It’s great to be moving on, but if you haven’t landed the job you would consider ideal for your first post-graduation employment, or if you didn’t take advantage of the UCLA career services available to students, you could be concerned about leaving. Don’t worry, UCLA offers valuable support. Take these four basic steps to market yourself and get that job soon after you leave campus:
Your résumé should represent the best of all that you have to offer. Think carefully about your accomplishments in the past four years. Do you have a lot of positive energy? Do you possess strong interpersonal skills or the ability to handle high-pressure situations well? What competencies have you gained from your internships, special research projects or campus activities? Prioritize and organize your experience and skills. Research how you would like your résumé to look. Do you want to represent yourself in a chronological way, from a functional perspective or a combination of the two? Check out the free, downloadable UCLA Career Guide. It includes a lot of great information including a list of sample action words that can translate your skills into language that employers will appreciate.
A customized cover letter for each job application is just as important as your résumé because it highlights and summarizes the core reasons why each particular organization you pursue should hire you. Make sure that you do your research on every company you pursue and its explicit needs. Address your cover letter to a specific individual or direct it to the title provided in each job posting. Show the readers how you will contribute to their individual organizations and why you stand out above the rest of the competition.
Utilize every avenue at your disposal, like attending campus career fairs, online job searching, your personal network (family, friends and faculty) and professional association memberships. Don’t underestimate the role UCLA can play in launching your job search – along with the vast network of contacts you have developed, the UCLA Career Center’s Handshake will provide instant access to thousands of employment leads.
If you’ve followed career counseling advice about how to write a knock-’em-dead résumé and cover letter, then you’ll look great on paper. What about in person? Do you know enough about the company or organization to answer intelligently “If you had this position, what would you do …” questions? It’s vital that you anticipate interview situations now and be prepared to respond confidently.
Build your confidence by pursuing these four fundamental steps, and you will be equipped to present yourself as a proud and professional UCLA graduate, with valuable talents to contribute to the right organization.