By Kimberly Smith
Career Coach, APUS
Spring is the season of transition and excitement as new life emerges from dormant gardens. Plants begin to grow again and the weather becomes more welcoming. Perhaps you are now feeling energized and ready to approach your job search again with a fresh perspective.
A recent survey found that up to 85% of job seekers find a job through their network of contacts. Instead of scouring job postings as an anonymous candidate on an online career site, consider the powerful question, “Who do I know in my university network?”
Becoming a well-connected job seeker might increase your chances of forming valuable professional relationships, taking part in educational endeavors and leveraging those contacts to land your dream job. There are several actions to take as you assemble a job-searching team.
Work with a Career Coach to Help You Apply and Interview for Jobs
Sharpen your job-searching tools by working with a career coach who specializes in your target industry. A career coach can provide guidance as you develop application documents, including resumes, cover letters and portfolios.
In addition, career coaches can help you calm pre-interview nerves by practicing potential questions and answers before the interview and providing constructive feedback. Career coaches can also help you formulate a career plan and job-searching strategies to set yourself apart from your competitors. APUS Career Coaches provide complimentary assistance in all of these areas to students and alumni at any step of their career journey.
Find a Career Mentor
Connect with a peer a few steps ahead of you to be your mentor and learn from his or her career journey. How did that person avoid obstacles along the path to a dream job?
Discuss your short-term and long-term career goals with your mentor. Use that individual as an accountability partner by asking him or her to regularly check in with you about your progress.
The right mentor will challenge you to expand your mindset and help foster confidence by congratulating your successes. At American Public University, students and alumni are encouraged to connect virtually in one-to-one mentoring relationships and group mentoring opportunities through ClearPath Mentoring.
Join a Professional Organization in Your Field
Stay abreast of developments in your chosen field by collaborating with professionals who share your passions. Getting involved with a professional organization allows you to remain current about trends affecting your target industry. Also, participation in a professional organization can give you access to scholarship opportunities, conferences and job announcements.
APU’s website also has virtual organizations and clubs available to students and alumni. This list continues to grow annually.
Remember Your Professors during Online Classes
In addition to completing your coursework to the best of your abilities, make a positive impression on your professors by introducing yourself as a professional. Many professors join the teaching profession because they have experience in a particular line of work and want to equip others with the knowledge to succeed.
Share your ultimate career goals with several professors, and politely ask for a letter of recommendation or a method to stay in contact after your course ends. Education is an experience where you truly “get out of it what you put into it.” As a general rule, maintain professional standards for every communication with your professors for best results.
Volunteer for Community Organizations to Develop Relationships
Tap into the pulse of your local area by contributing your time and talents to a worthy cause. Enjoy a sense of reward and learn about the needs of other residents while you chat with other like-minded individuals.
Serving alongside other civic-minded citizens can lead to conversations that naturally evolve into personal topics like your job search. By developing these relationships, you could learn of open positions before they become public. At the same time, you will also feel good about helping others.
In today’s competitive and ever-evolving job market, enhance your opportunities to make your dream job a reality by expanding your job-searching team. Don’t let another spring go by wondering what life would be like in your dream job.