Say This, Not That

Making the Job Search Successful

Dear Ilana and Jess: I’m not a parent, but I am a college senior. I’ve done well over the last four years and expect to graduate cum laude in May. I want to start thinking seriously about my job prospects now. (I’m afraid that I’m probably already a little behind). Where should I be looking and how can I get hired ASAP after graduation? - Nora

Dear Nora: First, kudos and advanced congratulations. We love to hear from young adults (parents or not). Your instincts are correct: Now is the time to get serious about the job search. The best time to prepare for a career is well before you have one. More than just finding a job, you should be focused on landing a position that is relevant, interesting, and holds potential to become a career launchpad. Right now, this means using the job search to build habits and skills that will be necessary in your professional life.

First, know what you don’t know. When you can’t figure out how to begin, making a list of what you need to begin is a good way to start. For example, let’s say you don’t know how to find jobs in your area of choice. What you need, then, is more information about how to locate jobs in your field. Once you know what it is you need, you can take steps to get it. Following this example, you might schedule a meeting with the career center, visit your department chair during office hours, and/or speak with your advisor. Go through each item on your “needs list” until you have whatever’s necessary to take your next steps. Then repeat the process as needed. (No pun intended).

Treat the job search like its own part-time job. What do we mean by that? Simply put, approach it with the same vigor, consistency, and time commitment you would an actual job. Designate specific and routine days and times to job-search-related tasks. Be specific about the steps you’re taking, as well as your daily and weekly goals. For example, you might develop the goal of applying to four jobs in your field, per week. Keep in mind that you should apply this disciplined approach to any official or unofficial project that needs to get done. Just because something isn’t urgent - i.e. getting a job NOW - doesn’t mean it isn’t important. You’ll never have an infinite amount of time.

Get a LinkedIn account (if you don’t have one already). This is a simple step that can help you gain greater exposure and build some connections. The basic account is free and serves as an easy platform for finding employers/recruiters; and for them to find you. Make sure your account is professional and includes your most impressive, recent, and relevant experiences. It’s always best to include a professional photo of yourself, too. Sites like LinkedIn and Indeed can also be used to help you identify industry terms and buzzwords that will streamline your Google searches.

Use your connections. We’ve talked about this before, but it bears repeating: One of the best tools you can use in your job search is your existing network. Reach out to everyone you know and ask if they know anyone who works in your field or a related field. Don’t exclude people like friends and family, regardless of their profession(s). You never know who knows somebody that knows somebody. Plus, the closer the loved one, the more likely they are to think of you, and the more motivated they might be to help. We wish you the best of luck!

Say This: “I’ve got time every Monday and Wednesday afternoon to devote to the job search. For this week, I’m going to make a list of what I need to move forward, including information. Then I’m going to update my LinkedIn and reach out to at least 5 people who might be able to help me along.”

Not That: “I don’t even know where to begin.”

Say This, Not That is based on the work of Cognition Builders: a global, educational company headed by Ilana Kukoff (Founder & CEO) and Jessica Yuppa Huddy (Chief Learning Officer). Everywhere from New York City to California to Shanghai to Zurich, the Cognition Builders team is called upon by A-list entertainers, politicians, CEOs, and CFOs to resolve the conflicts that upend everyday life. When their work is done, the families they serve are stronger than ever. With their new book, Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter Kukoff and Yuppa Huddy have selected the most common conversational mistakes parents make, and fixed them. For more information, please visit: To purchase Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter visit:


More like Say This, Not That