"My Shoes Speak Italian... a classic tale of the pursuit of fashion career happiness, told by yours truly" 
- M.S.S.I. Creator, Megan Burkham
The New Grads Guide To A Successful Job Search

The New Grads Guide To A Successful Job Search

You Have Finally Graduated. Yay! Now What?

A successful job search is more like running a marathon than a strut down the runway. Not only does it require a great deal of detailed preparation, it requires endurance to be successful.

If you're hoping to reduce the amount of time it takes to land the you've always wanted, I've gathered some tips that will help. This strategic process will help you avoid the typical problems job seekers encounter. Get your job search off to a fabulous start by following these tips in order. You'll make progress faster by starting your job search strong and finish with success!

Make Your Job Search Your Number One Priority

Break your job search tasks into manageable pieces and schedule the time to get them done. Work consistently and diligently. Think about it. If you only spend a couple of hours each week on your search, it could take over a year before you land a job. If your main goal is to be employed within six months, you’ll need to step up your game in a big way!

Decide on your priorities and be straightforward and honest about them. Plan the proper time you need to spend on your search and stick with it.

Keep Track Of Your Successes

If you decide to hire a resume writer, they will ask plenty of questions about your accomplishments. It is imperative that you are very detailed. Otherwise you resume will look like everyone else. You need to claim your successes, so be sure to keep that information for when you get to the resume-building stage.

Grasp That Your Job Search Does Not Start With A Resume; It Starts With Knowing The Job You Want

Unless your resume speaks specifically to the company your applying for needs and is based on the specific job description, in this economy, you won't stand a chance. 

I know that's not what you want to hear, but it's the way it is. That's why it is so important that you know your ideal job and use a job lead to write your resume. Hiring managers want candidates who are certain about where they are going. You need to be specific about what you are seeking and speak to what is needed for that position. 

Know The Qualities That Make You An Excellent Candidate

What "soft skills" do you have that people appreciate about you? What compliments do you get from your peers? What positive feedback is given on your performance evaluations? These are important qualities to know about yourself and to discuss when networking and in interviews. List your top qualities, and situations where you used them successfully. 

Use these characteristics in developing your personal branding statement. 

Make Sure The Position You Seek And Your Personal Brand Image Are Compatible

Your personal brand is more than just your image in-person and online. It's a compilation of your experiences, interests, and talents that are unique to you. During the branding process you will work on a personal branding statement. Use this to convey your worth in your elevator pitch, when interviewing and in career-related communications.

The brand you portray should be exactly what the employer needs. Knowing your brand can help to ensure you are moving in the right direction with your career. 

Conduct Informational Interviews To Start Your Search

Informational interviews will give you the ability to pinpoint places where your brand and the needs of the employer are a match.  The most productive method for finding the right match is to conduct informational interviews with your network.

Informal interviewing is asking your contacts about a field, a company, a position, or a person you need to know. It is NOT asking "Who do you know that can get me hired?" 

Commit To Conducting These Interviews Several Times A Week

Knowing about informal interviewing is great, but you have to commit to holding these appointments. How often you hold a meeting depends on how quickly you want to get a job.  

Make A List Of Everyone You Know

Group your contacts into the following categories: 

  1. Contacts you know who have knowledge of your target company, plus a relationship with someone who has the ability to hire you there.
  2. Contacts who know information about the company, but will not have any influential relationships with people in your target company. 
  3. Contacts who may have relationships with decision makers, but will not have any insider information about your target company. 
  4. Contacts who will not have information about the company or relationships with decision makers, but they may know people who do. 

Start by talking to contacts in the first group and work your way to the fourth. Don't rule out networking with those who may be less obvious help to your search. You never know when someone might know someone that can help you network into your target companies.

Develop A Comprehensive List Of Target Companies Or Organizations Where You Would Like To Work

Staying alert to online or in-print job postings are good. However, you are more likely to have success if you know you're a match for a company, and you work your way in through people. Developing and maintaining relationships with people at your target companies is key.

