iMedia Job Search Timeline

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:

September

  • 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.

October

  • 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.

November

  • 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.

December

  • Use this time to do as many info interviews as you can – connect with professionals!
  • Secure spring internship

January

  • This is “fly-in” time, so make sure you are producing strong work to add to your final portfolio and resume.

February

  • Start internship and do a great job! Network with those you are working with.
  • Continue networking/doing informational interviews.

March

  • 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).

April

  • Apply to jobs!
  • Attend and showcase your work at  the iMedia Conference (over 20 media employers will be attending!).
  • Network!

May

  • Graduation!
  • 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.

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