Beginning your first job search doesn't have to be a frustrating experience, according to John Petrik, dean of career services at the DeVry Institute of Technology campus in Addison, IL. During his more than 25 years with DeVry, Petrik has become an expert in employment trends and worker retention and has guided thousands of students through the career maze.
"Students are often intimidated by the thought of the first post-graduation job hunt," Petrik said. "But that process can be easier than they think if they remember the basic job search rules."
Petrik's ten basic job search rules include:
Showcase your grades. Grades are still important to potential employers. In Petrik's experience, about 50 percent of employers look for a 3.0 GPA or better.
Get out into the real world. An internship or part-time co-op job tells employers that you have already experienced a real-world work environment and know what to expect.
Communicate well with others. No matter what career path you choose to follow -- from nurse to computer programmer -- you have to have solid written and oral communication skills to get a job.
Network, network, network. Most grads land jobs through people they know -- not by answering newspaper ads. So, make a list of your own contacts, such as professors, family and friends, and add to it by attending career fairs and other professional associations and activities.
Be computer literate. It's the information age - you need to be able to demonstrate solid computer literacy that's relevant to your field.
Put your best resume forward. A resume should be a concise, error-free, reader-friendly, one-page document that can be easily scanned.
Research. Take the time to learn about the company you are targeting by visiting its Web site or researching the company at the library.
Use examples. Using specific examples from school or internships to answer questions about your experiences paints a clearer picture of your strengths and skills for the employer.
Smile! It's hard to smile when you're on the hot seat -- but a smile during an interview shows enthusiasm for the position and the company. Potential employers might interpret a non-smiling face as a lack of interest.
Show your thanks. A thank you note following a phone or face-to-face interview reinforces your interest in the position and the company.