I graduated from college in the middle of a recession, and jobs were scarce. But even in the best of times, competition can be fierce. That’s why no matter what the market is like where you live, it’s important to be strategic about a job search.
Manage your brand. Google yourself to see how the world perceives your brand, because prospective employers certainly will (and remember you only have one brand; there is no personal and professional version). Managers want to know if your online brand matches their company culture and the image they want to project. To communicators who often act as the voice of an organization, brand alignment is incredibly important.
Know that intangibles can be everything. If you’ve gotten an interview, you probably meet the baseline qualifications for the job. That’s the easy part. Now you must stand out. As a communications grad, you know the difference between telling and showing, so apply it. Don’t just discuss the creativity or leadership you have demonstrated in your internships; use examples to show it.
Trust your instincts. It’s normal to feel pressure to get a job, but taking one simply for the salary probably won’t lead to someplace positive. Like individuals, organizations have flaws — be they in management structure, financial standing or even public perception. I once took a job and knew it was a bad fit in the first week. I stayed seven months. Had I been able to Google this organization, I could have found things that hinted at management styles, like the fact that the company had a “survivors group” for former employees!
Prepare for a career, not just a job. One of the most important things that I have learned is that no job lasts forever. When considering a job, think about how that position or organization can help you build a career. That way, even if the job turns out to be a short-term situation, you’ll likely have gained training or experience that can position you well for the next step.