Career Services can help with job search

By Rick Clark

Finding a job is a job in itself. An effective job search requires that you identify the most effective strategies for your major, field and personal situation. An art major seeking a graphic design position, for example, would take a different approach than a nursing major seeking hospital employment, or a communication major looking to break into public relations. For that reason, we strongly suggest all students entering the “world of work” 815-753-1641 for assistance from one of Career Services’ highly qualified career counselors.

Regardless of your situation, there are five recommendations we can make in preparation for your job search.

First, get organized. Identify and research the industry and positions of interest to you. Make a plan and keep records of your job-search related activities. Record all the correspondence you send or plan on sending. With the help of a Career Services counselor, tailor your resume and cover letter for specific positions and engage in practice interviews.

Second, take numerous approaches. Using all the resources at your avail increases your chances of getting interviewed and hired. Too many students rely on a single job search strategy (e.g., or newspaper ads). A Career Services counselor will provide information about numerous approaches, including NIU’s Victor eRecruiting, (for Internships), applying directly to employers, on-line and in-person applications, job search Web sites, job fairs, temporary agencies, professional associations, classified ads – and the most effective job search strategy – networking.

Third, be proactive. Many, many jobs are never advertised on the Web, in newspapers or in campus recruiting services. In addition to responding to advertised positions, be proactive by making your interest and availability known to companies and agencies of interest to you – whether or not you have found a job posting.

Fourth, know yourself and sell yourself. You must be able to identify those qualities, attributes and experiences that prospective employers seek. If you don’t know yourself and what you have to offer an employer, you won’t be able to make a compelling argument for being hired! A Career Services counselor can help you identify and articulate your unique “selling points.”

Finally, know your prospective employer. The Internet has made it easier than ever for job seekers to learn about prospective employers. It may come as a surprise, but the No. 1 interview shortcoming identified by recruiters is insufficient company knowledge on the part of candidates. Conducting effective research gives job seekers a decided edge over the competition when applying for a position. The more information you have about potential employers, the better prepared you will be to demonstrate your knowledge in a letter or at a job fair or interview.

Keep an eye out for future articles on career preparation and job search issues. And schedule an appointment with a Career Services counselor today.

Columns reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the Northern Star staff.