Knowing Where to Look for Job Openings
- Expect to spend a lot of time – “Finding a job is a job in and of itself,” as some sage a-hole once said. You should be constantly researching companies and industries, reading news, and networking.
- Required materials – Be sure to have a resume and cover letter that is catered specifically to each position you’re applying for.
- Resources – As a recent graduate, you have unique access to your school’s career center, your professors, and your alumni network. Leverage all three to find positions and continually network. Also, be sure to check out all of the websites listed by industry within this guide.
- Contact specific people – You’ll be much more likely to be considered for a position if you send your materials to a specific individual versus a generic “applications” email address. Also, don’t be afraid to call these people directly, unless you’re specifically asked not to.
- Have confidence - Don’t approach interviews and write cover letters under the guise of an no-hope greenhorn. You’re a smart college grad. You are more resourceful and capable than you think.
It’s weird; like the day after graduation, it’s no longer “cool” to spend all day relaxing and laughing about it. Outside of an intellectual context, laziness cannot be written off as “artistic.” I learned that the hard way. Unfair as it may be, chilling 24-7 just isn’t
what it used to be. Apparently, jobs are the new school.
But just as you probably looked at 25 colleges before sending applications, it's important to figuring out what you want to do before rushing into a soul-sapping 9-to-5. The best way to ensure a good gig is to really work at it. Some would say that "finding a job is a job in itself," but I generally dislike those people. What I will say is that there are a lot of resources out there to help recent grads find a job, so make sure to exhaust all of them before settling for a gig you don’t really want.
Before you get started, make sure you're prepared for the process. Check out our Resume, Cover Letter, and Thank You Letter articles and templates. Then figure out where to deploy your job-hunting weaponry...
Full-Time Job Information Resources
Gone are the days of a soot-covered young lad traversing the back alleys of a dangerous city, looking for the “Help Wanted” sign that will be his only beacon of hope. Today, the job-hunt has gone digital, though most people still end up landing their gigs through networking offline. To get started, however, the Web is the place to be, and there are a number of great resources that can help you research different industries and prepare for the application process. Check out WetFeet.com, Vault.com, and QuintCareers.com. Also, take a gander at the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Where to Look for a Job
Once you’ve taken some time to for soul-searching (aka procrastination), it’s time to find some actual positions wherein you might be able to render your services. A job search is a right of passage, and no right of passage would be complete without a ritual. Don’t worry, you don’t have to shave a your pubes and burn its hair in a terra cotta oven—this ritual is all about making the commitment to scan job listings on a regular basis.
While most people browse Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com (and we suggest you do as well), everyone scours Craigslist. Why? We can only assume it’s because the twelve-hour-a-day job you’re about to get will only start to look good after you’ve browsed the odd-jobs section of Craigslist and seen that things could be worse. (That said, there are some legit full-time jobs on Craiglist—you just have to be willing to wade through a lot of detritus to find them).
After a quick scan of those behemoths, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. Each industry has its go-to destination for job postings, and you should always check the “Careers” section of a company websites. In addition, you’re a soon-to-be or recent grad, and as such, you should take advantage of one very unique resource: your alma mater.
- College Office of Career Services—The best place to start is alumni networks through college offices of career services. Not only will the office hook you up with other alums on similar career paths, it will also have recent openings that might be of interest.
- Professors—Almost all my friends with cool jobs were set up by professors who took an interest in their future. Think about professors with whom you’ve developed special rapports and talk to them. They might have some great ideas.
- Alumni Networks— For some reason Hoyas like helping other Hoyas, Tarheels follow Tarheels, and so on and so forth. Contacting fellow alumni can put you on the receiving end of some odd reminiscences (you might not want to know what those class of ’66 dudes got up to), but it is a must for anybody on the job-hunt.
Regardless of which career resources you end up using, check with your school’s career office prior to shelling out cash for any subscription fees that might pop up. More often than not, career offices will offer free subscriptions to their students and alumni.
