If your blood pressure rises higher than a neglected balloon when you even think of finding a job then you’re definitely a victim of this vicious economy. The good news is that there are ways to find work even when Wall Street is waging war on your wallet:
1. Contact your school’s Career Planning Office as soon as you can. Ask them to help you put together a résumé and cover letter that you can hand over to possible employers at job fairs. You should also use these materials when applying for internships, which brings us to:
2. Internships. Internships are becoming increasingly important in today’s job market, as they offer unparalleled work experience. If it’s too late for you to find a summer internship, then look toward next year and apply early. Most schools allow their students to substitute an internship for a class, which is a no-brainer good deal.
3. Alumni. Odds are your school has a diverse pool of successful alumni. At least a few probably work in a field you’re interested in and would be happy to hear from their alma mater. Contact them and ask questions about what they do. If you don’t know how to get in touch then, again, try asking the Career Planning Office.
4. Be courageous. Getting a job requires you to take risks and be bold. Don’t be shy about either making contacts or seeking help. Opportunities won’t come to you on their own. Apply for everything that might interest you even if it seems difficult or out of reach. You’re more capable than you think.
5. Professors. Think of all the classes you’ve either taken or that you’re about to take. At least one of your professors has or will have interests that match up with yours. That’s the thing about college: it’s easy to find a mentor. Even if you’ve already graduated it can pay to go back and speak with professors who knew you best.
6. Parents. Speaking of mentors, your parents have a lot of advice to give. Ask for it. Consider what they’re saying. Remember that they’ve lived a lot longer than you.
7. Social networking. It’s easy to get lost in the world of Facebook or Twitter, but make sure you take advantage of networking sites that could give you a leg up on the competition. Try sites such as LinkedIn or Plaxo and show possible employers that you exist.
8. Volunteer. You need experience if you want to eventually land your dream job. Get your foot in the door by volunteering in a related field. You may not get a paycheck, but it will make you a more attractive hire in the future.
9. Email. Do some research and get in touch with professionals in your field of interest. This is your chance to be candid and ask those you admire how they got where they are. It might feel strange reaching out to strangers, but do it anyway. But always be professional.
10. Ask questions. The easiest way to get to the top of the pile is to ask good questions during interviews. Prove that you’re curious and creative and you’ll go far.