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Open your mind while job searching

This entry features guest writer, Geoff Sieron, who is a mechanical engineering student graduating this June...

When I began my job search, I thought I knew which companies I was going to target. These were companies I'd been looking at in the past and ones that I thought I'd like to work at. I hadn't really given much thought to branching out to companies that were not on my "list" before. Once I spent more time researching the job market; I came to realize that it was going to be difficult to get a decent job in the current economy. I knew I had to do something different in order to increase my chances of getting an offer, so I decided to take an alternative approach to job searching.

Rather than just applying to the companies I had previously thought about, I decided to submit my resume to just about every company that was hiring. First, I applied to all of the companies that sat at the top of my priority list. Then I started to look at the job postings on Engineering Career Services' website. I applied to a whole slew of jobs that I had never really thought about before...some of which I had not even heard of. I figured that even though the company/jobs didn't initially spark my interest, I could benefit by seeing what else was out there, while also increasing my options when it came time to choose a career.

I ended up applying to roughly 40 jobs. Of those 40, I received first interviews with approximately 19. So, of all the jobs I submitted to, I made it through the screening process on only half of them. That's why it is really important to apply to numerous jobs and not limit yourself to just a few-even though you may think those are the only places you'd like to work. Of those 19 first round interviews, I was invited back for second round, site interviews with 10 of the companies. So again, I only made it to the next level with about half of them. From those 10 companies, I received 4 job offers.

I ended up accepting an offer from a company that I didn't initially consider-I just branched out and applied to the job not really knowing a whole lot about the company. Once I learned more about what they did during the interview process, I realized that this job was exactly what I was looking for.

I realized two really important lessons from the job search process. First, you need to apply to a lot of jobs. With the current state of the economy...not a lot of companies are hiring. And the ones that are hiring are not looking to bring in as many new employees as in years past. Adding to this problem is the high volume of applicants that you are competing against. I applied to 40 jobs and ended up getting 4 offers. If you were to limit yourself and only apply to 10 jobs or so, that would mean (according to my numbers) you'd be looking at only one offer.

The second lesson I learned goes along with my first point. When applying to a greater number of jobs... branch out. Submit your resume and cover letter to companies and positions you don't know anything about or hadn't considered before. There are numerous great opportunities out there, but tunnel vision and overly focusing on just one area rather can be problematic when there's an endless world of possibilities. Try something new and different!

"Where there is an open mind there will always be a frontier."
-Charles F. Kettering

Authored by an ECS guest.