November 03, 2009

(Editor's note: From the fall 2009 edition of Bucknell Magazine.)

In a challenging economy, every job seeker is looking to get ahead of the competition. Finding a
job in today's economy takes dedication, focus and persistence. Consider the following tips from
Bucknell's Career Development Center (CDC):

  • STEP OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE. Avoid limiting your search to your current industry or field. Identify your transferable skills and experiences, and communicate them to prospective employers.
  • MINIMIZE WORK HISTORY GAPS. If you are unable to find a position right away, consider temporary assignments, internships and part-time opportunities, all of which could lead to a full-time role.
  • BE FLEXIBLE. Remain open to all possibilities, even if the job title, location, salary and/or benefits may not be exactly what you wanted. With a foot in the door, you will have a chance to prove yourself.
  • FIND JOBS BEFORE THEY'RE ADVERTISED. Read business journals and newspapers to identify companies that are hiring or expanding. Get in touch before everyone else does.
  • LOOK BEYOND JOB BOARDS. General job boards can be useful, but don't forget industry and trade association websites, which may have more targeted career opportunities.
  • NETWORK. Online and off. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job,whether in person or by using professional networking websites. Take advantage of meeting and interacting with professionals in your fields of interest, find out who is hiring, and ask, when appropriate, for referrals.
  • MANAGE YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT. Potential employers can find information about you on blogs, personal websites and personal networking site profiles. Make sure you do a thorough "self-search" and amend where necessary.
  • CUSTOMIZE. Tailor your resume and cover letter for each opportunity. Be sure it shows you have done research on the company. Employers want to see why you're the right person for the job.
  • ENHANCE YOUR MARKETABILITY. Find out what skills are most in-demand and take steps to give yourself an edge in these areas. Be prepared to define the many ways your past and present experiences are an asset to the targeted employer.
  • FOLLOW UP. Keep in contact with the employers and individuals in your network regularly. Contact employers by phone approximately two weeks after submitting your résumé to ensure that your documents were received, ask questions, and reiterate your interest in the organization. Always write thank you notes after informational interviews, networking leads and interviews.

For more information, contact the CDC at 570-577-1238, cdc@bucknell.edu or Alumni Career Services. Or go to B-Link, www.b-link.bucknell.edu, and click on "Career Center."

Contact: Division of Communications

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