I graduated from the University of Oregon in June with a few internships under my belt and a great GPA. You might assume I’ve already landed a great entry-level PR job? Think again. I wait tables at an unauthentic Mexican restaurant where the tips are low and I am treated like the public’s slave. OK, so that may be a bit of an over exaggeration, but most days it feels like that. I try to put an optimistic spin on waiting tables, telling myself that it could benefit my PR career because I work and communicate with all walks of life. But at the end of the day, I’m just a waitress. Usually I wouldn’t be so pessimistic or blunt about my situation, but I know many of you out there are in the same boat. It is so easy to get down about the economy or the job market, but when the cookie crumbles, the responsibility falls on you to do something about it.
So, how do you pick yourself up off the floor (again, a little extreme, but sometimes it feels like that)? Well, I have been job searching for the past three or four months and up to this point have landed one phone interview and one face-to-face interview. I have re-worked my résumé at least five times since graduation, contacted all my business and family connections for job opportunities, asked for informational interviews at companies I am interested in, applied to over 50 jobs online, and the list goes on and on.
I thought I had done it all and luck just wasn’t on my side. Until I started researching job search tips online. At first I thought it was useless because of the overload of information I found, but then I came across a great blog by Ron Culp, titled Culpwrit: guiding the career in public relations. One of Culp’s blog posts condenses the overload of information to a list of “100 Great Posts to Jumpstart the Job Search,” including categories that each post or article falls under, such as résumés, interviews, new grads, older workers, how to stay motivated, and many more.
Some eye-opening articles I discovered on Culp’s blog post were:
* 10 Tips to a Killer Résumé by MSN Money. This post narrows down ten tips to re-vamp your résumé. It emphasizes the importance of imagining yourself as a salesperson when writing your résumé. It also says to quantify everything you can when writing about employment experience.
* Top 5 Résumé Tips, a post on the Interns Over 40 blog. This post is interesting because it focuses on branding yourself, as a company would do. One tip details the importance of creating a branding statement for yourself, thus providing personal attributes to set you apart from every other applicant. Another great tip in this article is to tell the story behind your accomplishments. For example, write about the challenge, the action and the result when detailing your previous job experience.
* Phone Interviewing Success, a post on CollegeGrad.com. Phone interviews can be difficult because it can be hard to show personality over the phone; however, these tips gave me great ideas for my next phone interview. For example, because it’s over the phone, you can have notes or cheat sheets in front of you during the interview, which can help to remember relevant stories or information about the company. Another great tip is to stand up and look in a mirror during the interview. Standing while on the phone keeps your blood flowing, and looking in a mirror maintains your smile and enthusiasm, both of which are easy to read over the phone.
* Interviewing During the Economic Downturn: How to Look Confident in a Job Interview, a post on Submityourarticle.com. This details the importance of confidence and attitude during an interview. The first impression is huge during the interview process and it’s the easiest thing to control. Professional appearance, positive attitude and confidence show you’re ready for the workplace.
* How New Grads Can Take Charge of Job Search Rejection from Monster.com. I found this post extremely helpful for my situation. It’s easy to get discouraged during the job search, especially when you get rejected. This article says you should ask for feedback from the companies that rejected you, and tailor your interviewing and résumé to the feedback. It also emphasizes the importance of applying to as many jobs as possible because the job search is essentially just a “numbers game.”
Obviously, there are 95 more educational and beneficial articles on Culp’s blog post; however, I thought these were important points to bring to the surface.
There are many ways to strategize the job search, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to perseverance and attitude. I could go on every day complaining about waiting tables, but when I take the time to look at the big picture, the simple reality is: I am lucky to be employed.