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Advice for Job Seekers: How to Look for a Job

With your resume ready and your interview skills honed, now it’s time to figure out where to apply. It’s not easy finding a job in today’s economy, particularly in the upper echelons of the business world where there is so much competition. The good news is that holding an MBA can put you one step ahead in the job search process by giving you a key qualification that is highly sought after by employers and providing you with a vast network to tap for career possibilities. And CNN Money reported that MBA graduates entered a job market in 2011 that was more favorable than it had been in past years. Here we’ll explore some strategies and best practices for job hunting after graduate school.

Social Networking

The first step in your job search process should be to reach out to your social networks and let key contacts know that you are looking. Announcements on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are appropriate. This clears the way for your contacts to reach out to you with job leads. These people know you and can put in a good word for you, a beneficial way to begin distinguishing yourself from the rest of the applicant pool. Be specific about what you want when you post on your social networks. Describe the specific type of position you are seeking, rather than a generic ”I’m looking for a job—anyone know of anything?” Saying “I’m looking for a human resource manager’s position” is much more effective. Social networking is only the first step in the job search process.

Consult Your Alumni Network

The career center at your university is dedicated to helping MBA grads find work. In addition to providing resume building and interview preparation assistance, career center personnel can put you in touch with alumni so you can discover where other MBA graduates from your school found employment. Join your university’s alumni association. Fellow alumni are often more than willing to help one another out and point you in the direction of a good job. If alumni tell you there are no job openings at their places of employment, ask them for tips on how they landed their jobs and to keep you posted on any future leads.

Direct Networking

One of the best ways to find work is through a referral from a friend, colleague or former classmate. Ask the people you know who are connected to the industry you’re interested in about job openings at their companies. If they don’t have any pertinent information, ask them whether they would be willing to connect you with a few of their contacts who might. Contact your professors and ask them to put out feelers in the business world. Ask former classmates where they got jobs after earning their MBAs. Build relationships and make contacts through your professional associations.

Go to Job Boards of Your Preferred Companies

If you are interested in a particular industry, it’s important to research its major companies, organizations and businesses. Once you’ve identified the major players, you can select a few in your area and go to their websites to look for job openings. If you don’t see any listed, find the contact information for human resources and ask about any unlisted job openings. Look for employees of the company through LinkedIn and reach out to them about what it’s like to work there and whether there are any job openings.

Searching Online Job Boards and Newspapers

You should also look at online job boards. General job boards, such as Monster and CareerBuilder, can be a great starting point but don’t forget to include your state’s workforce commission or employment department job boards in your search. For instance, the Texas Workforce Commission site features a place for employers to post jobs. It’s also good to search industry-specific job boards. For instance, if you are looking for a position in information technology, sites such as JustTechJobs.com or TechCareers.com may be more useful than general sites. While you are looking for a job, you should consult online job boards every day for updates. Although they may seem archaic in this day and age, the classifieds in newspapers are yet another place to search for jobs. You can usually access newspapers for free at your local library.

Career Fairs

Contact your local chamber of commerce, workforce development department or the convention centers in your area to get information on job fairs that are coming through your city. These are great opportunities to connect with recruiters and get your resume distributed.