Jen’s Job Hunt: Landing My Dream Job Part II: Searching & Applying

How to Find and Apply to Jobs After College

Hi babes!

After part I, you should be locked and loaded on your cover letter and resume skills. To continue, we now need to search for the perfect job! With the internet, we definitely have it easier than our parents. Although we have the speed of the internet on our side, sifting through the millions of job postings is still difficult. That’s why I’m here to tell you about my tips and tricks about searching and applying for jobs. This is exactly how I found my PR job and hopefully, you’ll find something you love doing as well!

Timeline

Every field is different and requires a different application timeline. I found that with PR, you don’t necessarily need to apply a year or 6 months in advance. Most companies will be looking to fill positions in April and August – when most people graduate.

I graduated this month in August and remembered that when I reached out to a company in April, they replied that they usually were looking for an immediate start. Unless you have been interning with the company through college, I wouldn’t bank on getting a job months before you graduate.

The company I applied to messaged me the same day that I submitted my resume on LinkedIn. Within a week, I secured my first interview and after 2 weeks of the interview process, I was hired.

Usually, a company will conduct a phone interview, followed by an in-person interview and have a decision for you in the following few days.

Search Tools

Finding Jobs

With the internet, finding a job is easier than ever. The following sites are my favorite for finding jobs in PR or Marketing. I chose to apply to a few marketing jobs just in case my PR ones fell through. Always have a backup plan.

Fashion & Beauty Related PR Jobs

PR Couture

Super niche fashion PR website. Amazing job openings for firms in New York and LA. Competition is stiff.

Velvet Jobs

This site has an incredible database of fashion and beauty jobs. It has openings for everything from makeup counter representatives to fashion designer positions at Alexander Wang. One drawback is that it requires a monthly subscription.

Places I got the Most Interviews Ranked From Most to Least

Zip Recruiter

The number of interviews I got back from this site was insane. The one-click apply option lets me apply to jobs with simply one click. Through that, they send the company your resume and Zip Recruiter account. Beware of companies that offer a base salary and then a commission. This most likely means they are looking for door-to-door salesmen. Always check out the company website and read the Glassdoor reviews so you don’t have to waste your time communicating with companies you know you would never want to work at.

Disclaimer: I was in full panic mode so I may or may not have sat down with a glass of wine and applied to over 40 jobs with the one-click option… 🙂

Indeed

Not the prettiest thing to look at, but it’s very effective. These jobs require the full application process of a cover letter and resume submission. They have a system to save your favorite jobs and to keep track of where you are in the application process.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is great because future employers can view your profile along with your resume. Nowadays, your LinkedIn profile is just as important as your resume. Be sure to keep all the information up to date and always check for spelling and grammar (shout out Grammarly). Also, make sure your picture is professional and well-lit. Look at your profile and ask yourself, “Would I hire me?”. Be brutally honest with yourself and fix anything that may cost you a job.

LinkedIn also offers the one-click apply option to jobs that allow it. Use this to maximize your options and save time.

Google Careers

This is basically an engine that combines all jobs from different job search sites into one. It’s not perfect, so I’d still recommend visiting the individual sites to find your dream job. On the plus side, it’s beautifully designed and presents all the info in an easy-to-read manner.

Tips

Job Search Spread Sheet

Make a Spreadsheet

Keeping all of your information organized is super important. This lets you know at a quick glance where you applied and what the details are. The picture above shows the categories I made for my job application spreadsheet. I realized that after a while, a lot of job openings made you apply through a portal. This way, I could quickly gather my login information and check on my status or respond to messages.

Another important thing to keep in mind is to follow-up. I had an Uber driver who was once an HR manager. He told me that honestly, a lot of the times recruiters forget about applicants due to the sheer number of people who apply. Setting a date to follow-up keeps you in the recruiter’s mind and shows initiative. To further help you remember, set an alert on your mobile calendar!

No More Red Cups

This is a complete no-brainer, but clean up your social media. We get it, it’s college and everyone wants to have a good time. You may think your photos represent “memories” but a future employer will look at it like “wow this girl will definitely show up hungover”.

  • Hide the red cups. This just screams “I LOVE TO FUCKING RAGE” and no one is trying to deal with your drunken escapades on a Monday when there are piles of work to get done.
  • Set that shit to private. Your employer may have background access through some job application system, but they also may not. Minimize the chances of your employer finding something that may turn them off about you. Your friends posting drunk memes on your timeline isn’t really the greatest representation of that you’re an “organized and responsible individual”.
  • This doesn’t mean that you have to hide all evidence that you’re a human being and like to have fun with your friends. Just keep it classy. Hide the red cups when you’re taking pics. Delete those pics of you chugging from a funnel. Cute pics of you and your girlfriends clinking wine glasses at dinner are fine. Pics of you with your eyes half-open with strobe lights in the background are a no-no.

