I made a promise to myself that once February rolled around I would seriously start the whole job hunting process. Well, February 1 came and went, and I found myself staring blankly at  an empty word document labeled “Résumé 2017” with a WikiHow article instructing me how to write a cover letter. I had no idea where to start, and admittedly, was extremely intimidated by the entire world of résumés and LinkedIn and networking and Indeed.com. So, I did what any other 23 year budding adult would do: call my mom and complain.

“Mom, I literally have no idea how to do any of this,” I cried into the phone.

“Why don’t you just go to the career development center and ask them for help?” My mom suggested.

Typical mom. Always paying attention to underutilized campus resources that are available right at your fingertips.

I called the lovely people at Gannon University’s Career Exploration Development Center (814-871-7680) and scheduled an appointment with Tim Wince (wince001), a career and  résumé wizard. He gave me some wonderful tips on how to navigate the world of job hunting.

  1. Utilize GU’s College Central Network portal.

First step is immediately activate your account on College Central. If you’re a Gannon student, you’re already registered on the site and can sign on using your GU user ID. This site is THE place where recruiters post job listings, sometimes exclusively for Gannon students or alumni. Once you upload your résumé, you can view relevant job postings on your dashboard and apply almost immediately! It’s simply awesome. There’s also sections that discuss career guidance and even podcasts. Definitely something you need to utilize as a past or present student of Gannon University!

2. Make an Appointment with the Career Exploration and Development Center.

If you’re struggling with building your résumé , writing a cover letter, or nailing a job interview, make an appointment with one of the career counselors ASAP. This is about as close as you can get to having someone physically hold your hand and guide you through the job searching process. They can give you insider scoop on buzzwords to sprinkle through your résumé , help you create a LinkedIn profile, and coach you on how to eloquently answer interview questions, figure out an application timeline, even forward you job openings. I had a very positive experience working with Tim at the career center. He helped me format my  résumé so it’s basically now a frame-able piece of art. The entirety of the staff is focused on helping you be successful in your future–their job is to help you find a job! If you can only do ONE thing on this list–make it to contact the Career Exploration and Development Center!

3. Figure Out Location

You got your slammin’ résumé, you have  a resource available to find jobs, now you have to figure out where and what type of job you want to work. If you’re attending school out of state, do you want to work in your home state or your school state? Do you want to move far way away from home? Are you planning on living with your parents for a few years to save some money? Additionally, do you want to work part-time, full-time, or as needed? Any particular areas of practice you want to work in? Now is the time to have these tough conversations with yourself, your friends, and your family. Reward yourself with a nap later!

4. Reach out for Recommendations

Ugh, networking. Even simply typing the word fills me with dread. However, networking is a necessary evil if you want to jump start your career. Chances are, you’ve discovered some mentors, role models, or some other influential persons that have helped you throughout your time in school. It could be a faculty member, boss, instructor, whatever. Now is the time to swallow your pride, pop by their office or jot them an email, and ask them if they would mind writing you a letter of recommendation. Usually they’d be more than happy to, presuming you had a great rapport with them. Some employers mandate a letter of recommendation, so it’s a good idea to have some on deck in case of the event. Plus, reading how someone thinks you’re an outstanding person and a joy to work with is a great confidence boost, especially when you need a quick jolt of warm fuzzies after receiving your first rejection letter.

5. Beef Up your LinkedIn

Speaking of networking, LinkedIn is an amazing resource to do just that! Like the version of Facebook that has its life together, LinkedIn lets you connect with people, businesses, alumni, or coworkers and promote yourself in a professional manner. All of this can help you find an “in” to your dream job. Say your cousin works at ABC Hospital. You add her on LinkedIn, and message her saying you’re looking for employment at ABC Hospital. She uses her connections on LinkedIn and has a higher-up view your profile (complete with a glowing résumé , professional head shot, and list of skills). And just like that, you have a connection! Definitely take a good chunk of time to make your profile as unique, but professional as possible. In this age of technology, LinkedIn is a valuable resource!

Well, my friends, there you have it: A few baby steps to help you spread your wings. I wish you the best of luck out there. I’m hoping you all have a super résumé, find your dream job, and get to call your mom to share the good news.