Now Is the Time to Troubleshoot Your Job Search
by Kaitlin Schafer | November 21, 2014
The job search can be compared to a roller coaster ride, from the excitement of receiving a call from an interested employer to the letdown of finding out you lost an opportunity to a more qualified candidate. What should you do when frustration sets in and hope starts to fade? Now is the time to evaluate your strategy. Ask yourself if you are implementing the following best practices below.
- Creating a game plan? Aim to submit a target number of applications each week. It’s important to set short term goals to avoid feeling overwhelmed. ECS encourages students to submit approximately 30 applications per semester. Yes, you read it correctly—30 applications per semester!
- Using a variety of resources? The job market for graduates looks like the strongest in several years, with employers looking to make significantly more hires than last year. According to NACE’s Job Outlook 2015 report, employers plan to hire 8.3 percent more new college graduates from the Class of 2015 for their U.S. operations than they did from the Class of 2014. With that being said, take advantage of all the ways employers are trying to recruit you, including:
- The job postings and on-campus recruiting opportunities in your CareerEngine account ("Jobs for OSU Students" AND "Jobs through NACElink")
- External job search sites: company websites, indeed.com, Glassdoor, engineerjobs.com, LinkedIn; use keywords like "entry level", "internship", etc. to drill down to meaningful results
- Networking events: career fairs, professional conferences, information sessions, workshops, job shadows, etc.
3. Unnecessarily limiting yourself? Maintain flexibility with regard to location of opportunities! Be realistic about where opportunities are available and be willing to take the necessary path to achieve your goals. Also avoid focusing all your energy on applying to “big name” companies. Smaller businesses have great benefits too! Individuals employed at small companies have noted advantages such as: easier access to upper management, ability to exercise a wide variety of responsibilities/skillsets and greater visibility of hard work and successful results.
4. Demonstrating professionalism? Employers seek candidates who are focused, polished and can represent their company well. Follow these tips to ensure you are practicing professionalism during your search:
- Google yourself! Review your social media presence and remove photos or information that could portray you as unprofessional.
- Respond promptly to voicemails or emails sent by companies. Following up in a timely manner shows you are interested and understand the importance of their message.
- Put thought into your attire! First impressions are everything and dressing inappropriately could cost you a job. When in doubt, it’s better to be a over-dressed.
- Take the extra step to thank individuals for their time after events (interviews, career fairs, info sessions, etc.). Expressing your appreciation is a great way to stand out from other candidates.
5. Staying organized? Keep track of every job for which you've applied or interviewed on a spreadsheet. Logging your application activity will help to manage the appropriate steps for follow-up and will prevent you from applying to the same position twice. Refer to page 15 in the ECS Student Handbook for an example.
6. Evaluating your progress and seeking timely assistance? If you are not receiving callbacks after submitting your applications, you may not be selling your skills and experiences on your resume in the best light. Contact ECS to set up an appointment with an advisor for assistance writing an effective engineering resume.
If you are securing interviews but are struggling to receive offers, it's likely you could benefit from interview help. Consider scheduling an interviewing coaching appointment or mock interview with ECS. In a mock interview, interviewees are formally assessed through a series of interview questions and will receive feedback and coaching on how to improve their performance.
If you sense things are not going in a postive direction, ask for help ASAP so that you don't miss opportunities or key recruiting periods.
“Asking for help does not mean that we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.”
-Anne Wilson Schaef