By Mitchell Friedman, Associate Dean of Career Development and Student Affairs
I've observed a tendency among job seekers (including graduate students looking for full-time employment as well as internships) to rely on the Internet too heavily in their efforts—to the detriment of their overall process. It's a trap I’ve fallen into myself in searching for work more than once in my career.
Consider the appeal: you sit comfortably at your desk, a computer screen filled with listings for jobs that you’ve identified by visiting any or all of the sites included on this page. A few clicks later, after customizing your cover letter and resume to meet the specific requirements for each position, you've applied for several opportunities. And on it goes until you've exhausted all available options for that day. Satisfaction soon sets in, as you can rest comfortably believing that you've exerted maximum effort in your internship/job search that day.
Nothing can be further from the truth. Searching for a job in normal times is tough; in this uncertain economy, the process is even more difficult. If you really want an internship/job, you must be willing to use a variety of tools to identify appropriate opportunities. That means you must go beyond your comfort zone, get away from your desk and the computer, connect with others in your network, meet strangers, and engage in meaningful conversations to learn about the work of specific organizations and to discuss your relevant interests and experience.
Do people get jobs by applying for positions listed on job sites? Absolutely. Should you continue to peruse such listings, and apply for appropriate opportunities? Definitely. Should you limit the time you spend on such efforts? Yes! Yes! Yes!
The bottom line is that the people in your network hold the key in helping you to connect with people who work at organizations that interest you. Spend most of your time reaching out to them, seek introductions, and schedule conversations with people in a position to help you. I guarantee that this approach will better serve your short and long-term professional goals than simply applying for open positions online ever could.
Need guidance or support in this outreach effort? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time to talk.
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