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How to Get a Job

Four Easy Steps

By Katharyn Jeffreys

Features Editor

Finding permanent or summer employment is often a difficult and confusing process, with hectic deadlines, stress-inducing interviews, and unfamiliar rules of etiquette. However, by becoming familiar with the recruiting schedule and process it is possible to land the perfect job with little effort.

1. Write a resumÉ

The first step is to compose a resumÉ. Many word processing programs, including Word and Framemaker, have resume templates. Searching on the Internet will yield both personal resumÉs posted online in addition to the many sites which describe how to write a resumÉ. The most important information to include is relevant professional and class experience. Large laboratory or research projects can be listed as experience as well, especially if teamwork and problem solving were involved.

Less important but still significant is a list of skills such as computer competence and foreign languages, as well as awards or honors. Finally, be sure to include contact information, including your phone number, street address, e-mail address, and web page URL.

ResumÉs traditionally open with a purpose or objective. This trend is increasingly becoming optional, as as the statement doesn’t do a good job in differentiating students.

The Career Services Center holds office hours daily from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The sessions last twenty minutes and can be used to go over resumÉs. Their website also contains a handbook with advice on how to write resumÉs, among other things. The URL is <http://web.mit.edu/career/www/handbook/>.

2. Write a cover letter

Often companies will require a cover letter along with a resumÉ. The letter should demonstrate an understanding of what the company does and why you would be an asset to it. Indicate how you heard about the company and that you are seeking an interview. This is a chance to stand out from the many resumÉs that the company is undoubtedly receiving, so be sure to emphasize why you stand out. As with resumÉs, resources are available online and the Career Services Center can review cover letters in advance.

3. Attend Career Week and the Career Fair

Career Week events are a good opportunity to learn more about the sponsoring companies, network and enjoy free food and entertainment. The week culminates with two days of the Career Fair, with Thursday’s aimed at graduate students and Friday’s targeted at undergraduates.

While walking around the career fair collecting free T-shirts and pens, be sure to take time to distribute resumÉs to companies of interest. Take the opportunity to talk to recruiters about their employers and jobs.

Most companies at the career fair conduct their interviews through Jobtrak at <http://www.jobtrak.com>. In addition to the resumÉ handed to them at the fair, the companies will probably ask for a resumÉ and possibly a cover letter or other supplemental information to be submitted electronically.

4. The interviewing process

Once landing an interview off Jobtrak or by other means, it is important to prepare for the big event. Think about personal career goals and be prepared to answer questions about working in a team, your greatest failure, and greatest weakness.

The Career Services Center offers mock interviews to help students become comfortable with a technical, consulting, or business interview. Visit <http://web.mit.edu/career/www/mock.html> to learn more about the mock interview process.

During the interview, be sure to dress appropriately, make eye contact, and greet the recruiter with a firm handshake. Answer the questions posed concisely and with a degree of modesty. Come prepared with questions about the company itself. Do research in advance on the corporate website so that job descriptions and company projects are familiar.

After an interview, it is advantageous to send the recruiter a thank-you note. This helps establish a relationship with the recruiter, shows interest in the position, and indicates personal responsibility.

The first interview may be followed up with second rounds on-site or over the phone. From there it is a short wait until the company calls back with their offer, or mails a rejection -- hopefully the former.