By Mackenzie Burns, Contributing Writer
College student? Graduating soon? Job searching? You need to start now instead of procrastinating, like working on that quiz you’re supposed to be finishing, but instead, you’re reading this article. Job searching can be stressful, but ultimately rewarding.
A key factor while job searching is to keep your head up and persevere. Do not be stuck on your dream job when searching; instead, be open to all possible opportunities.
Secondly, check new jobs postings often. The best time to apply to a job is within the first 48 hours after it’s posted. Another way to check job postings is to follow a prospective employer’s social media feeds to see if they plan on hiring soon.
Third, use your alumni network. Learn more about your industry or a company by following in your alumni online database to find contact information.
Fourth, keep up with industry news. Even though you don’t have a job yet, you must stay on top of what’s going on in your field. Read trade publications and industry journals, join professional social media groups and follow social media feeds of companies and industry influencers.
Last, prepare for an interview before you get the call. Prepare to answer common interview questions, you can find lists online, and spend the time to develop your answers.
Meredith Garner, a 2017 West Liberty graduate, started job searching halfway through her last semester at West Liberty University but began a more detailed search two weeks after she graduated. Garner graduated with a bachelor degree in public relations with a minor in advertising.
“It was a long process, but I’m thankful for the ups and downs that came with finding a decent first job,” Garner said. Currently, she is a Disney College Program Intern, learning the fundamentals of what it takes to work for Walt Disney Company.
Her roles focus on creating and keeping exceptional guest experience and happiness for those visiting the parks and while she is not doing public relations work at the moment, she is working towards it.
Meredith is a Character Performer, but due to an injury, she is currently working as a Park Greeter at Hollywood Studios. All of her interviews and internships helped prepare her for her dream job at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. She had an internship experience with WVU Creative Arts Center, Connect-Bridgeport, WV Black Bears, West Liberty University, and The Franklin Foundation before her current position.
Networking while in college will help you build relationships with those who will get you to where you want to go. Creating these connections can really benefit big post-graduate opportunities. These people are rooting for you and are willing to help you with career guidance, industry insight, or internship leads because chances are at some point, they were in the same position you are right now.
“I have been networking with multiple Disney professionals in various departments to learn about their journeys with the company,” Garner said. She plans to work her way up to the Communications/Corporate side of WDW by taking part in a Professional Internship (PI).
Faced with the unique challenge to put your education to good use, it is not uncommon to have little or no work experience to include on your resume. This can make it a little more challenging when trying to stand out from the crowd.
There are several job sites that have created with matching entry-level career opportunities with qualified recent graduates. After College, College Recruiter, USAJobs, Bright, and Alumni Central are just a few.
The attitude that you possess while job searching can make or break you. Ensure to stay positive as best as you can because the right opportunity will come your way at the perfect time. Specifically setting your mind on one dream job isn’t going to take you very far in the professional field so remember to be realistic when job searching and keep an open mind; Garner applied five times to the Disney College Program before they finally offered her a spot.
Her advice to students who are job searching is, “Have faith, keep working hard, and continue to set up goals for yourself.”
Job searching can be a long and strenuous process or it can be quick and easy, a great job falling right into your lap.
Make sure to keep your head up and persevere even when times get tough, stay on top of updating your resume, frequently search for new jobs and apply within 48 hours of posting if possible, and always prepare for an interview before you get the call.
Garner was able to obtain an excellent networking opportunity by getting into the Disney College Program, which opens many doors for her to find job opportunities upon completion of the program. Not only does this program provide her with networking opportunities, but it allows her to put work experience on her resume, which most people lack when searching for a job.
Stay positive, have a good attitude, and stay on top of job postings and one may end up being perfect for you in the end.
Photo provided by Meredith Garner