By Ross Wade, Elon School of COM Career Guy
When is the best time to apply for jobs? As an iMedia student, what should I be doing job search wise my first semester? I don’t graduate for five months…is it too early to apply for jobs?
These are some of the questions I hear over and over again every fall from our iMedia students…and they are great questions!
Here is what I think…
In the “media world” a job is posted, and ideally the company would like to fill that position within a month or so. That being the case, it is a too early to be applying to specific jobs 5 months prior to graduation. My advice is to start applying for actual jobs about 2 months prior to graduation.
So…what should you be doing the 8 months before that? Great question!
The answer is…NETWORKING. Yes, I actually used the word…the word that causes blank stares and fear in many students. Let me drop some knowledge on ya. Only about 20% of people get jobs by applying to jobs online. 80% of people get jobs by who they know…networking. Later in the semester an iMedia alum will share his networking story…don’t fret.
So below is my iMedia job search timeline:
- Get adjusted to the program!
- Meet with me, your career counselor, to discuss possible career goals.
- Review your class projects and think of how you can link those projects to your career search. For example, if I had to write a research paper on interactive media and advertising, I would incorporate an interview into my paper with the interactive media director of my dream company (the place I would love to work post graduation)…this effort combines getting your school work done and networking.
- Start researching and reviewing jobs in interactive media to better acquaint yourself with the field and types of jobs available.
- Start researching companies where you would love to work, as well as professionals at those companies you can connect with to do informational interviews.
- Meet with me, your career counselor, to put together a strong resume and online presence (e.g. LinkedIn) and come up with your personal job search and networking strategy.
- Begin your informational interviews – they can be done over the phone, Skype or face to face.
- Keep researching jobs and companies.
- Start keeping a file of portfolio pieces (e.g. animations, print pieces) – these can be from school projects or things you have done on the side.
- Start thinking about where you’d like to intern in the spring.
- Use this time to do as many info interviews as you can – connect with professionals!
- Secure spring internship
- This is “fly-in” time, so make sure you are producing strong work to add to your final portfolio and resume.
- Start internship and do a great job! Network with those you are working with.
- Continue networking/doing informational interviews.
- Continue kicking some rear at your internship.
- Continue networking.
- Create your professional online presence (e.g. web portfolio/site, update social media platforms such as LinkedIn).
- Meet with me, your career counselor, to update and perfect your resume and review your portfolio.
- Start applying for some jobs (towards the end of March).
- Apply to jobs!
- Attend and showcase your work at the iMedia Conference (over 20 media employers will be attending!).
- Apply to jobs!
- Meet with me, your career counselor, if you are still seeking a job.
Whew! This is a doozie of a post, but I feel like it will be helpful to you…at least I hope so!
Finding a job is a full-time job, it is hard…but if done the right way, you will land a gig you love.