Prepare for Jobs
Prepare for Jobs & Internships
In order to be successful in your job or internship search it is important to prepare in advance. Employers are considering a variety of factors before they even meet with a candidate.
Regardless of what type of job or internship you pursue, there are some basic elements that should be in place to set yourself up for success. Volunteering can assist with identifying your career preferences and make you stand out from other candidates. Additionally, due to the digital nature of our culture it is important to have a strong social media brand and professional LinkedIn profile. You will also want to consider individuals in your academic or professional life that could serve as references.
In addition to the resources below, it is important to make sure that your resume and cover letter are well done and that you are building a strong professional network. You may also want to conduct some informational interviews to find out if your current career of interest is actually the right career path for you.
TIPS FOR UNCERTAIN TIMES:
- Brainstorm ways to start building related experience on your resume. Look for student organizations related to your field of interest or part-time jobs or volunteering opportunities that will build relevant skills.
- Devote time to researching the job market in your field. What skills are entry-level positions seeking? What are the top companies or organizations in your field? Are there certain geographic locations important in your industry? Combining online research with informational interviewing will help build a strong foundation of knowledge for the rest of your job search activities.
Volunteering is a good way to explore your interests and to give back to the local community. Non-profit groups need many different kinds of volunteers; opportunities can include one-time help with an event to weekly tutoring commitments. Serving as a volunteer can be a thoughtful component of your four year plan for academic and career goals.
The University of Delaware Career Center serves as a hub for connecting UD students and non-profit organizations and agencies.
Volunteering offers an opportunity to:
- Explore your interests;
- Learn about a community-based organization;
- Make a contribution to an organization’s ability to serve its clients;
- Establish relationships for more in-depth activities (such as internships or funded summer immersion programs);
- Build skills for your resume and portfolio.
Find volunteer opportunities:
Individuals: Log-in to your Handshake account and search for volunteer opportunities. Respond directly to the organizations. For assistance contact the Career Center!
Student Groups: A group of students may be needed to help with annual events such as those that raise funds or awareness for the organization. To find opportunities, a member of the student group can log in to Handshake and search for volunteer opportunities
LEVERAGE SOCIAL MEDIA
10 RULES FOR USING LINKEDIN*
1. Your profile should contain a professional photo.
2. Use the headline space effectively—include your area of interest or study.
3. Create a summary that will stand out—use keywords that relate to your industry of interest and include general information on the type of positions you are seeking.
4. Include all relevant experience—leadership, volunteer experiences, internships, and shadowing opportunities.
5. Get recommended! Ask for recommendations from professors and supervisors.
6. LinkedIn is similar to a professional Facebook—keep your LinkedIn professional, rather than social.
7. Use the “People You May Know” function on the right-hand side of the page to connect with others who are similar to you or share connections with you.
8. When sending a request to connect with someone, include a personalized note instead of the generic, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
9. Utilize bullet points under each position description to make it easier for viewers to skim your responsibilities.
10. Create an honors and awards section and provide a short description of each achievement.
LINKEDIN TO-DO ITEMS:
Joining groups such as the "Blue Hen Career Network" or "University of Delaware Alumni Network" will allow you to easily find other LinkedIn members to reach out to for career advice or informational interviews.
Use the University of Delaware college page:
- Click “Notables” to see established University of Delaware alumni, such as CEO’s, company presidents, and other industry leaders.
- Click “Students and Alumni” to see where they live, work, and their industry. Utilize this tool to network and reach out to alumni in your field of interest.
- Use the LinkedIn for Students page - You can find articles and videos on this page to help you in optimizing your profile and LinkedIn experience.
The platforms listed below are based on current popularity statics, however the front-runners in social media could change at any moment so make sure to take advantage of the additional resources section to be able to recognize the current trends.
- Tailor your profile to a professional audience by summarizing your transferable skills and areas of career interest
- View your friends as potential connections for networking
- Provide resources related to your field of interest in your status updates
- Use Graph Search to research companies
- Like organizations related to your career of interest in order to get a better understanding of that company's goals and working environment.
- Make your profile bio professionally focused
- Tweet parts of your resume
- Live tweet events or speakers related to your career field of interest
- Follow companies of interest
- Follow relevant people in your career field of interest
- Follow job related hashtags to find current postings
- Use popular hashtags to promote your posts
Other Social Media Platforms
Consider looking at social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Storify to creatively build you professional brand. For example, you could use YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest to post videos and/or pictures of yourself doing service projects or a task at your internship. You could also use Storify to create a story board of all of your career accomplishments. Companies are looking for well-rounded, innovative employees and utilizing these sites well could prove that you are the perfect candidate.
- Be authentic! Recruiters want to meet the person they saw on your social media site and inaccurate information could cost you valuable opportunities.
- Be reliable and recognizable across platforms
- Don't be afraid to cross promote your social media sites
- If you have a common name use your middle initial to differentiate yourself from the others
- Make sure to give credit to your sources
- Be professional!
- Be careful not only about your posts, but the posts in which other people tag or refer to you can be searchable and could be potentially damaging to your career
- When creating content for posts ask yourself "Would my grandmother approve of this?"
- Remember nothing is private on the internet!
Potential employers will ask for references to speak to a candidate's character and work ethic. It is important to pay attention to what type of reference the employer requests. Typically companies are looking for professional references, however for newer graduates they may also require an academic reference, such as a professor or research supervisor. Additionally, some positions may desire a personal reference, such as a friend to vouch for the candidate's integrity in all aspects of life.
A FEW TIPS FOR ENSURING STRONG REFERENCES:
- Always ask the individual, in advance, if they are willing to be your reference
- If they are willing, provide them with pertinent information about the position and your qualifications for that position (you may even want to provide the reference with the latest copy of your resume)
- Be confident that your reference will say good things about you...if you are not sure, steer clear!