Column: 5 ways to find a job other than applying online

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 5, 2018

By Shelley Tyler Smith

Catawba College Director of Internships

The process for finding internships and jobs can be grueling. It is time-consuming and takes an immense amount of detail, and the wait to hear back from a potential employer can seem like a lifetime.

However, when you secure a quality position you will learn that it was well worth the hard work.

The following are five ways to find a job other than applying online.

• Step away from the computer. Not everything can be done on the internet. While applying online is easier, it is important that you learn the power of developing a solid network.

Research people in your area who are working in a field that interests you. Ask them if you can do an informational interview. While this is not an interview for an actual job, it will give you the chance to speak with someone in your field of interest.

There is no guarantee that a position may come from an informational interview, but it will assist you with developing a network and may afford you the opportunity to job-shadow or complete a short externship.

• Create your own position. Sometimes your dream position doesn’t exist yet.

A successful company may not have an internship program because it may not know it needs one. Send an email or try to connect with someone who works within the company. Ask if the company would be interested in hiring an intern.

Be sure to advise your contact about how you can contribute to the company and what you would like to do, and make a case to show how much your assistance will benefit the company in the long run.

• Take the road less traveled, Is there a restaurant or food truck you frequent? How about a small boutique, family-owned pharmacy or art gallery?

Get to know the owners and ask questions. Ask if they have jobs or internships and how you may be able to assist them with their needs. For assistance on how to do that, go back to Step 2.

• Be someone people want to hire. I know students get tired of hearing about the importance of having a clean social media presence. But it really is important.

“Venting” online about your professors, friends or any difficult situation tells an employer that you may do the same when faced with challenges at work. Make sure all of your pages are private (this still doesn’t make you undetectable), and then Google your name to ensure that you are represented in the best light.

• Utilize your resources. I recently met with a student who told me about her interest in interning in New York City. This student was hardworking, a go-getter and an excellent representation of Catawba College.

I have close friend who works for a large agency and introduced them. While I can’t guarantee a position will come out of the introduction, I was able to assist the student with expanding her network. Ask your professors for insight on where you should look for jobs.

While none of these opportunities guarantees a job, using this in addition to applying online can only increase your chances of being hired. Remember, there are jobs and opportunities all around us. Continue to work hard and present yourself in a professional manner, and the sky is the limit.

Shelley Tyler Smith, Catawba College’s director of internships, periodically creates blog posts to help students navigate their way while searching for internships and employment. This is an edited version of one such post.