We all know how difficult and tedious it can be to find a new job. It can be unbelievably exhausting flipping through newspaper want ads (if anybody actually still does that), wading through endless websites, submitting applications only to never hear anything back, and worrying that you’ll be too nervous in the interview to speak in full sentences (or wait, is that just me?). Pile all of that on top of your new college career and things can seem downright overwhelming.
We have compiled a few tips, tricks and resources to help you make sense of it all, and hopefully land that new job.
Advising & Career Services
The ACS can potentially be your best resource on campus. They office exists to help you find a job, search for internships, and update your resume. They can also run you through mock interviews and help you decide on a major that best suits your interests and abilities.
Mary Ann Barham is the director of ACS and an incredible resource for job seekers. When asked about what new students should be doing to find work she said, “Start using the services offered by Advising & Career Services as early as possible in their college career.”
Barham and the rest of the highly specialized and knowledgeable ACS team are there to help you every step of the way through your present and future career choices.
You can stop by the office during drop-in hours, schedule an appointment with one of the advisors, attend a workshop, or take a 1-credit class which takes a more detailed look at your choices and options as a new student. Truly, the ACS has it all.
Learn more about the services they offer at www.pdx.edu/advising-career-services or by calling 503-725-4005.
CareerConnect is an online database set up through the ACS which allows you to do personalized searches for jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities in Portland both on and off campus.
Once you login with your ODIN username and set up your profile, you can search through the database, narrowing your results by job type, industry, location (including on campus and in the various districts of Portland), and how many hours you wish to work.
CareerConnect, an undeniably helpful tool, also allows you to upload your resume, cover letter, writing sample, and other documents, so they are easy to access when applying for jobs.
I know it can be difficult to find the motivation to weave your way through the countless, and undeniably creepy personal ads and missed connections on Craigslist, but it is also hard to deny that it can be helpful when searching for a job.
The website lists the various fields you can peruse, and then allows you to narrow your results from there. You might have to steer clear of the obvious scams, but there are some hidden gems within the Craigslist pages as well, if you devote the time to search them out.
Outside of the wonders of the internet and the resources that PSU provides, you can also try simply wandering around campus. Cork boards posted on the walls of the buildings often hold advertisements for jobs.
Or maybe you have a friend with a job? You can always try asking them to give you a good recommendation when their company is hiring. Knowing somebody and having a connection can be extremely helpful in getting that first interview.
And, if none of the above tools are working for you, you can always try pleading with your Facebook friends. Or are you one of the few lonely souls with a LinkedIn account? I’m pretty sure that website was created to help people find jobs. Either way, simply letting others know you are searching for a job is one of the key ways to actually get one.
Once you’ve found an employer that’s hiring, you need to write a decent, error-free resume. It is mind boggling how many resumes will show up on the desk of an employer that have basic mistakes in them. They will go straight in the trash.
Sending in your resume before double checking the title of the position you are applying for is another frustratingly common mistake. If an employer is hiring for an office assistant position, do not write on your resume that you want a job as a barista. This is simple, obvious stuff, yet people make these mistakes way too often.
Once your resume is free of errors, you need to make it stand out. It shouldn’t be too flashy or ridiculous, though. Do not use glittery font or comic sans. Your resume should not be potential lunch-room joke material. It should be neat, organized, clean and simple. The main goal with your resume is to prove that you are qualified for the position and that you are serious about wanting the job.
Once you’ve had the ever-elusive call back from an employer and they want you to come in for an interview, the first step is to not panic. Seriously, take a deep breath and relax for a second; realize that most people don’t get that call so you’re in a good position.
Deciding what to wear can be overwhelming, so remember this: Don’t ever wear jeans, don’t ever wear a t-shirt, and don’t ever wear flip-flips. Once you’ve mastered those basics the rest is easy. Dress up a little bit (but don’t wear a tuxedo or your prom dress), and maybe comb your hair. Your potential employer has to know that you care and that you put in the effort to look presentable.
Show up to your interview 5 to 10 minutes early. Any earlier than that and you will likely put your interviewer into an uncomfortable position where they have to rush to get ready for you.
When you greet them smile, make eye contact, stand up straight, and give them a firm (but not bone-crushing) handshake. It’s best to appear confident, but not cocky or conceited, because they are the ones thinking about hiring you.
During the interview, do your best to answer their questions in a calm, thorough manner and try not to be too nervous. Speak calmly and confidently. It’s always good to have a few questions for them as well. It shows you have a dedicated interest in their company and the position you want to fill.
In the end, if you get the job, then a congratulations are in order! If not, it’s okay. Simply take a deep breath and keep trying.