Of course you don't want to put all of your eggs in one basket. You need to have many target companies in mind and be contacting them as you go along in your search.

Keep Track Of All Your Contacts And Networking

Keep everything organized. You don't want an opportunity to fall through the cracks because you forgot to call. Here are a few websites designed to help you be better prepared and organized for job-hunting, including tools for storing contacts, keeping track of job leads and more:

Monitor What Is Happening Within The Fashion Industry And Your Target Company

Use tools like Google Alerts and Twitter Hashtags to stay up to date on news from your target company. This way you'll have things to ask and discussion points in your networking meetings.  These tools will give you a huge leg up and your savvy in these areas will make you more appealing to an employer, too. 

Determine What You Can Do To Fill Any Gaps Between What The Employer Needs And What You Offer

Take additional classes, workshops, or get extra training if need be. Get up to speed with new technologies and skills needed to move up in your profession. Develop yourself professionally. Dedicating yourself to lifelong learning will advance your career even faster. 

Getting a mentor can also be a great way to improve your performance on the job, and network at the same time. Get involved in a professional association like Fashion Group International and ask if they offer a mentorship program. 

Start Building Your Resume

You want your resume to be a well-branded, targeted to the position, and correctly formatted.

Tweak Your Resume For Each Position You Apply For

You'll want to look at each job description and each lead, then review and understand the terms that the employe uses, and put it all together in you resume to describe YOU - the perfect candidate. Use their requirements in your keywords. If there's something in your resume that is not needed or wanted, remove it. Or, think of how you can reword it to describe a quality they need.

Wordle.com is a website where you can cut and paste the job description and it creates a word "cloud" , which emphasizes the most important terms used in the text. With this website you get a great visual representation of what should be emphasized on your resume.

Develop Your LinkedIN And Other Social Media Profiles

Make good use of you r social media profiles. You them to describe you in your ideal job. All of your experience should be tailored to what would benefit your ideal employer. Your summary should contain keywords that would attract recruiters for the job you want most of all.

Make sure your profiles are complete and match your personal brand! Also, it's important to stay on top of these ever-changing social media websites.

Learn How To Effectively Communicate

Taking a behavioral assessment, such as the DISC Assessment, will help you understand your communication preferences. You can use this information to learn how to be more effective in communicating with others. These techniques can be invaluable in an interview and during networking opportunities. 

Be Prepared!

For each interview you need to be doing at least six hours of preparation.  I know it sounds excessive, but the more prepared you are the better chance you have at landing the job of your dreams.

You need to research the company thoroughly, not just on their website and Google. Ask the following questions:

  • What are people saying about the company on their social media sites?
  • What has been reported on them in the media?  
  • What are their financials?
  • What trade publications have featured them?  

You also want to know the background of your interviewer.  

  • Always get the name of the person or people doing the interview.
  • Look at their LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook profiles. 
  • Ask your network for insider information. 
  • Find professional commonalities that will help you break the ice at the interview. 

Know the role that you will be filling and the department you will be working within. 

  • Always ask for a position description.
  • Search for the person currently filling the role on LinkedIn to learn more about the job. 
  • Use Google and Indeed.com to find similar positions and their descriptions.  

Prepare what you'd like to cover. Your successes and what you bring to the position needs to roll off your tongue. Practice answering the questions and review your own resume so you can substantiate any claims you've made on it. Know the questions you want to ask and how you want to close the interview. 

Follow Up

Always send a thank you note or email within 24 hou rs - without fail!

Your Dedication Will Determine Your Success

Maintaining positivity in a job search can be tough. For every disappointment, you've gotten that much closer to success. Do take the time to take care of yourself during this process so you can remain optimistic!

Working with an accountability partner, mentor, or coach can also help you keep the pace and finish the race. You need that support to keep your momentum going. 

Good Luck! 

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