Job Hunting 101: A Girl’s Guide to Grabbing a Great First Gig

Post-college job hunting is a nerve-racking experience. This is especially true for women who face bias in the workplace for no other reason than a missing Y chromosome. According to Fast Company, there is a “soft war” on women that wages just under the radar.

So, that begs the question, “How can a young, inexperienced woman get her foot in the door of the male-dominated world of business?” Read on for the answers.

Establish a presence on LinkedIn.

Millennial Branding founder Dan Schawbel says it’s never too early to start thinking about establishing your network. He suggests setting up a LinkedIn profile as early as your senior year in high school. While this may seem a little premature, including any jobs you’ve held shows employers that you have the potential for a strong work ethic in your 20s and beyond. Additionally, chances are your parents and friends’ parents have LinkedIn accounts, and can introduce you to pertinent contacts well before your degree is in hand.

Pay more attention to your blog than your Facebook account.

Barely 10 per cent of college students have a personal or professional website or blog. Failing to maintain an online presence early on can put you at a disadvantage. Even if you don’t have any professional experience to blog about, use your words to garner attention for yourself regarding a hobby or personal interest. A word to the wise, however: keep it G-rated, and don’t link to your personal social media accounts if they are anything less than perfectly polished.

Intern with a branded company.

Seeking an internship is an important step toward grabbing a coveted job. But, some internships hold more weight than others at hiring time. As with many things, brand names open doors, so look for opportunities at well-known companies; the earlier the better, as the best internships get snagged almost as soon as they are listed.

Find a mentor, but only if you’re willing to take their advice.

70 per cent of college students report having at least one mentor; about half of those claimed it was one or both of their parents. Others looked to their professors or employers when they needed professional guidance. Finding the right mentor can mean the difference between being prepared for a job and walking into a situation blindly. However, you must put your pride aside and take to heart their words of wisdom; your mentor is someone who has been in your shoes before and has a depth of experience you won’t have for decades to come.

Utilize your school’s career services office.

Your school’s career counselors may be your most direct path to a new career after graduation. However, an article published by Forbes reports that less than 30 per cent of students utilize this valuable resource. Many colleges and universities additionally have services that will connect you with school alumni who can share their experiences in the job market.

Join a face-to-face networking or professional development group.

By now, you may have figured out that one of the many keys to successfully finding your first job is networking. Aside from LinkedIn, there are hundreds of professional development and industry-related groups across the country. This is an unfortunately under-tapped resource, as less than one quarter of all college students belong to this type of organization. Groups such as the American Marketing Association are another valuable resource for women looking to establish connections and gain real-world experience in their chosen career.

Know your worth.

In your anticipation and excitement, don’t forget that you have put in at least four years prepping for your dream job. Make sure you’re being paid what you’re worth. Websites such as PayScale.com will help you figure out what kind of salary and benefits you can expect according to your experience and location.

Gloria Martinez

Womenled.org
g.martinez@womenled.org