Ahhh…the job market. Something many of us long to avoid. But no matter how hard we fight it, the real world is currently kicking and will continue to kick us in the ass until we’ve joined its ranks. For those of you who have already squared away jobs for the coming year(s)…Congratulations!! But, seriously, this post is not for you…so stop reading now.
For those of you who are still looking, haven’t even started looking, are hiding under your bed so you don’t have to look, or have left the country thinking a year of traveling always looks good on a resume…this post is for you.
First, it’s NOT you; it’s the market (unless you really are hiding under your bed doing absolutely nothing productive for your future). Job seekers are currently flooding the market with what employers are calling “casual applications.” Because there are so many easy ways to blanket your resume out to every position that looks appealing, employers are amassing way more applications than usual and it’s getting increasingly difficult to attract attention to your package (ahem).
So, this post is going to provide links to incredibly useful sites for job searching, but it’s not always enough to just apply to every position that seems appealing on these sites. Call the places a week or so after submitting your application and follow up to see if they’ve looked at it yet. See if you can stop by for an informational interview with someone so they recognize your name and begin to see that you are genuinely interested in the field. Send a thank-you note or e-mail after any interview, informational or otherwise.
In other words, find creative ways to shine your beautiful little recently-graduated MAPH selves in the face of every employer you want to work for!
And now, some incredibly wise words and tips from some fellow MAPH graduates who are currently holding jobs in their own apartments looking for jobs:
“I troll Chicago Career Connection (it’s through CAPS) like a fiend. It’s way good because you can specify your level of experience so I can get jobs that are Full Time Entry Level instead of ones that require years and years of experience.”
“As far as websites go, Indeed.com is great. You can specify the genre of job that you are looking for and sign up for their daily alert, and it will send you all the job postings in the geographical area you’ve specified that relate to that field. On average I’ve been getting around 4-6 a day, sometimes more, sometimes less.”
“My old boss also gave me a helpful tip: in your cover letter, say how your personal responsibilities benefited the company…basically, give the material values of your work. You can do this even if there are none—you can say things like, ‘my work resulted in a more efficient office workspace’ or something.”
Some useful sites on writing cover letters: https://caps.uchicago.edu/resourcecenter/handouts/Cover%20Letters%20for%20Grad%20Students-2010%20rev.pdf
“I keep my resume as brief and neat as possible because employers only spend like 10 seconds scanning your resume, and if they can’t read it fast, they won’t read it at all. Using active, assertive verbs on your resume makes you sound confident and concise.”
Some useful sites on effective resume writing and formatting: https://caps.uchicago.edu/resourcecenter/handouts/Resumes%20for%20Graduate%20Students-2010%20rev.pdf
More links to job-hunting websites that cater to more specialized fields:
Chicago Artists’ Resource—This website has a ton of great postings for jobs related to the arts (music, dance, theater, writing, food, etc.). In fact, just yesterday, they posted an opening for a Chicago Chocolate Tours Tourguide…which basically sounds like the most perfect job. Ever.
Media Bistro—This site caters to “media professionals” and has a bunch of posts for really creative writing, marketing, and artistic positions at various fun-looking companies (everything from local magazine and television offices to nation-wide retail companies and publishing firms). They also have a Freelance Marketplace, which is a phenomenal resource that allows you to post a freelance profile (for a small fee) that companies with assignments can then view and contact you through.
Administrative Jobs.com—This website is useful if you’re looking to jumpstart a career in business administration or, more likely, are looking for a placeholder entry-level job. You can make money doing something that exponentially increases your transferrable skills while you continue to look for jobs in the fields you really want to be in…hooray!
And, one final note…CAPS is open all summer long! The counselors are around for you to call and schedule meetings and are (I’m sure) eager to help with any job search-related questions. Also, Ben, A-J, and I (and, of course, Hilary and Maren) are around the office during the summer, so feel free to pick our brains about other useful sites and tips. Happy searching!!