Living in a New City and doing the dreaded job search

Continuing my story after driving across the country, I finally arrived in Boston to a new apartment just outside the city. First priority on the agenda: Find a job. It was tough economic times and jobs were incredibly scarce. I was fresh out of college and I needed an entry level position, but I had just enough experience to maybe put me ahead of some other applicants…so I thought. Along the way, I definitely learned some valuable lessons about how to go about the whole job searching process, and I have to say that all those seminars and whatnot I took about it in college didn’t help me a bit. Here’s how I went about it.

First, don’t underestimate the power of craigslist. A lot of serious employers post their ads to this site, usually the duplicates of ads they have posted on their internal or external job sites. It’s nice because craigslist breaks down their ads by category, so it is an easier way to find a concise list of all jobs related to your area of interest. I tried Monster, Boston.com, and all those large sites, but Craigslist was by far the most helpful. That being said, the most valuable part about craigslist is not the job ad itself, but the places to go to for more job searching. For example, I was led to job postings of certain universities or institutes on who’s websites I could do other job searches to find jobs only posted on those sites.

Next, persistence and personalization counts. Highlight certain skills in your resume the job posting says it’s looking for. Also, pay attention to the wording. If the job asks you to submit a Resume, keep it to one page with highlighted sections of specific skills and the most recent and most relevant job experience that pertains. If the ad asks you to submit a CV, two pages is ok, and it’s usual to include references, publications/presentations, and professional affiliations. It helps if you also specifically highlight the skills the ad requires in your cover letter, which is usually what gets read first, so see if the resume is worth reading. Key words is an easy way to pass initial muster, especially since it is impossible, at times, to know whether your cover letter is being scanned electronically or individually. If the company is large, the chances your resume is being read by computer first is high. In regards to persistence, it counts to keep trying to get in contact. It has happened to me more than once that I find a job that is seemingly perfect for my qualifications, but by the time I apply the position has been filled. If you are contacted by the HR of some company with these words, don’t give up. Reply and thank them for getting back to you, express excitement in the company, and ask them to let you know if anything similar comes along. In my case, I got a response within a day for a job that I could apply to before it got posted to the masses! Just getting an interview is an achievement, so be proud, and good luck!

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