How to Job Search Like It’s Your Job
Published on Dec 11, 2020 by Abby Stassen
Heads up: The full-time work starts way before landing the full-time job. Looking for a dream opportunity requires hard work, commitment, and organization.
"Taking your job search as seriously as a real job is key," says Susan Pagan-Hilton, a Communications Team Lead in Full Sail's Career Development department. "Taking the time to make yourself more marketable is never a waste. The goal is to get hired."
Before you scroll through job listings, network with other professionals, or hit submit on that application, read these tips from Susan on how to conquer the job search.
Set a schedule.
"Experts say spending 20 hours a week applying for jobs is best," says Susan. "The other 20 hours are for networking, volunteering, researching the industry, polishing up your resume and portfolio, learning new skills, and improving your own well-being."
Set up a dedicated space at home that you'll use for the job hunt, and don't apply for jobs in your pajamas, especially in this era of virtual job interviews: "Putting yourself in a professional state of mind sends a message to the world and your subconscious," says Susan. "When an employer calls, your dress and readiness for work are conveyed over the phone."
Hold yourself accountable.
Susan recommends setting goals for how many resumes, emails, and phone calls to send out each day. This way, you'll be aiming for a set number, rather than getting distracted and falling down a rabbit hole of Instagram photos and YouTube videos.
Look in the right places.
"Each industry has its own professional job-search sites, so do your research and find those first," says Susan. "LinkedIn has its own job board, where you can search for jobs by location or keyword. Sign up for industry-focused groups on LinkedIn too. Headhunters often reach out to members of these groups."
And make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date. Employers are definitely checking this out, says Susan. Updating your professional online presence is crucial.
"Nothing could be more embarrassing than an employer calling you for an interview and you sheepishly asking them what the job is for," says Susan. "Create a simple spreadsheet or digital file to keep track of your search. There are also many free apps and widgets that can keep track for you too; just search online."
Whether you're attending events in person or logging into virtual meetups, networking is essential. Employers often hire someone they know or someone recommended by a colleague, so it's important to get your name and face out there. Join your industry's professional organizations (the American Advertising Organization or the International Game Developers Association, for example), and keep an eye on the virtual meetings offered on LinkedIn and Meetup.com. Set a goal to attend at least one networking event, online or in-person, per week — even if the thought of it sounds terrifying.
"Don't be afraid to reach out to people at virtual or in-person networking events," Susan says. "Act confident, be attentive, and ask what they do. Remember, they are there for the same reason you are. Here's a quick conversation starter: 'Hi my name is John, I'm a Graphic Designer based in Orlando. What brings you to this event?'"
Use your resources.
There's a gold mine of help right in front of you via Full Sail's Career Development department. The Career Development team helps students and grads with everything from writing cover letters to attending in-person and virtual networking events.