Q. I am a senior in college and will be graduating in May. Ideally, I would like to move south immediately after I graduate. Since I will be unavailable to interview until I graduate, is the best strategy to move and then seriously look for jobs?
A.Congratulations on your impending graduation! Looking for a job is not a quick process, and I encourage you to start your search immediately. I also encourage underclassmen to start their job search process early. Each year you can add to your skills and experience so that your resume shows related experience, and an employer sees a track record of responsibility.
Starting your search isn't all about the interview. Interviewing is like opening night at a play. For a great performance, plenty of work has to occur in advance, and now is the time for you to start the preparation. A great search starts with self assessment - what is it you have to offer? What are your skills, talents, values, and drivers? Take the time to identify all these areas and your primary motivators. Write them down - you will need these, and you'll be adding to them as you move forward in the process. You now need to develop your targets. Focus on the industry and function you would like and begin to research companies that might fit your values.
Because you want to move, you need to do the geographic research needed to see which companies are in your target location. The chamber of commerce for your target areas can help. Start looking at all the job boards and focus on the new location. Waiting until you get there is a delay you can do without.
Now is also the time to begin your network development. Have you created a LinkedIn profile? Develop your profile, and begin to create your world of connections. You can let these people know your geographic targets, and ask for leads and connections to the companies you are interested in finding out more about. You will also need to start talking to people from your target area or areas about who they know, and which companies they see as having opportunity for a new college graduate. Find information on salary ranges, cost of living - all sorts of things that will impact what you hope to get as an offer. Your alumni and career office may offer introductions for you.
Start communicating with these people prior to your move. You might want to let them know you'll be there for a week - maybe spring break, or Patriots Day weekend and ask to set up a meeting. If you have responded to job board ads, you can let them know the days you'll be there to let them know you are serious about the relocation. These conversations will all help you develop your interview skills,
If you have a friend with a local (to your hopeful new home) address, using that address can let hiring people know you have a commitment to the area, and there will be no relocation costs.
So start your job search now; be ready to travel, and learn all about what your new southern employer will want to see.
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