Did you know that on the average students do online job searches for 5 to 7 months after earning their master’s degrees?
The one who gets the job is not always the one who can do the job best, but who knows best how to get the job!
Do you want to avoid wasting 5 to 7 months of online job search in your OPT? Then this article will give you the exact tools and techniques for students to help them in online job search in the U.S.
When students are planning to study in U.S., the first question that comes to his/her mind is, “Can I get a job after studying in a particular university?”
However, not many realize that online job search itself is a full time job. They realize this only after 2-3 months of their online job search had gone to waste.
There’s also the fear of recession in the U.S. economy, so students must be well prepared and give considerable efforts in their job search endeavors.
Though the above few lines might scare you, but the job search tips, techniques, strategies, etc. that will be discussed in this article will definitely ease your job search efforts.
This article is going to be a lengthy one. First of all, I would like give a few specific scenarios on how students usually search for jobs. The following examples are my own observations from my friends.
Job Search: Example 1
One of my friends didn’t really explore online job search and didn’t apply for any jobs until after graduation with his master’s. It took him 2 weeks after graduation to get his resumé drafted and formatted. So that’s a waste of 2 weeks OPT time.
Then it took another 2-3 weeks for him to really get into job a search mode, since after 2 years of college, he relaxed for 2 more weeks visiting friends and families in different States in the U.S.
Since there was no preparations done before, every student had to go through the learning curve for online job search.
So, as every student begins his online job search, he went to Monster.com, created an account, and uploaded his resumé using the search keyword “Software Engineer” with locations not specified.
It listed 1,000s of jobs and he applied to some 10 to 15 jobs randomly to different cities where his friends were working.
Around 2-3 weeks went by and there was no interview call, only the customary ‘Thank you for applying’ – no-reply emails. Majority of the students that do online jobs search are open to relocate to any locations within U.S.
Since that approach didn’t help much, he decided to get the list of Fortune 500 companies and started applying for jobs from Fortune Rank 1.
So he applied at some 400 companies and another 2-3 weeks went by and had a phone interview and there was no reply from the other HR department after the first round of phone screening.
As you can see, so far, 8 weeks had gone by and there was no interview calls, which means 8 weeks of time was wasted in the OPT period.
He got frustrated at the online job search process and decided to take a break for 1 week and went on a trip and was hoping to see some positive replies when he got back from vacation. There was none.
Now, it was time to get serious about job search. He started getting up early and working late nights to apply for jobs. This time, his online job search was not limited to Monster, he started using Yahoo Hotjobs, CareerBuilder, Dice, and local newspaper job postings.
But the keywords he used increased to entry “level software engineer, software quality assurance, software test engineer,” with location still not set.
So at the end of 3 months with just 1 interview call, he decided that an online job search approach was not working and something has to be done to get a job.
So his desperation to get a job increased as his part-time earned money got emptied and his 3 months of OPT time was wasted.
Let me stop here and say, he went to on to get a job after 5 months. But, how did he get the job, continue reading.
Job Search: Example 2
Another friend graduated with an M.S. in Computer Science and applied for OPT and was never really into job search. He applies for jobs only once in 2 weeks, and will just wait for the interview calls.
If none was made, he then applies to some companies again. In the meantime, he was working as a research assistant under a professor in OPT. So money was not a problem for him and it continued for about 8 months.
It was nearing the end of August so an H-1B application has to be filed before October 1st. But there was no lottery system nor was there any rush needed when applying for H-1B visa a couple of years ago.
Finally, by mid-September, he found a consultant who filed his H-1B visa and got a very low paying job with commission of 50-50. This means if the company pays the consultant $100 per hour, my friend will get only $50 as pay.
The consultant will take $50. Usually it’s 70/30, but if you are very desperate to get a job, that’s how consultant companies will exploit the job seekers.
Job Search: Example 3
Also, a student with an electrical engineering degree after his graduation with a master’s, without much interest in online job search, joined a consultant. He didn’t even thought of making any job search.
The consultant asked him to add 3 years of experience to his resumé, since he didn’t have any previous job experience. So he made his M.S. as part-time and stated that he had 3 years of software testing experience.
He attended interviews with a few companies and ended up getting a job. It’s actually illegal to do resumé fraud.
If he’s caught with incorrect details in resume, he will lose his job. But that’s what really is happening with consultants (majority).
Job Search: Example 4
I was chatting with my college junior who is currently 3 semesters into her master’s degree. She was applying for summer internship directly through the companies’ websites using a PDF format resume.
After 2 months she stopped applying for internships. And the reason was because no one was calling her for an interview. The big mistake she made was to use a PDF formatted resumé.
Companies’ career web pages usually have keyword filtering tools to help companies automatically shortlist resumés from thousands of applicants.
Keyword filtering tools work very well with ASCII formatted resumés and Word documents, but it wouldn’t parse very well in PDF files.
Questions for you:
Do you think you fall into any of the above 4 online job search examples?
Do you know anyone (friends) who belong to any of the above 4 examples?
Do you want to know what are the better and much efficient ways in online job search?
Let’s explore what possible ways are available, so the online job search process will be much more fun and tension free.
Again, online job search techniques I’m going to list here, involves time and effort. But the amount of effort you will have to put in will be rewarded.
LinkedIn.com: It’s time to network and build contacts:
There are many professional networking websites, but nothing beats Linkedin.com. I’m sure some of you will have heard about this or you might already have an account at LinkedIn, because someone had invited you to join.
If you still haven’t created an account with LinkedIn, go ahead and use your professional email ID to setup your profile.
How to create a LinkedIn Profile:
You can describe what competencies or technologies you are good at. There is no magic to get your profile 100% right the first time you log in at LinkedIn.
Visit the profiles of other students and professionals and see how they have presented their skills and experience. This way you can modify your entries accordingly. For instance, you can set the title as “Student at University of Texas”.
But make sure you try to fill in all possible information. It will be viewed by lots of professionals, employers, HRs, etc. throughout the world.
Make sure you try to add all the information from your resumé into the LinkedIn profile. It’s not necessary to include all your projects.
LinkedIn profile is set, next add contacts:
Now, you have set up your profile. Next, start inviting your friends to get a feel for how adding contacts works. It’s simple, fill in your friends name and email address and send an invite with default message.
Just let your friends know about this article and also about your invitation to join. LinkedIn has a very nice feature to list other friends from same college, schools, or work place. So this feature makes it easier to connect with friends.
After getting the “feel” of LinkedIn, start searching for people from companies. For example, you want to work for Cisco, you can do a simply search following these steps:
- Go to the People tab
- For Company, use Cisco
- Interested in: Hiring Manager
- Leave other options to default and hit Search.
It will list the hiring managers who are currently working in Cisco. So you just need to contact them and add them to your network.
But remember, you are going to contact hiring managers of companies, so you must be very professional in your emails. For more information, the following will be discussed:
- How to compose email to establish contacts
- Can I ask them in the first email, if they have job opening?
- How long should my email be?
- What should be the contents of my email?
- What if I don’t have any connections in my network to contact them, do I need to pay for a service?
- When do I need to start building my network?
To know the answers to the above questions and many other tips about job search, you can subscribe to my RSS feed or subscribe to email updates. Once I write about these job search tips, it will be delivered directly to your Inbox.