If it’s a career in the financial world, there are a few options. Our HR sources tell us that most of the high-profile investment banks and consulting firms hire in cycles, so unless it’s late summer or early fall, entry-level positions do not really exist. That said, Citi, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley always accept online applications, as do consulting firms like Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company, McKinsey, Monitor, and Mercer Management Consulting. Though it’s more efficient to apply to banks and consulting firms through Career Services during the hiring cycle, it can’t hurt to upload a CV and a cover letter. Also, check out glocap.com, a financial company head-hunter organization. Though they take a cut from the salary, at least they’ll get you a salary. Once the banking and consulting cycle starts up again, apply directly through the site or through career services. Follow up by getting in touch with any contacts (alumni or other). Though they won’t guarantee a job, at least they can get our resume read.
New Media Jobs/Advertising
Computer Science majors aren’t the only people applying for jobs in New Media. Start-ups are always on the lookout for marketing directors, researchers, and content producers. New Media Jobs are listed on Ed2010, Paid Content, and MediaBistro. In light of the shifting forms of consumption from traditional media to innovative online formats, marketing/advertising is also an incredibly interesting field to get into right now. There is a lot of overlap between New Media and marketing/advertising, and joining one of the major marketing/advertising companies (e.g., Grey, Ogilvy, BBDO, Digitas, SBI.Razorfish) might be a nice first step. Check with your career services office for advertising firms that recruit at your school, and also browse the career sections on the websites of any advertising company that might pique your interest.
If it’s a career in publishing or media, check out Mediabistro, Gawker, journalism school listings, IwantMedia’s site, and even Variety, which is also the best site for entertainment jobs. After surveying those resources, it often helps to go straight to the source in this industry. Track down your favorite websites and publications online, then check to see if they have a “Careers” section. Don’t be dismayed if you only see internship programs—while we know you see yourself as a staff writer or editor-in-chief, sometimes internships are the best way to develop the contacts and clips that will get you there.
As a final word of advice, find out who publishes the magazine or newspaper where you want to work. For example, the Condé Nast media empire includes Vogue, GQ, Wired, and The New Yorker. Maybe you know someone at a publication that falls under the same umbrella as the one you want to work at, or maybe you can get a gig at Teen Vogue but not Vanity Fair—at least you gain access to the Condé Nast HR department. Just that connection alone will give you a leg up on the competition when the next Vanity Fair position opens up.
The best way to get these jobs is through connections, since getting in the door is the most important part. Contacting fellow alums or friends’ parents is the best way to find those doors in which to insert your foot. Contacting fellow alums or friends’ parents is the best way to secure these sort of jobs. For paralegal positions, check out ParalegalJobs.com, Employment Spot, or the paralegal jobs forum at Indeed.com. For lab jobs, check out eLabRat.com, lab positions at Indeed.com, or postings at university medical schools.
Just because non-profit isn’t the first career most people think of when leaving college doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of resources for finding jobs. If you know what you’re interested in doing, first head to the organization’s website. Non-profits such as the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the World Wildlife Fund, UNICEF, the Peace Corps, and Global Education Partnership all offer positions through their websites. If you don’t know what you want to do, check out Idealist.org and World Volunteer Web, the Monster.coms of the non-profit world.
If you don’t see the industry you hope to enter here, don’t despair. In fact, the best way to find a job remains your alma mater’s career office, because if a company lists a position there you know it has a vested interest in your school (and, by extension, you). Unfortunately, even your career office will not have every job you want. If it doesn’t, head over to your dream employer’s website, and apply directly.
Internships can span many industries, but don’t be afraid to take one if it’s the only thing available. Roughing it for a month or two can catapult any young employee into a great first paying job. Also, little to nothing is expected of interns, so a little hard work can go a long way. In general, intern listings will be posted alongside full-time paid positions. Don’t shy away from applying, and keep your head in the game by signing up for the Intern Memo, an e-mail newsletter geared specifically toward interns.
So, that’s a broad survey of some of the best websites for job listings. I wish I could say “come closer” and type the secret to getting jobs in a smaller font, but the best advice I can give is to fastidiously check these sites and follow-up in strategic ways. Make sure you read up on Networking and Nailing the Interview to give yourself a fighting chance at sealing the deal on a dream job.