Well, you just spent the past two years or so in school learning the skills necessary to go out in industry and earn a living or you've just been laid off. Now, the question you'll find yourself asking is "Where are those jobs?".
The Ultimate Hide n Seek Game - Think of it like the ultimate "hide n seek" game, the jobs are out there, you just have to find them. Look in the newspapers - career section, classified, look online, look at company websites for their employment section, look at head hunters (employment agencies), look in the Yellow Pages under your field of work, cold call companies, talk to the manager. Whether it is full-time, part-time or contracted out - these are all options that you can do.
Getting Your Foot in the Door! - You may decide to take a position lower than your qualifications to get your "foot in the door" in a company that has good opportunities for advancement. You may want to take the first position that comes along to pay the bills or to gain that initial experience. You may want to wait until the perfect job comes by which usually doesn't and then one day you wake up and realize that you've done nothing for 6 or 7 months and are out of touch!
The Numbers Game - Looking for a job is a numbers game, the more applications that you put out, the better the chance of finding employment. During the 80s recession, I had over 700 job applications out and nothing happened for 6 months until the week that I was finally hired. I received 4 interview requests on the first week of my new job!
No need to be Discouraged! - Expect that for every 10-20 job applications that you send out, you may only get 1 (one) interview. And for every 5 job interviews, you may finally get a job. So doing the math, after 50-100 job applications, you may get a job. Like I said, it is a numbers game and this is normal. Once you realize that it is normal, you won't get discouraged.
Under-qualified - NOT! - My father used to work as the manager of HR for a large oil company. When they put up job postings, they asked for the sun, moon and stars for two reasons: to weed out applicants and to hopefully get someone over qualified for less pay. If they didn't ask for every qualification possible they would get thousands of applicants. My advice to the graduating students is to apply to every job regardless of whether you feel you qualify or not. Let them disqualify you and not disqualify yourself. They may decide that with your background that you would be a better candidate then what they asked for!
Wrong Person for the Right Job? - Maybe you are not the right person for the job but you may be the right person for the next position they are thinking of hiring. Regardless if you are the wrong person for the job, they will keep your resume on file. If they can hire someone without paying for advertising, they will save money. That's why it is important to get your resume out there. It will open doors.
Cold Calling - Cold calling is making a phone call to a company and speaking to the IT manager whom you've never met. This is scary for most people but if you think of it as a game then it is not so bad. You will find that it may take up to 7 calls or contacts at a company before you end up talking to the right person. Think of it as a game to get past the receptionist as her job is to filter out job seekers like yourself. Never ever say that you are looking for a job - that is the kiss of death. Say "I'm looking for more information on the industry and want to discuss with your manager, the opportunities that exist in this field.". Or something that you feel comfortable in saying. No, you are not lying, you are telling the absolute truth.
Opportunity Knocking? - Once you get past the receptionist and are talking to the right person, you can discuss the industry, your situation and you can ask them if they are expanding or looking to hire someone. Again, NEVER ever say that you are looking for work. If they are looking to hire someone - ask if you can send in a resume. There is a subtle difference but EXTREMELY important.
Word of Mouth - If they are not looking to hire someone, ask them if they know of another company or someone who is looking at hiring someone. Ask if you can send in your resume for their opinion anyways. Don't forget to thank them! Most jobs are found through word of mouth, so people in the industry know of the jobs that are available. Ask the person if it is okay to use their name to state where they got the referral from. Always get names and numbers. This is detective work here!
Follow-up Call - Keep track of who you've called and when. After a week or two, check back with them to see if they've received your resume and if they had a chance to review it. Don't be a pest! Be polite and if they've haven't read it - it's okay. In sales, it takes numerous contacts before a person will remember who you are. To the prospective employer, you are just another ghost on the phone until you can do something to make yourself stand-out in a positive way.
The Job Hunting Process - the next page discusses the job hunting process that you will go through once you've found a potential job:
Go to the Job Hunting Process webpage.