Preparing for The Hunt

TONY ESPINAL | Opinion Editor

You are almost there: the end of the year.

Next stop for some of you is summer break, internships, summer school or just some family time.

For others its graduation; the most exciting and scariest time of your lives. And if you haven’t started already, your job search is about to begin.

With a still struggling economy, this may be one of the most stressful times in your lives. During this time it is necessary to take steps to limit the struggles of your search.

First, you must recognize that job hunting can be a long process. When I finished my undergrad, I left with a false sense of security. Not only did I have a college degree, I had five years of work experience and at least two years of leadership experience from the navy.

Who wouldn’t want to hire me, right? Three months and dozens of applications later, I finally found a job.

As of 2012, the average job hunter spent about seven months looking for a job, according to AOL. This means that you could spend the better part of a year with no income coming in. Obviously, this can be especially stressful if you have rent, phone bills and need to eat.

On top of that, student loans come due within six months of leaving school. While federal loans have options to help with payments when you are unemployed, private loans may not.

I’m not telling this to scare you, but you should be prepared.

So what can you do to minimize the search and spend less time unemployed?

First and foremost, start your search sooner rather than later. I made the mistake of not searching for work until after I graduated. This resulted in my taking the first job offered to me in a field outside my desired path.

Now, it is possible that you may end up doing the same thing despite your best efforts, but the chances are likely much higher if you wait to start your search.

Second, expand your search. During my first search, I was flying blind. I just kept searching online job boards. However, there are so many jobs out there that are beyond job boards.

In 2012, there were 3.6 million jobs open and 80 percent of those were never advertised, according to Forbes.

That works out to around 2.9 million jobs that you may not have known were available.

Instead of limiting your search to online job boards, go directly to the source. On several occasions I have found myself surprised at the openings I found that were listed directly on an employer’s website that I didn’t find on websites like Indeed.com.

Network, network, network. Almost every job search tip I have read emphasizes networking.

Having a network may be everything you need just to get your foot in the door. Check out networking events in your area, on campus or even talk to some of your professors.  Your professors have years, maybe decades, of industry experience, so who better to talk to for advice?

Lastly, when you finally land an interview, make sure to thoroughly prepare.

One of my favorite websites is Ask a Manager. This site is a blog written by an actual hiring manager that answers questions about the workplace, gives job hunting tips and even has a “how-to-prepare” interview guide.

Along with online sites, Butler University’s career services offers several options to help with the job search. You can go there for résumé critiques, mock interviews, cover letter help and networking tips.

I encourage every student to start thinking about the job hunt process early. Freshmen and sophomores can start networking at any time through groups and internships. Juniors and seniors can start working on their resumes, cover letters and applications.

Wherever you want to start, don’t waste time. Put yourself out there and start the hunt now, otherwise you may find yourself trying to make up for lost time.

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