Welcome to the State Career College Career Center where we are eager to help you make well informed decisions about your future career. We can help provide you with the resources necessary to explore your interests, skills, and values. We will guide you as you consider career options, connect with alumni and employers, secure an externship, search for your first job, or investigate post-graduate study options. Please visit us in the Career Center for help with any of these services.
Ten Steps to a Job or Externship
- Determine your targets
- Set your geographic range
- Know your search tools and techniques
- Start the paperwork
- Create a contact list
- Do your homework
- Get organized
- Fine tune your interviewing skills
- Initiate contact
- Follow-up…then follow-up some more
It is possible that you will not be offered a job immediately after you graduate. If that is the case, we at State Career College will help you develop a plan that will lead to employment.
- Getting Ready
- Remote Searching
- On the Ground
- While you are still in the college, make time to use the job & externship resources that will not be as easy to get to access once you have graduated.
- Meet with Career Adviser to narrow in on what you will be searching for later. Develop a concrete plan for the next two stages, and determine a geographic target zone.
- Fine-tune your résumé, get one solid cover letter under your belt, tap the alumni network, hold a practice interview, line up references, and talk with anyone on campus who can help inform your plan. This is your backyard, so take advantage of it while you are in it.
- Use the first few weeks after graduation to execute stage two of your plan: search for job opportunities and get in touch with prospective contacts.
- In this stage, you can either apply for jobs directly and/or develop contacts in your geographic target zone.
On the Ground (if necessary)
- Using the research you’ve conducted in the last two stages, start knocking on doors, making calls, sending messages, and doing whatever you need to do to get to the next step: face-to-face meetings with networking and job prospect contacts.
- Treat folks to coffee or tea, breakfast, or a quick lunch. Do informational interviewing. Ask for information about possible contacts, and/or, if you can be introduced to prospective employers.
- Set goals for the numbers of doors, calls, and messages you want to log each day.
- Take it home with your fine-tuned interview skills.
Resumes are a critical component of the application process. Whatever stage of writing you’re in, whether it’s brainstorming or final polishing, the Career Center can help. Contact Career Services to set up an appointment if you’d like in-depth assistance, or just drop by if you have a few brief questions.Most employers spend 20 seconds or less on their first glance at your resume. Therefore, your resume must be clear, concise, and easy to read. Your resume must impress employers the first time they skim through it.
Your resume should:
- Be targeted to the type of position for which you are applying
- Be completely free of spelling errors, typos, and mistakes
- Have parallel structure and consistent formatting
- Have a professional appearance
- Be easy to read
You need a unique, targeted cover letter to complement every resume you send. An effective cover letter communicates to an employer what specific skills and experience you would bring to their specific position. A cover letter should always demonstrate to an employer why you’re interested in their organization. You can refer to some of the items on your resume when writing your cover letter, but the letter should not be a restatement of the entire resume.
Cover letters should be different for every position to which you apply. A good cover letter will use the strong communication skills you developed through your liberal arts education to make your case to employers that you have the skills that they are seeking. Cover letters take a good deal of thought and time to achieve the right level of professionalism and confidence that will appeal to employers.
Create a strong cover letter
If you follow the guidelines and view the samples in this Cover Letter Guide (via JobSearch.com), you should be able to create a good cover letter. But don’t be afraid to ask for help in the Career Center! You can also to give it to a Career Services adviser or a trusted friend for review. It’s always better to have another pair of eyes look over your writing before you send it out.
Here are some tips and ideas for navigating your interview with ease and confidence.
A good interview starts with preparation.
- Do your research and learn everything you can about the organization. Read their website to see how they talk about themselves. Google them to see if there’s news about them. Talk to current or past employers to get the inside perspective.
- Anticipate questions they may ask. Look carefully at the position description for clues about the types of questions they’re likely to ask.
- Review your resume. Be prepared to speak in detail about anything on your resume.
- Prepare several questions that you can ask the interviewer.
- Practice! Set up a practice interview with a career counselor. Have it recorded so that you can view it and critique yourself.
We can’t stress enough the value of a practice interview. Interviewing, like any other skill, is something you improve with practice.
Common Interview Questions (via Monster.com)
Have some answers to these questions ready before the interview.
Dressing For Interviews (via Monster.com)
Dress for the part: appropriate dress for interviews and what to bring
There may be alums at the organization where you want to interview. They can help tell you what kind of questions the interviewers may ask, and give you other ideas as about the organization.
Thank You Notes
Writing a thank you note after an interview is quick and easy. It’s also a critical part of the process, and something you should never skip.
After an interview, it is customary to send a thank you note to the person (s) who interviewed you. Below are some tips for writing the note:
- Your thank you note is a business letter. It is appropriate to send the note in hand written, typed/printed, or email formats.
- Don’t use a first name – If the person you have interviewed with has said, “Please, call me ____” then you may begin your “thank you” note “Dear _____”. Otherwise, it should begin, “Dear Mr./Ms.,” with a colon.
- Begin with a “Thank you”
- Make it short – Your Thank you note should be quick and to the point. It should include:
- A return address and date
- An inside address
- A salutation
- An initial “Thank you” for the interview
- A personal remark relating back to the interview
- Any additional point you wish to reinforce
- An indication that you remain very interested in the position
- Another thank you
- A “Sincerely” or “Yours truly”
- Your signature
Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Career Counselor Appointments are available upon request.
2770 Grand Avenue Waukegan, IL 60085
PHONE: 847-693-3838 ext. 106