It’s true what they say: Looking for a job is a job itself. Unfortunately, it doesn’t pay anything, and the health insurance plan (e.g. don’t get sick) leaves a lot to be desired. Considering everything that goes into it – from creating a resume to preparing for the interview – it’s not an easy one. In fact, starting your language job search can be downright overwhelming particularly if it’s your first job search and you’re starting from square one.
The secret is to take it one step at a time. Use this step-by-step guide to break down some of the work that goes into your language job search.
Create a resume
Creating a resume is particularly difficult when you’re just out of school and have little to no “real world” work experience; however, you may have more experience than you realise. In addition to internships, consider any volunteer work you’ve done or leadership positions you held as part of a campus organisation. Try these tips for creating your first resume.
Build your professional network
There’s some truth to the cliché, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” After all, referrals are one of the top ways in which people find jobs ; This is why building your professional network is both necessary and rewarding. While the idea of networking may sound forced and painful, it doesn’t have to be. Make sure you connect with expat communities, attend meet ups and reconnect with people from your language school… There are plenty of ways to start building your own professional network. Make sure you talk to the people you are meeting up with and remember these professionals.
Check the job boards
One of the fastest ways to learn about available jobs is by conducting a search on online job board like Toplanguagejobs.com. Not only can you search for jobs by job title, company or location and languages (German jobs, Dutch jobs, French jobs, Danish jobs…), but you can also upload your resume so that employers and recruiters who are searching the site for candidates can easily find you.
Cover your bases with a cover letter
According to a CareerBuilder survey, 61 percent of hiring managers say they pay more attention to resumes that are accompanied by cover letters. Including a cover letter gives you a chance to introduce yourself personally to the hiring manager, and explain why you think you’d be a great fit for the company and position. Keep your letter short and sweet – no more than three paragraphs. Also make sure you tailor it to the specific position for which you are applying. Hiring managers can smell a generic cover letter a mile away, so keep this in mind.
Create job alerts
Almost any online job search site now allows you to create job alerts. Job alerts will save you a ton of time by finding jobs that match your skills and interests FOR you. Simply type in your desired criteria (job title and/or company name) and specify how frequently you want to receive alerts to start receiving regular, recommended job postings. Feel free to create job alerts on multiple sites to widen your reach. (You can always unsubscribe later.)
Get social media-savvy
When starting your language job search, Social media can work for or against your job search. First, it’s important to know that more than half of employers look up candidates on social media. Got anything on your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page you wouldn’t want employers to see? Take it down or change your privacy settings to ensure only those you want viewing your profile can do so. Second, a lot of companies use social media to advertise open positions and recruit new employees. Start following companies you want to work for on social media. Not only is it a fast, easy way to learn about job opportunities, but it’s also a way to communicate, ask questions and learn more about working for the company.
Nail the interview
Got called in for an interview? Make sure you do your homework, dress appropriately, know how to answer the toughest questions, and try to avoid common interview faux pas that we will highlight in a next post.
Cut yourself some slack
Remember that finding a job takes time, patience and dedication. (And coffee. Lots of coffee.) It’s only natural that you may start to feel defeated. If that happens, it’s okay to take a break every once in a while to “recharge” – just don’t give up.