Be Prompt

I’ll never forget my best friend’s mom telling me that the job search isn’t like dating. There’s no time to be coy. It’s a competition and you need to show your future employers that you’re hungry for the job.

  • It’s ok to respond right away. The waiting game is for the jobless. There is no courtesy to be had replying to emails every 3-4 hours. You need to let them know all of the information they want to know in the most prompt and concise manner.
  • Always say thank you. Thank your interviewer after the interview both verbally and in email form. Write a thank you card if you can get it to them the same day. Be prompt in your thanks.
  • Never. Ever. Be late for a meeting. Yes, there are forces out of your control such as flat tires, traffic and family emergencies. If you woke up 2 hours early and get caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic because a semi crashed across the whole 5 lanes of the highway, its ok to call the company and let them know what’s happening. Being late because you didn’t pick out your outfit the night before is no excuse.

Get Personal

Most employers want to know what kind of person you are out of the office. After all, you are only human. They want to know that you have interesting hobbies and want to gage what kind of worker you will be. They want to know that you can function outside of work and have great interpersonal skills.

  • Be ready to talk about your hobbies in the interview. I’ll be doing a whole post on the interview and acceptance process in Part II. Offer hobbies you have that in some way relate to the job. I applied to a lifestyle and travel PR firm so I said my hobbies were traveling and writing on my lifestyle blog. I wasn’t going to go in depth about my love for fashion and beauty because it wouldn’t add to how I can contribute to the company.
  • Shockingly, according to my old boss, numerous people applied to her company by submitting a generic cover letter. It’s cover letter 101 to cater the letter to the company you’re applying to. Use the first paragraph to write about how you’ve always had a passion for the field and think that this company is a great fit for both of you. If you’re applying to a fashion PR company that specializes in dressing celebrities, say something about your favorite celeb and how you would dress them and then tie in past experiences you’ve had. This will show the company you are passionate and have a great eye for the job.

Keep it Professional

The good thing about getting to know someone is that you get more comfortable with them. This can be a bad thing in the job searching process.

  • Don’t use lingo you use around your friends around a future employer. Keep the OMGs and yeas to a minimum or eliminate them completely. Keep it professional and don’t use weirdly complicated words just to try to sound intelligent. People can tell right about when you’re trying too hard and are uncomfortable. It’s like meeting the parents for the first time. Channel your inner angel-princess-Harvard grad-church going-professional self.
  • No one is ever going to dislike you for being too professional. Future employers want to see how you would act if they introduced you to their clients. If you feel that what you’re about to say or do is veering on the fence between comfortable and formal, always choose formal.
  • No abbreviations. Ever. Your future employer probably knows what LOL, OMG, and UF mean, but it shows that you don’t have an understanding of business etiquette if you use it. Write everything out and once again, don’t use lingo you use with your friends.

Make it Worth Your Time

Do as I say, not do as I do. When I went into full panic mode and applied to 40 jobs, I thought I was on top of the world. Yay to a job! I’m not going to be homeless! After I went to the third interview of a job I kindaaaaa wanted, I knew I needed to refocus.

  • Apply to jobs you really want. I went through a phase of “Oh I wouldn’t be miserable doing that”. Stop kidding yourself. You definitely would be miserable. Not every job you apply to will be your dream job, but make sure you can see yourself going to work every day and going home with a smile on your face. You’ll see what I mean after you interview with a company you don’t see yourself working at. You go through the motions and think the salary offer will be enticing, but if walking out of the place after you interview doesn’t make your heart pound in the best way, hoping that they’ll hire you it’s not the place for you.
  • Quality over quantity. I went a little one-click apply crazy, but I definitely don’t recommend it. All it does is take up your time and forces you to reply to people you don’t really want to be talking to. Pour all your energy into the job applications that will make you excited. Whether it be about the job tasks or salary, be sure you want it. Or else you’re just wasting both yours and the company’s time by setting up an interview.

Good Luck

Well, if you made it all the way down here, you’re definitely a trooper. Not everyone has to go into full panic mode like me to get a dream job. If anything, I recommend you prepare well in advance.

Part II will be about the Interview portion of the job application process so be on the lookout for that!

Remember: you are smart and capable. If I can do it, anyone can. Good luck babe!

P.S. ICYMI, here’s the link to Part I: Resume & Cover Letter.

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