Life at Toast Blog

How to Kickoff Your Job Search


Colleen G.

Director, Early Career Talent

Every time I chat with a student about kicking off the job search process I have flashbacks to when I did it for the first time. Whether it was searching for internships or a full time job, I had constant messages from my parents asking if I found anything yet. I would explain to them that I didn’t want to take any job; I wanted to find one that I actually liked. They would quickly respond with: “No one likes their first job out of college. The top priority is securing a job.”

Job security is incredibly important, but so is feeling fulfilled in your work! Whether you’re looking for your very first internship, a new full time job, or something in between, I have three tips to make sure your job search is a little less stressful and a lot more rewarding.

Establish your core values

Everybody has a list of things that really matter to them. This is true in every aspect of life and it’s especially important when it comes to finding a fulfilling career. Before you ever tackle looking for jobs you need to do some reflecting on what matters most to you. This could range from a variety of things. Is collaboration in your work important to you? Maybe remote flexibility is top of your list. 

My big three are:

  1. Company culture -- does the company practice what they preach when it comes to inclusivity?
  2. Growth potential -- does this company invest in their employee growth?
  3. Autonomy -- will I be given the freedom to problem solve the way I see fit? 

I know how important these are to me now but I definitely wish I focused more on them when I started my search all those years ago.

Create a list

Now that you have established your core values you can narrow down your search to companies that meet your standards. 

Pro Tip #1: Websites like Glassdoor and Comparably are great places to search for companies. When you find a company that matches your needs, add it to a list. From there you can add interesting job postings that come up at each company and keep track of when you apply to specific openings. 

Pro Tip #2: Don’t apply to every position a company posts- narrow it down to the ones that are the most interesting to you and only apply to one position at a time. Having this list and building on it as your search goes on will keep you from getting overwhelmed and lost in the shuffle of the job search.

Build up your LinkedIn

LinkedIn might not be the most interesting social media platform out there, but it is the most important one when it comes to your job search!

You just set up a list of companies that match your values and a list of jobs at those companies that piqued your interest. From here you can find those companies on LinkedIn and add them to your network. Don’t be afraid to send requests to people who are currently working in the department you’re interested in -- it’s a great way to see the growth trajectory of the role, understand the skills you’d build up on that team, and maybe even give you the opportunity to chat with someone in the role. 

Also, you can add some recruiters to your network that work for the company. 

Pro Tip #3: It is okay to message a recruiter about being interested in a specific job within their company, but understand that recruiters get dozens of messages a week, making it impossible to chat with everyone! Most recruiters don’t take informational calls but receiving a message that says you applied to a specific position and you’re excited about the opportunity shows that you have done your research and you're committed to the role. 

There you have it: my top three tips for kicking off your job search. This is a really exciting time in your life. Don’t let the stress of it all overwhelm you. Instead, put your priorities first, keep yourself organized and network, network, network. Happy job hunting!

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