How to Job Search Like It’s Your Job

Heads up: The full-time work starts way before landing the full-time job. Looking for a dream opportunity requires hard work, commitment, and organization.

“Taking your job search as serious as a real job is key,” says Susan Pagan-Hilton, an industry outreach representative in Full Sail’s Career Development department. “Taking the time to make yourself more marketable is never a waste. The goal is to get hired.”

Before you scroll through job listings, network with others professionals, or hit submit on that application, read these tips from Susan on how to conquer the job search.

Set a schedule.

“Experts say spending 20 hours week applying for jobs is best,” says Pagan-Hilton. “The other 20 hours are for networking, volunteering, researching the industry, polishing up your resume/portfolio, learning new skills, and improving your own well-being.”

Set up a desk at home to dedicate to the job hunt, or go to a coffee shop and work from there. Don’t apply for jobs in your pajamas: “Putting yourself in a professional state of mind sends a message to the world and your own self-conscious,” says Pagan-Hilton. “When an employer calls, your dress and readiness for work are conveyed over the phone.”

Hold yourself accountable.

Pagan-Hilton recommends setting goals for how many resumes, emails, and phone calls to send out each day. This way, you’ll be aiming for a set number, rather than getting distracted and falling down a rabbit hole of Facebook posts and YouTube videos.

Look in the right places.

“Each industry has its own professional job-search sites, so do your research and find those first,” says Pagan-Hilton. “LinkedIn has its own job board, where you can search for jobs by location or keyword. Sign up for industry-focused groups on LinkedIn too. Headhunters often reach out to members of these groups.”

And make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date. Employers are definitely checking this out, says Pagan-Hilton. Updating your professional online presence is crucial.

Stay organized.

“Nothing could be more embarrassing than an employer calling you for an interview and you sheepishly asking them what the job is for,” says Pagan-Hilton. “Create a simple spreadsheet or digital file to keep track of your search. There are also many free apps and widgets that can keep track for you too; just search online.”

Get offline.

While it’s likely you’ll be emailing resumes and applying for jobs online, in-person networking is essential. Employers often hire someone they know or someone recommended by a colleague, so it’s important to get your name and face out there. Join your industry’s professional organizations (the American Advertising Organization or the International Game Developers Association, for example), and set a goal to attend at least one networking event per week – even if the thought of it sounds terrifying.

“Don’t be afraid to approach people at networking events,” says Pagan-Hilton. “Act confident, be attentive, and ask what they do. Remember, they are there for the same reason you are. Here’s a quick conversation starter: ‘Hi my name is John, I’m a Graphic Designer based here in Orlando. What brings you to this event?’”

Use your resources.

There’s a gold mine of help right in front of you via Full Sail’s Career Development department. The Career Development team helps students and grads with everything from writing cover letters to attending networking events across the country.

“Full Sail has its own online job-search portal called CareerSync,” says Pagan-Hilton. “It connects you to jobs, hiring events, resumes, and the Career Development department. All students receive an invite to join three months before they graduate.”