Try saying that five times fast… Not the easiest thing to complete, right? Some days, saying a tongue twister is a little easier than thinking about where the job search will take you in the coming months. I have also been a victim of that. However, after talking with many of mentors to prepare myself for my first job search, I have found that they all offer similar pieces of advice. Here are ten of those tips to tackle your own job search.
1. Location, Job Description, or Salary. Pick Two
When meeting with an SAPro at my current institution, he told us this fact and said “What do you choose? What’s most important to you? You might not get all three so it’s important to choose the two you want the most. ” Do you want the job description of your dreams in a location that is better for you, or is a higher salary more important? This will help you narrow your search process a bit and is a great way to start the search.
2. Get Organized, Stay Organized
This is a very time-consuming aspect of our lives right now. You will have countless resumes, job apps, cover letters, presentations, and other things to keep track of. How do you make sure you don’t lose any of the information that you have? Stay organized! Whether it is through your planner, a word document with all of your notes, an excel document to track applications, or countless folders on your desktop, you have to find an organization tactic that works for you.
3. DO YOUR RESEARCH EARLY
Remember the saying, the early bird gets the worm? It’s still true. Doing more research on the front end of the job search will help you more as you start finding institutions you want to work for, function areas that you aren’t fond of, etc. Don’t hesitate to reach out to other friends/SAPros who work at institutions you are interested in! This is an excellent way to gain some more knowledge from someone who is in the area and has had experience working at the institution.
4. Find ways to distract yourself from the job search
Easier said than done, right? Giving your all to the job search is still a priority. HOWEVER, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend every waking moment slaving over job applications, resumes, and cover letters. Find time to distract yourself and do something you enjoy (especially when you’re playing the waiting game later on in the hiring processes). For some this could be: yoga, working out, crafting, focusing on school work, socializing with friends, etc. Do something that makes you happy and can distract you from this process, at least for a half an hour.
5. DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO OTHER PEOPLES SEARCHES
Imposter syndrome is a large demon and focusing on how your friends are doing in the job search will likely make yours worse. You may also be applying for some of the same jobs. Have a conversation with your friends who are job searching and talk about what genuine support looks like and how you can all support each other without it feeling fake.
6. Figure out what your parachute is and when you want to pull it
Your parachute can be described as what your plans are when nothing else works out. The time to pull it is when you are in your ‘worst case scenario’. Is your parachute finding a job at home until you can find a job you truly enjoy? It can be anything that will ease the situation for you. This is the time to acknowledge the bad thing (ex. Not getting hired before graduation), realize it may not be the worst thing in the world, and then find out what your plan of action may be. If you have to pull the parachute, pull it and keep working to achieve your ultimate goal.
7. Trust The Process
This is one of those times where fate has total control after the interviews are over. All that is left for you to do at that point is just trust the process and know you will end up where you are supposed to. If a job doesn’t work out, it wasn’t in the plans. The journey you are on will lead you exactly where you need to be.
Breathe a sigh of relief after an interview and prep yourself for the next one.
8. Register for a Placement Exchange
Signing up to attend a placement exchange is one of the easiest ways to interview for multiple jobs in one weekend and strengthen your chances of getting a job. You will also have access to certain jobs that may only be interviewing at that specific conference. However, events like The Placement Exchange (TPE), the Southern Placement Exchange (SPE), and the Oshkosh Placement Exchange (OPE) may not be the best for everyone. That is totally okay! (note: this option also tends to be pricey as it does require some travel.)
9. SELF CARE
Sure, getting a job is important… but self-care should be one of your main focuses in these job search. As much as we all want to focus getting a job, it’s important to find ways to focus on yourself and keeping your mental/physical health in top shape.
10. IT’S NOT FAILURE; It’s an opportunity to learn.
It’s important to remember that everything may not work out in your favor the first time around. However, don’t think of it as failure if an institution doesn’t hire you, think of it as an opportunity to learn. Ask for feedback if at all possible and work to improve for the next institution. Life is a giant learning process.
The job search can be stressful and scary, but everything will be worth it once you are secured in a job working with students and making a difference in their lives each day. Stay strong, hold on to hope, and trust the process. You’ve got this.