Tips for Grads: Doing Your Post-College Job Search the Right Way

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[Editor’s note: Following is a guest blog post by Jeff Doubek]

Job Fair

Congratulations soon-to-be college graduates. Now get to work!

I know you’ve already heard it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and finding a job is no exception. But having an organized job search is your key to success.

Before you begin your search, you must fully commit to the big three major courses of action: Where, How and When

1) Where you’ll search

Your first and most important step is to select a notebook that will become your dedicated job seeker’s bible. In it, you will record and track all of your daily leads, activities, ideas and conversations. By doing this, you will automatically become more organized than the majority of college grads who randomly jot, scribble and scramble their way through their job search.

Now here’s an important time saver  decide up front the key areas where you’ll perform your search. In your job seeker’s notebook, make a list of all the top career websites, job boards, employer websites and networking groups you can think of, and keep the list handy on a day-to-day basis for easy reference.

The list of online job resources is overwhelming, so task yourself with choosing 5-7 job sites that will connect you with your particular job field. To help get you started, here’s a good list of 20 websites:,2817,2342781,00.asp. You’ll save time and stay organized if you focus your search efforts through a handful of sites.

2) How you’ll contact them

Job searches are predominantly performed online these days, but you still need to plan how you’ll contact your prospective employers. This includes what resumes, cover letters, reference letters and other material you’ll need to present.

It’s crucial that you give a great first impression, so leave nothing unplanned during this stage.

Plan these tasks for organizing your contact steps:

  • Resume: These days, most job seekers have several different versions of their resumes for differing job titles. Have each version saved in computer files with easy-to-find names. Avoid any miscues by hiding or deleting resume drafts. Also, your resume files should be ready to go in several forms, including Word, text and PDF (employer preferences vary).
  • Cover letter: Like resumes, you’ll want to prepare a series of cover letters you can use as customizable templates. Make sure you file your cover letters with distinctive file names so you can use them without having to open each one.
  • References, work samples, other: Keep these filed with easy-to-find names. Computer files use very little space, so don’t be afraid to create them. Having a quick and easy path to the right information is what’s most important here.

Remember, timing is everything in finding a job. Quite often, the more organized job seeker gets hired first.

3) When you’ll search

I’ve often said that finding a job is a full time job. So having a set schedule for your job search activities is as good as punching a time clock when it comes to getting yourself motivated and on-task.

Each Sunday, plan a week’s worth of job search tasks, visits and communications. Create a schedule in your notebook that works around any existing classes or commitments you may have. Those with part-time or full-time jobs may need to fit their job search into odd hours—this is where detailed planning is crucial.

It’s time now to be proactive with your post-college job search. You must decide now that you will be the one who leaves the island first. And when (not if) it happens, it’s not going to be because of luck or random chance.

You’ll succeed in your first post-college job search because you did it the right way, with a rock-solid, well-organized plan.

 [photo by pennstatenews]

Jeff Doubek is the spokesperson for Day-Timer®, a trusted leader in time management delivering a wide variety of flexible solutions based on users’ ever-changing needs and lives. Day-Timer is part of the ACCO Brands family, which includes AT-A-GLANCE®, Five Star®, GBC®, Hilroy®, Kensington®, Marbig, Mead®, NOBO, Quartet®, Rexel, Swingline®, Tilibra®, Wilson Jones® and many others.

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