It snuck up on you. Four years – poof – and now you’re looking at a spring graduation ceremony. Have your parents asked about your job search? Have friends from school gotten hired? All the while, you have no idea where you want to work.
Deep Breath. Hold it a few seconds. Now, blow it out. Relaxed?
Good. Here are five things you can do right now to get your job search started.
1. Target Employers
List the top five or six targeted employers. Start a research document on each that includes information about culture, leadership, the position you seek, and its requirements.
2. Qualify favorites
Do a Q&A to qualify each company.
Answer the following: Why does the company appeal to me? How well does my current experience make me a viable candidate? Who are the key leaders? What is their background, and how did they build their company? Who would I contact when seeking a position? How can I network to establish a connection with those people and the company?
3. Read the trade pubs
Search for the most influential publications, blogs, and individuals in advertising. Read everything. Save it for future reference. Subscribe to receive content. Take notes. Research for school assignments may have been tedious. This is about the life or death of your career. That should pique your interest.
4. Follow your heroes.
When you’ve soaked in everything, a funny thing happens. You have a list of pros you wish to emulate. They are doing the work you want to you were doing. They have accomplished what you want to achieve. So stalk them, quietly. Follow them on LinkedIn and every other social platform where they have a presence. If you can connect, do so. Some heroes are mentors. Find one and hold on to them like grim death.
5. Network everywhere.
Advertising is a relatively small industry. Everyone knows someone you need to know. The more connections you have, the more likely someone will connect you to your future. Get on the social platforms your heroes will be on, and monitor it daily for opportunities to interact. Join organizations with members who can influence your career, not people just like you. Young professional organizations are excellent for social interaction, but if you want to spend your time getting somewhere, fish where the fish are. Follow the organizations and individuals on social media and read their interactions.
Here’s a bonus thing: Calendar this to-do list: a half-hour, an hour, whatever. But chip away at it every day. You’ll make up a lot of ground fast if you do. Don’t wait until after graduation to start thinking about hunting for your job. Great employers are looking for early birds, those eager to make their mark. The jobs offered by those employers go fast, usually before you’re even across the stage.