’ is by actively networking and engaging with people via career fairs, symposiums, conferences, etc. It is essential to make personal connections so that recruiters can look out for your resume because of your referral from an employee.
These are just some approaches towards a successful job or internship search that will eventually help you land an opportunity based on your interests. Continue to work on your job/internship search strategies and opportunities will always come knocking at your door – just like the folks trick o’ treatin- It is your job to always be prepared with some candy – Happy Halloween!